The Current

First Nations voters share their election issues not in campaign

As the nation gets ready for election day on October 19th and First Nations leaders urge aboriginal people to vote, we check in with some First Nations voters to hear which issues matter most to them in this election.
Still from music video produced to encourage Indigenous Peoples to vote, by Young Medicine featuring Trent Agecoutay. (Youtube)
"The clean drinking water crisis is caused entirely by a lack of political will in Ottawa. We're seeing a debate nationally about whether or not somebody should wear a piece of clothing and yet we have our First Nations communities dying because of the poor water conditions in their communities."- Isadore Day, Assembly of First Nations Ontario Regional Chief, speaking this week.

Chief Isadore Da is far from alone in saying that First Nations issues such as clean drinking water, have been largely ignored in this federal election campaign, overshadowed by things such as the niqab debate.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde has been vocal in his calls for aboriginal Canadians to take part in the democratic process. 

"We want to make sure that our electorate is informed. Which party platform is going to deal with missing and murdered indigenous women? Which party platform is stronger on education and training? Which party platform is stronger on dealing with land and resource issues... the economy and getting first nations people involved? Because if you put those issues front and centre... it's really good for Canada."- Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations National Chief 

We convened First Nations people who are engaged. And are voting.

  • Kevin Carter is a chemical engineering technician at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. 
  • Marilyn Buffalo is a First Nations and human rights advocate in Edmonton.
  • Norm Odjick is the Director General of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council. We reached him at the office in his community of Kitigan Zibi, Quebec. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Marc Apollonio and Ines Colabrese. 

Election soundtrack

Need a playlist for this weekend? Check out this one curated by CBC Aboriginal called "Indigenous playlist that packs a political punch." Here's our pick from the playlist, a track from the Ottawa group "A Tribe Called Red," featuring the Buffy Ste-Marie.