The Native American Vote in New Mexico & Beyond



RECLAIMING Their VOICE follows Native Americans who are stepping forward and speaking out against injustice. While the film documents several communities located in New Mexico, these stories capture a microcosm of growing awareness and activism which is taking root across the United States.  Interviewees in the film include voices from many diverse backgrounds: an Indian Law/Voting Rights Attorney, a Precinct Captain from the Taos Pueblo, the Chair of the All Indian Pueblo Council from Ohkay Owingeh, a seven term Tribal Governor from the Pueblo of Laguna, a County Commissioner from the Navajo Nation, a community social justice organizer from Acoma, the founder of Native American Voters Alliance, plus many individual citizens who are learning the importance of taking a stand and becoming politically active in County, State and Federal elections.

The film follows several narratives: the history of the Pueblo Revolt, the evolution of voting rights for Native people, the Laguna tribe's groundbreaking voter registration drive in 2004, the Sacred Alliance for Grassroots Equality's (SAGE's) work to preserve sacred petroglyphs, and the passage of new legislation to support and protect Native American voting rights.

Each segment of the film follows
the challenges faced by Native communities,
the actions taken to protect their rights, as well as
the progress and outcomes of their efforts.

THE PUEBLO REVOLT: Narrator Peter Coyote, along with Dr. Michael Wilcox (a scholar from Stanford University), describes the arrival of the Spanish in New Mexico. This section follows the hardships indigenous people faced for decades under Spanish occupation. Finally, unwilling to continue to be enslaved by their oppressors, the Pueblo people plan collaboratively to organize and rebel.

THE LAGUNA 500 VOTER PROJECT: The Pueblo of Laguna had a goal to register at least 500 new voters and they exceeded that goal. Unfortunately, they meet a series of obstacles during and after the election. However, their initial frustration gives birth to their realization that it is their responsibility to be informed and involved, rather than feel victimized by a system which they feel is unfair.  This story is not only exciting because we see the hard work and determination of this community lead to significant positive changes in New Mexico state election law, but it also serves as a model for how other minority populations throughout the US can work together to make sure that they can cast their votes and that their votes will be counted.

THE SACRED ALLIANCE FOR GRASSROOTS EQUALITY: Despite years of organizing and protests, this group’s efforts to prevent a four-lane highway from bisecting the Petroglyph National Monuments fails.   However, in the film, we see these same activists then gather their community together to form the Native American Voters Alliance which educates and motivates Native citizens to vote.

Each story underscores ways Native Americans are working together to improve their lives through education and activism. The result: an inspiring journey as we see these individuals learn how to participate actively and reclaim their voices in the political process.