Alaska Federation of Natives President attends White House voter rights discussion

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 4:53 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Tuesday, July 27, Vice-President Kamala Harris met with community leaders from Indigenous groups around the country to discuss voting rights.

Among those present was the President of the Alaska Federation of Natives, Julie Kitka and Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.

The goal of this meeting was to increase voter participation and encourage Native communities across the state and nation to get out and vote.

Kitka said, “It was an introductory dialogue, and we thought it was really positive. We were just honored to be invited, and it was awesome listening to our Vice President and Secretary Haaland. It was great.”

Native Americans, including Alaska Natives, received the right to vote in the U.S. in 1924, four years after the passage of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote.

According to Kitka, Native Americans are among the most patriotic groups in the country. “We have the highest participation, volunteer in all the different recent wars that we’ve had in military service and participation. The right to vote as well as serving our country seem to go hand in hand. Our people are very patriotic. They want to serve our country, do their responsibility, but we also want to participate at the voting booth and elect our representation. We feel very strongly that that’s a responsibility as well.”

At the meeting, participants also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on voter participation.

Kitka is unsure when further talks will happen. While in D.C., she also held meetings about infrastructure needs in Alaska.

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