Unreserved heads to the polls

The federal election is around the corner. This week on Unreserved, we're rolling up our sleeves and getting political. What's at stake for Indigenous issues when voters head to the polls? And why do some Indigenous people choose not to vote?
The federal election is October 21, 2019. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

The federal election is around the corner. This week on Unreserved, we're rolling up our sleeves and getting political. 

The last federal election saw the highest Indigenous voter turnout. On the Liberal campaign trail we heard a lot about "the most important relationship" — Canada's relationship with Indigenous people. But that was four years ago. How far have we come since the last election and where are we headed? 

Alberta had the biggest increase of Indigenous voters showing up to the polls in the last election. But this time, experts say, that might not happen. CBC Edmonton reporter Stephanie Dubois explains how things have changed. 

Youth are marching in Inuvik, NWT, to raise awareness about climate change. They're not just marching during the Global Climate Strike, they have been marching every Friday since March, while school is in session. Many of these youth aren't eligible to vote, but they want federal leaders to listen. Nathan Kuptana is from Tuktoyaktuk, NWT, and it will be his first time voting in a federal election. The 19-year-old sees climate change accelerating in his arctic coastal community. He hopes federal leaders take action.  

For some Canadians, deciding who to vote for is a big enough challenge. But for some Indigenous people, choosing whether to vote at all is a completely different struggle. Do you choose to vote and legitimize a system that you couldn't even actively participate in 60 years ago without giving up Indian status? Or do you choose not to vote and risk even less representation for issues that matter to you? It's a debate that Nipawi Kakinoosit has had with himself and others for a while.

More than half of the Indigenous population in Canada live in urban centres. Outside of Nunavut, Ottawa has the largest Inuit population. CBC Ottawa reporter Julie Ireton talks with Inuit voters and explores key election issues in the capital. 

Join author and Toronto Star columnist Tanya Talaga, Hill Times columnist Rose LeMay, and York University professor and Yellowhead Institute research fellow Dr. Brock Pitawanakwat for a discussion on Indigenous issues and the election. 

The week's playlist
Snotty Nose Rez Kids (Vanessa Heins/CBC)

Snotty Nose Rez Kids with Tanya Tagaq - Rebirth
Riit with Zaki Ibrahim - Uvangattau