Pro-Biden effort offered Native Americans $25-$500 Visa gift cards and jewelry to vote

Key Native American leaders working with the Biden campaign offered tribal members and associates Visa gift cards, jewelry, and other “swag” to vote in the presidential election, according to several videos being used by the Trump campaign’s effort to challenge Nevada’s vote.

In one long video, officials from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony are shown offering a raffle for gift cards in values of $25, $100, $250, and $500 to those who can prove they voted.

Other gifts for voting include bracelets, necklaces, earrings, T-shirts, and masks.

“If you come here to vote or if you voted already, RSIC is having a raffle,” said RSIC spokeswoman Bethany Sam in one of the videos.

She also said, there are “a lot of great things to push you guys to get out here to vote, challenge you go get you out here to vote.”

In the same video, she is shown wearing a Biden-Harris anti-virus mask and in front of the Biden-Harris campaign bus.

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 11.25.51 AM.png
Screen shot from one of the videos shows a spokeswoman for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony offering gift cards to Native American voters.

The Trump campaign is expected to present the videos today in a Carson City court as it presses its case to challenge enough votes to overturn the state’s election of Joe Biden.

In a briefing paper on their case, the campaign referred to a “Native American Votes for Dollars Scandal.”

It said, “A shocking number of states have discovered that groups claiming to support the Native American community’s voice at the polls have engaged in blatantly illegal bribery and vote incentivizing with cash cards, gas cards, electronics and other items. This scandal appears to have been rampant in Nevada. Posts on the Nevada Native Vote Project Facebook page show that similar raffles were conducted in 15 Nevada native communities, with 116 voters receiving $6,650 in cash prizes.”

The RSIC did not respond to an email seeking comment.

But a lawyer for Native Americans dismissed the charges to Nevada’s NPR. “I think that this lawsuit is a little bit reckless,” Jacqueline De León, staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, told NPR. “It’s sort of just casting a wide net of disparagement on the Nevada Native Vote Project. And it turns out a lot of their claims are unsubstantiated.”

She added that the raffles were open to all, but the videos limited entry to Native Americans and their associates or staffers.

The Native American vote was credited for pushing Biden over the victory line in some states such as Nevada and Arizona.

Liberal CNN commentator Van Jones said on-air, “The Native American community played a tremendous role.” He added, “They are responsible for the victory.”

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Pro-Biden effort offered Native Americans $25-$500 Visa gift cards, jewelry to vote

Key Native American leaders working with the Biden campaign offered tribal members and associates Visa gift cards, jewelry and other “swag” to vote in the presidential election, according to several videos being used by the Trump campaign’s effort to challenge Nevada’s vote.



a person standing in front of a store: Lummi Tribal member Patsy Wilson, right, is assisted by Lummi Native Vote Team 2020 volunteer Kelli Jefferson in voting Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, on the Lummi Reservation, near Bellingham, Wash.


© Elaine Thompson/AP
Lummi Tribal member Patsy Wilson, right, is assisted by Lummi Native Vote Team 2020 volunteer Kelli Jefferson in voting Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, on the Lummi Reservation, near Bellingham, Wash.

In one long video, officials from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony are shown offering a raffle for gift cards in values of $25, $100, $250 and $500 to those who can prove they voted.

Other gifts for voting include bracelets, necklaces, earrings, T-shirts and masks.

“If you come here to vote or if you voted already, RSIC is having a raffle,” said RSIC spokeswoman Bethany Sam in one of the videos.

She also said, there are “a lot of great things to push you guys to get out here to vote, challenge you go get you out here to vote.”

In the same video, she is shown wearing a Biden-Harris anti-virus mask and in front of the Biden-Harris campaign bus.



a person wearing a costume: Screen shot from one of the videos shows a spokeswoman for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony offering gift cards to Native American voters.


© Provided by Washington Examiner
Screen shot from one of the videos shows a spokeswoman for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony offering gift cards to Native American voters.

The Trump campaign is expected to present the videos today in a Carson City court as it presses its case to challenge enough votes to overturn the state’s election of Joe Biden.

In a briefing paper on their case, the campaign referred to a “Native American Votes for Dollars Scandal.”

It said, “A shocking number of states have discovered that groups claiming to support the Native American community’s voice at the polls have engaged in blatantly illegal bribery and vote incentivizing with cash cards, gas cards, electronics and other items. This scandal appears to have been rampant in Nevada. Posts on the Nevada Native Vote Project Facebook page show that similar raffles were conducted in 15 Nevada native communities, with 116 voters receiving $6,650 in cash prizes.”

