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Showing posts from October, 2018

Digital Smoke Signals

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A version of this article appeared in  Rural America In These Times  in October 2018.  For more on topics like this, see my book,  American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion . S ilicon Valley met Indian country in Minneapolis. In a two-day early-October session, longtime software developer Deepak Puri taught tribal representatives—from Leech Lake, Red Lake, Menominee, Rosebud, Sisseton-Wahpeton, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Navajo, and more—to use cheap, fast, off-the-shelf technology to supercharge voter access to the polls in Indian country.  As Puri explained the steps, attendees dug into their cellphones and laptops and quickly created a succession of bots, videos, coded maps, and other high-tech items. The  results looked to be effective weapons against the continual and extreme suppression of the Native vote, covered by  In These Times   and by Rural America In These Times, including  here ,  here ,  here , and  here . “It’s the

20,000 Native Voters for North Dakota?

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A version of this article appeared in Rural America In These Times in October 2018.  For more on topics like this, see my book,  American Apartheid: The Native American Struggle for Self-Determination and Inclusion . Buffalo at play on Standing Rock. A major voting hurdle for Native American voters in many states used to be thought of as a kind of force of nature, like gravity or sunshine: Indian reservations generally didn’t have named, numbered streets. And without these designations on the tribal IDs that Natives carry, they could easily be banned from voting.​ There appeared to be no way around the problem when North Dakota recently declared that was the case there—no ballot box access for Native voters unless were willing to undertake prohibitively long and costly drives and other hurdles to get an alternate ID. “It is a voter-suppression technique North Dakota targets at its Native population,” accused OJ Semans, the Rosebud Sioux co-director of Four Directions voting