Aboriginal Participation in Elections

The subject of Aboriginal voting participation had been on the mind of those at ONWA for some time, and although no local data had previously existed, they were well aware that Aboriginal people don’t tend to participate in government elections.

Capacity Development Coordinator Judi Nelson Childs was teaching a College certificate program and she brought up the topic of the upcoming election. All of the students said they had never voted, nor did they intend to vote in the future. Her students gave a variety of reasons for their lack of participation including mistrust of the government, not being aware they could vote and that not voting sent a message of disapproval for the government.

The ONWA, along with the CAP group believe that native people need to have the understanding that they have choices that can empower them and their voices can be heard. The study was made up of an extensive research phase which collected data through focus groups, one-on-one discussions, Facebook forums used to solicit information from First Nations members on whether or not they vote and how they could be motivated to do so. Data was analyzed and information has been compiled into a report of strategies to get participation numbers up. Those involved with the project have high hopes that their research and strategies will have a positive impact and create change, including the future voting turnout of Aboriginals, as well as the governments acceptance and consideration when addressing issues that face our country, as well as our community.