WASHINGTON, DC – As the nation honors the life and works of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) know there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure that no American is prevented from exercising the right to vote. Too many states and local governments are willing to place barriers between citizens and the ballot box. Too many people stand by while their fellow Americans are denied basic rights.
Native peoples were among the very last to achieve universal suffrage and continue to experience unequal treatment under the law and overtly discriminatory policies that prevent full access to the ballot box. It is only through working together that all underrepresented people will have the same rights others take for granted.
NCAI, NARF, and AFN are encouraged by the bipartisan legislation introduced to replace the voting rights protections stripped from the Voting Rights Act by the Supreme Court. Every step towards ending every kind of restriction to voting is a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen the bill and ensure robust protections for American Indian and Alaska Native voters.
Without the leadership of Dr. King alongside many native leaders and those from other communities during the Civil Rights Movement, the United States would not be the nation of opportunity and freedom that it is today. NCAI, NARF, and AFN are dedicated to continuing the fight for the voting rights of all American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.