By Mervin Brass

voting panel with Scribe

Chris Scribe has never voted in a federal election but still would like to see a change in government. Photo credit: Treaty 4 News.

On Wednesday evening, about 100 people turned out to listen to a panel of First Nation people discuss their reasons to vote or not to vote in the upcoming federal election.

The Saskatoon event was put on by Indigenous Vote Saskatchewan, an organization that promotes the mobilization of First Nation, Metis and Inuit voters.

The panellists made arguments that voting would change the current government while others argued that casting a vote would continue the assimilation process.

The discussion centred around whether voting affected the sovereignty of First Nations people.

Tyrone Tootoosis, a member from the Poundmaker First Nation, told the audience in the past he was part of the silent majority that did not vote in federal elections.

He says his silence has not changed anything, “I feel strongly to not to vote is a vote for Harper. The guy is a serial abuser of power.”

“I’ve never casted a ballot in a federal election, a provincial election,” says Chris Scribe, who was raised on the Poundmaker First Nation. “Because I don’t believe I’m a Canadian.”

Even though Scribe doesn’t believe in voting he told the crowd he would like to see Harper gone.

Idle No More co-founder Nina Wilson is also voting to remove the current government.

“I will vote,” she says. “But that vote will not trump that nation to nation relationship.”

voting Colby Tootoosis

Colby Tootoosis’s position on not voting drew the most interest from the audience during the panel discussion but still many left convinced they need to vote out the current government. Photo credit: Treaty 4 News.

Many of the people in the audience came to hear what Colby Tootoosis had to say about not voting.

The Poundmaker First Nation member believes the assimilation agenda will not change regardless of who forms the next federal government.

“I guarantee you won’t see my name in an archival voter’s list,” he added during his closing remarks.

After listening to both sides, 20-year old River Thomas from the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation was still processing the information.

“Actually, I was thinking, I’m still deciding, I’m not quite sure but most likely, I probably will actually vote, it’s the best for our people, as they were saying how there is a lesser evil as well, I completely agree with that.”

 

 

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