Quick Access

GRESHAM, Wis.—The Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes (MAST) congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris for their successful campaign, which projected a very strong Native platform. While MAST is a non-partisan Native organization advocating on behalf of 35 sovereign tribal nations across Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, we recognize the value of the Native vote and impact on the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.

American Indians and Alaska Natives make up 1.2 percent of the state of Wisconsin’s population, or about 70,000 people, according to the U.S. Census 2019 estimate. In this election, President Donald Trump garnered about 18 percent of the votes in Menominee County (within the Menominee Nation Territory) while Biden took 82 percent. Biden also won 57 percent of the Bayfield County votes (in northern Wisconsin within the Red Cliff Ojibwe Nation’s territory).

Shannon Holsey, President of the Stockbridge Munsee Band of the Mohican Nation, said, “We worked hard to facilitate the Native vote in the Midwest understanding what was at stake and really turned out the vote. Especially at a time of epic challenges. Tribal nation citizens participated and fought for truth and reconciliation and supported leadership that understands that power must come with accountability and the ability to bring us together, and move us all in a forward direction. Representation truly matters.”

In 2016, traditionally blue states in the Midwest voted Republican as presidential candidates largely ignored the needs of Indian Country. In 2020, the Biden-Harris Campaign, however, developed a comprehensive platform that reached out to tribal communities. This appears to have made a difference in key battle ground states for which Native American mobilization and the Native Vote appears to have made the difference. Tribal leaders in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota took an active role in facilitating GOTV and encouraged Native voters to inspect presidential, senate and congressional candidates’ platforms for a demonstration of support to uphold the treaty and trust responsibility. While these efforts were not partisan, candidates who had clearly articulated tribal platforms, prevailed as tribal voter participation made the difference.

Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, added, “The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe congratulates President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris on their election victory, and are excited to work with them. This is also a day of celebration because this is a profound moment in history. The glass ceiling is forever shattered and our little girls now know their dreams can come true. I'm excited for the day when I meet Senator Harris again and get to say, ‘Madame Vice President.’”

Sault Tribe Chairperson Aaron Payment and Acting MAST President concluded, "While Native Americans represent just over 2 percent of the total US population, we represent the margin of victory in key battleground states so we can and did make the difference in this election.”

© 2021 - Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. All Rights Reserved.

Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY