By: Weshoyot Alvitre
There is no suffrage in sovereignty. The very system run by white males who invaded our lands, who poisoned out waters, killed our men, raped our women, who stole and murdered and broke the spirits of our children, their voting system does not apply to our way of life.
In order to believe justice exists, one must have a history of clear thought and compassion. Their justice lies in mixed interpretations of a violent religious history. Crucifixion is their culture.
The basis of their rights in this country’s founding are of taking that which belongs to no one: Life, Liberty, land, the pursuit of happiness is all covered in the blood stains of our ancestors who’s life was undermined in the creation of this great nation.
To celebrate suffrage: the rights of women to vote, you must first believe women are beneath man, that woman are property and that they are not capable of that which they are.
We don’t believe as such. The woman is strength, she gives life to future generations. She is the greatest hope in the world. She is sacred.
After all, Native Americans were seen as less than women, when women were denied human rights for the beginning of this country’s history.
According to your laws, we Native people were not people. We were merely in the way for you claiming all these lands as your properties. But you cannot own the land.
When you failed to kill us all, and as children were born out of wedlock and rape, you tried to take our children away: Remove the Native from them. But the only way to do that would be to bleed every drop from every man, woman, child who had survived your egregious laws.
And so your laws invented blood quantum and attempted to control us; our rights, our abilities to participate as humans in this society that continued to invent laws whose sole intention was to destroy us.
Then came voting rights, when women and people of color realized how unbalanced the system had become. And still, with suffrage being successful, the Native vote was not; Native existence was beneath the laws of protections and we carried on.
We only became “citizens” after 1924. We continue to carry on, despite only being to vote since 1957 in all 50 states. We could enlist in the military, fight and die, help develop unbreakable code, and could not, by law, vote.
We were fined, imprisoned for practicing our traditional beliefs. The “law” only changed after 1935.
We only received our civil rights after 1968.
We only were “given” our religious freedom by the laws in this country in 1978.
We are by law a sovereign nation, made up of more than the amount of federally recognized tribes, who do not operate within the laws established, who do not believe wealth is based on monetary gain and who value women as sacred objects, givers of life.
We value life, not like a commodity, as in the laws expressed over the last 200 years. The ability to vote within a system set up with beliefs that counter our own is not something to be celebrated. It just works to deepen the fractures the colonial mindset has forcibly hammered into place. Liberty is flawed.
Our sovereignty is our born right. There is no suffrage in sovereignty. Sovereignty is beyond gender. It is unifying. We must come together to be stronger. And know what we were born with cannot be taken away or withheld by any government.
We are the stars. We are sovereign. We are sacred.