Indigenous Albertans urged to get out and vote

Indigenous people who haven’t voted in past federal elections are being told that they could make a big difference if they cast a ballot on Oct. 19.
Brittany McMaster staffed the Rock the Indigenous Vote booth at the forum in Enoch Wednesday. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC News )

Indigenous people who haven't voted in past federal elections are being told that they could make a big difference if they cast a ballot on Oct. 19. 

First Nations leaders gathered at a forum at the River Cree Resort in Enoch Wednesday to urge indigenous people to get excited about voting. 

Treaty 6 Grand Chief Tony Alexis said issues like the need for an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women are key in this campaign.He said the only way to get the government to pay attention is by getting to the ballot box. 

"That is something that is being organized by First Nation people on the ground and they're asking to be heard," he said.

"Right now the government is saying we've heard already. We''ve done the best we can."

Representatives from Rock the Indigenous Vote also attended Wednesday's forum. The group is also encouraging people to vote. 

Brittany McMaster from Montana First Nation said many aboriginal people avoided voting in the past, but that has to change.

"It's important to go and be active because no matter who you are, if you live in the country of Canada you are going to be affected by the decisions that the federal government is making."

McMaster said her group isn't telling people which party to vote for. They just want people to cast a ballot.