Saskatoon

The undecided: some indigenous voters in Saskatoon are still searching

If any one party believes it has the indigenous community sewn up, they may want to think again, at least according to a panel of undecided voters on CBC Radio’s Saskatoon Morning.

Finding right political party no easy task

Lee Martell and Rob Innes says they are still searching for a political party that best represents their interests. (CBC)

First Nations leaders have been urging people to vote in the federal election, promising that the aboriginal community can change the outcome.

I think people want to vote.- Rob Innes

If any one party believes it has the indigenous community sewn up, they may want to think again, at least according to a panel of undecided voters on CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"I'm so confused about who I should vote for," said Lee Martell, a Cree woman from Waterhen Lake.

Martell and Rob Innes, a Cree and Saulteaux man from Cowessess First Nation, spoke with Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski today.

Martell is not just undecided. She is also a first-time voter.

She said that she has become swept up in the pro-vote activism that has swept through Saskatoon's west side neighbourhoods in the lead up to Monday's vote.

She may not have made up her mind, but she said she is very motivated. "I'm not happy with the current leadership."

Finding relevant information not easy 

Innes has voted in past federal elections, but this time around he too is undecided. One of the problems, he said, is that the parties don't make it easy.

"Aboriginal issues have not been forefront in the election, which is surprising considering the Truth and Reconciliation Commission just submitted its recommendations. Missing and murdered indigenous women have been up front," he said.

That's left both Martell and Innes searching the party platforms, and using tools like CBC's Vote Compass, to try and figure out which party best represents indigenous voters. Martell said she is also looking at history for some clues.  

"I look at the Liberal parties past and I can't forget some things. You know I have to mention the white paper."

The white paper refers to a Liberal policy introduced in the late 1960s that proposed the end of the special legal relationship between aboriginal people and the state, dismantling the Indian Act.

Beyond working to try and understand which party to vote for, Innes and Martell also grapple with the idea of supporting a system that some believe oppresses aboriginal people.

But this time, Innes said, he's heeding the call of First Nations leaders, and he said he believes a lot of other indigenous voters will too.

"I think people want to vote in this election more than ever."

now