© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Street Parade In San Antonio Hopes To Raise Native American Participation In Upcoming Election

About half a dozen vehicles took part in a Native Get Out the Vote Parade Tuesday to raise awareness about early voting, the census and the November election.

Led by the sound of a conch and the playing of a giant drum, attendees in the back of pickup trucks handed out boxes of produce and additional information about voting rights and early voting.

The American Indians in Texas, known as the AIT, organized for the caravan of cars to drive through 78210 neighborhoods on the East and Southeast sides of town because of the high number of registered Native American voters in the area.

But Karla Aguilar, the development director with the group, said they want to see more people get to the polls.

“I think what we hear from a lot of people is that they don't participate in the electoral process because they think that it doesn't work,” Aguilar said.

The only way to change that, she said, is for people to take charge of participatory democracy.

“We may have these national elections that are drawing a lot of attention but we have to do the work locally to organize and educate ourselves so that we can actually shift the politics locally, to actually reflect the priorities of the vast majority,” she said. “Not the small percentage of the population that has held the control in San Antonio for so many generations.”

Aguilar said that among the most important issues in the upcoming election is climate change. She said the Native American community has been raising the red flag about the effects of climate change for over 40 years.

“Time is something that is precarious. It flies by us,” she said. “Before we knew it we started seeing, this year, the actual impact of climate change in a very distinct way.”

The parade is part of a larger effort by the AIT and the National Urban Indian Families Coalition to raise civic participation among indigenous people in the weeks leading up to the November election.