The Pueblo of Isleta in New Mexico celebrated Miguel Trujillo Day on Wednesday to honor the Pueblo civil rights leader.
The Marine veteran and school teacher fought for Native voting rights in the 1940s after he attempted to register to vote and was refused.
The New Mexico Constitution held that “Indians not taxed” could not vote. Trujillo filed a federal lawsuit, which he won on August 3, 1948.
The court ruled New Mexico discriminated against Indians by restricting voting on the basis they paid state and federal taxes, but not private property tax on reservations. Trujillo set a precedent for the future of Native voting rights, which the Isleta Pueblo Voters Alliance continues to reflect on today.
“It’s just a beautiful story and it’s just refreshing now at this current day that we’ve had those leaders in place and we continue to have those types of Native leaders to amplify the voices of our people.”
Janice Lucero is a voting rights advocate and community organizer.
“Native folks and Indigenous communities are starting to step up to the table. We are starting to fight for what we know and that is our land, that is our water, that is our body and the more we get out to vote, we can be those change makers.”
Lucero says the alliance works on voter registration, voter education and advocates to get out the Native vote.
“There has to be a shift. There has to be a shift in how we vote, how we speak up, getting out there being educated. Do the research folks, find out who you align with, the values that’s so important do they align with your values? It’s important that we know those people are advocating for us. We don’t want outside people coming in and trying to take over and have their own agenda. Indigenous people have been here for years and we have our own agenda and that’s with the land and that’s with each other.”
The Isleta Pueblo Voters Alliance was founded by community members in 2020. The alliance co-hosted Wednesday’s event with the Pueblo of Isleta, Pueblo of Isleta Veterans Association, and the New Mexico Humanities Council.
Watch Thomas Begay’s Miguel Trujillo Tribute
A new pilot project led by Indigenous support workers in Toronto is targeting mental health. As Dan Karpenchuk reports, the aim is to replace calling 911 for those in need.
The new Indigenous team is made up of support workers and community resources specialists and is now available in the downtown area through a pilot project. The 211 hotline can be called for virtual and in person support at any time. And was chosen in collaboration with Indigenous language and knowledge keepers. The director of the team is Saige McMahon.
“We can offer crisis de-escalation, harm reduction support, traditional support, and medicines, basic life needs like food, water, tents, sleeping bags and then referral and after care services.”
McMahon says the team has received specialized training on suicide intervention, CPR, first aid, and drug overdoses. They also have nurses on staff who can provide more medical support. But she adds that the priority is long term follow up support.
“Our team is Indigenous led. It’s community led, We have an advisory committee who we go to who represent the community. We have folks on the call and on the team who represent the community who have lived experience with mental health related issues, who are Indigenous and who really can represent the folks that we’re responding to on these calls.”
McMahon says anyone who needs mental health support can use the 211 service. The pilot project is a collaboration between Findhelp, which manages 211 lines in Ontario, and Two Spirited people of the First Nations, an Indigenous youth agency and a municipal community health center.
Government sources say approximately eleven people died by suicide in Canada each day.
Get National Native News delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up for our newsletter today.