In 2020, I was invited to publish in the National League of Cities publication CitiesSpeak about political participation among indigenous peoples of the United States. As I wrote, "My hope is that the work we do here today will inspire the next generation of tribal members to run for municipal office, roll up their sleeves, and build stronger, more inclusive, and welcoming communities."

Here are the essay's introductory paragraphs:

With Washington state’s all-mail elections, my wife and I vote with our son at the dinner table, discussing the merits of the candidates and issues on our ballot. When my son was in first grade, he was elected to represent his class in the student government. Now, as a fourth-grader, he’s been singing along to a YouTube video to learn the state capitols. This understanding of the importance of political engagement is vastly different than my great-grandmother’s relationship with politics and political affairs.

My Granny, Lesa Roberts, was born in 1889 or 1890 in Cushtusa, a small Choctaw community in rural Mississippi. When she was born, women did not have the right to vote, and only a handful of tribal members across the United States could vote. After being forcibly removed from Mississippi with about 1,000 other Mississippi Choctaw in 1903, she was granted territorial and U.S. citizenship under the provisions of the Curtis Act of 1898.

To read more, please read the entire article.

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