The Current

The AFN's quest to mobilize the First Nations vote

Members of the Assembly of First Nations want to drum up First Nation votes in time for this year's federal election. After generations of disenfranchisement indigenous voters are starting to heft their electoral weight. Chief Perry Bellegarde tells us how the First Nations vote could make a difference.
People from Winnipeg Indigenous Rock the Vote, a non-partisan group, encourage aboriginal people to cast their ballots. (Ryan Cheale/CBC)

I was quite pleasantly surprised to see a lot of people who showed up and said, 'I'm a first time voter.' What they were really wanting was to see some change.- Melody Wood,  an organizer for Indigenous Vote Sask

Melody Wood, an organizer behind Indigenous Vote Sask, is working hard to get out the First Nations vote in the upcoming federal election . She's hoping to motivate a lot of first time voters.

Turnout amongst First Nations people has been historically low — but has the potential to make a big impact.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde says aboriginal voters could be hugely influential in the next federal vote. (CBC News)

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde recently pointed out that the 2011 election's results could have been dramatically different, with more First Nations involvement. And that's what he's trying to make happen this time around.

Perry Bellegarde is the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. We reached him in Saskatoon.

Attempts have been made in the past to increase voter turnout amongst First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. For some perspective on the challenges involved, we were joined by Jean Teillet. She is an aboriginal rights lawyer, and treaty negotiator in Vancouver. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio and Vanessa Greco.