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Native voters in Nevada feel unheard, voice concerns about MMIP crisis, mining, housing

June marks 100 years since Indigenous people were granted citizenship — and with that, the right to vote in the United States. However, the right to vote wasn’t fully expanded in every state until the 1960s. So, what issues matter most to Native voters in Nevada today?

In this month’s episode of Purple Politics Nevada, host Lucia Starbuck spoke to Indigenous community members from several different tribes, traveled to a reservation outside of Reno, and attended a powwow to get their thoughts.

You can hear from Walker River Paiute Tribe members, including tribal activist Elveda Martinez and tribal poll worker Kelley Carter, who speak about the importance of accessing the ballot box. Whereas Josh Dini, who just returned from an 11-day Prayer Horse Ride throughout Northern Nevada communities heavily impacted by mining, isn’t convinced that voting is the most effective method.

Despite there being 28 tribes in Nevada, a swing state, many Indigenous people said they don’t feel heard by candidates and lawmakers. Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe chairman Steven Wadsworth voted for president for the first time in 2020 but now isn’t sure who’s listening, and fisherwoman Autumn Harry, who just organized the Red Dress Social Powwow, hasn’t seen any change since the last election, making her feel less likely to vote, and she isn’t the only reluctant voter. Twins Dwight and Everett George, members of the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, also see direct community actions as more effective than voting.

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Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show <i>Purple Politics Nevada</i>. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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Purple Politics Nevada is produced by KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck. Vicki Adame is the show’s editor, and Crystal Willis is the digital editor. Zoe Malen designed the show’s logo.