Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
NEW ORLEANS Alvin Warren, principal and executive vice president of Blue Stone Strategy Group, recently served on a panel at WK Kellogg Foundation's grantee conference for America Healing in New Orleans. Warren shared the success of American Indians in overcoming historic voter suppression efforts in New Mexico.
Alvin Warren-Santa Clara Pueblo
Warren noted that American Indians can have significant voting clout in New Mexico, which is an important swing state in presidential elections. The American Indian population has increased from 134,000 in 1990 to almost 220,000, approximately 11 percent of the state's population. With this percentage of the total population, American Indians can have tremendous impact and influence.
“In New Mexico, we actually have had very similar experiences to the South when it comes to discriminative, active and intentional, systemic and institutional, with regard to native voting,”
“ since 1975, several New Mexico counties that have been under federal monitoring for voting rights violations I'm proud to tell you, though, that after all of that, we are in this incredible period of resurgence of native people regaining our voice and our vote.”
“We have 65,000 registered Native American voters in the state, which I think is going to go up, probably to 70,000 to 75,000. We have 11 counties that have a significant native presence, 91 precincts.”
Warren maintained that by organizing early, American Indians benefited from redistricting and organizations are using technology to increase civic participation among the tribes. He said there are 17 American Indians running for office, their coalitions defeated three voter ID proposals and the state has three state Senate districts and six House districts with a majority of American Indian voters and seven additional districts that have a significant percentage. There are only two American Indian senators and three representatives, but he said those numbers will increase as civic engagement increases.
“I would say the majority of tribes now are actively involved in doing some kind of voter registration,”
“They're in their communities doing voter education. My community, I'm proud to say, we've been actively doing this for the last, oh, five or six cycles.”
Warren is an enrolled member of Santa Clara Pueblo and lives in Santa Clara. He has dedicated his career to serving the people of his Pueblo as well as other Tribes in New Mexico and across the United States. From 2008 through 2010 Alvin served as Cabinet Secretary of Indian Affairs, having been appointed by former Governor Bill Richardson and confirmed unanimously by the New Mexico State Senate.
posted May 3, 2012 8:50 am edt