The RSIC did not respond to an email seeking comment.

But a lawyer for Native Americans dismissed the charges to Nevada NPR. “I think that this lawsuit is a little bit reckless,” Jacqueline De León, staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, told NPR. “It’s sort of just casting a wide net of disparagement on the Nevada Native Vote Project. And it turns out a lot of their claims are unsubstantiated.”

She added that the raffles were open to all, but the videos limited entry to Native Americans and their associates or staffers.

The Native American vote was credited for pushing Biden over the victory line in some states such as Nevada and Arizona.

Liberal CNN commentator Van Jones said on air, “The Native American community played a tremendous role.” He added, “they are responsible for the victory.”

Tags: Washington Secrets, 2020 Election Videos, Campaign 2020, Joe Biden, Nevada, Native

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Indigenous Groups Call Out ABC and ‘Big Sky’ for ‘Disregarding Violence Against Native American Women’

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ABC and its new drama “Big Sky” are being called out by multiple tribal nations and Indigenous leaders for an “incomplete depiction of violence against women and girls.”

Following a letter last week addressed to ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke and series creator David E. Kelley, among others, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association and the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) have now added their voices to the chorus of criticisms.

The series, based on the 2013 novel “The Highway” by C.J. Box, is set in Montana and centers around abductions that occur at truck stops. The Indigenous groups are accusing the show of “at best, cultural insensitivity, and at worst, appropriation” due to being set in area with a disproportionately high rate of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG), yet not having any tribal representation in the show.

Variety has asked ABC for comment.

The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, which represents Montana’s eight federally recognized Indian Tribes, is also among the Indigenous organizations raising concerns about “Big Sky,” pointing to the fact it is shot not in Montana, but in unceded Indigenous territory in British Columbia.

“Making the abduction and trafficking of women for primetime entertainment is bad enough. Erasing the reallife tragedy of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis is unconscionable. We live with the consequences of this loss and trauma on a daily basis, but ABC won’t even acknowledge it, even after they’ve been given an opportunity to do so,” said A. Gay Kingman, executive director of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, in a statement.

In the aforementioned letter, Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council executive director William F. Snell and Chairman David Sickey of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana wrote that “tribal members constitute 7% of the population, but the state identifies some 26% of missing persons as Native American,” making the lack of Indigenous representation in “Big Sky” all the more stark.

“The systemic failures of law enforcement in Canada and the US to address the MMIWG tragedy are well known and documented,” added Melissa Moses, UBCIC women’s representative. “Violence against Indigenous women is particularly endemic in British Columbia, where one of the most infamous highways in Canada, ‘the Highway of Tears,’ is located. This highway is a painful and haunting symbol of the violence destroying Indigenous lives and bears resemblance to the one depicted in ‘The Highway,’ the novel ‘Big Sky’ is adapted from…ABC now has the invaluable opportunity to be our ally, to show respect and compassion to victims and impacted family members and loved ones, and to help inform the public in both Canada and the United States of this international and national crisis and dark truth.”

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Natalie Keyssar’s photos capture a small-town Native American beauty pageant

Each year, pageants like Miss Native American and Miss Indian World invite indigenous women from around the United States to represent historically disenfranchised tribes and celebrate their cultural heritage.



a person standing posing for the camera: Kerigahn Jacobs, Miss Teen Lumbee 2018, and Lyndsey Locklear, Miss Lumbee 2018, wearing their native regalia.


© Natalie Keyssar
Kerigahn Jacobs, Miss Teen Lumbee 2018, and Lyndsey Locklear, Miss Lumbee 2018, wearing their native regalia.

And in the rural town of Pembroke, North Carolina, which sits along the state’s southern border, a much smaller annual pageant takes place: one honoring the girls and women of a tribe that has fought for federal recognition for over 130 years.

The Lumbee Homecoming is a week-long summer event hosted by the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, and includes competitions for Miss Lumbee, Teen Miss Lumbee, Junior Miss Lumbee, Little Miss Lumbee and Senior Ms. Lumbee, as well as a veteran’s ball, pow wow and parade.

This year’s Homecoming, originally set to begin in late June, was canceled for the first time in its five-decade history due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But in 2018, Brooklyn-based photographer Natalie Keyssar, who grew up two hours away in Durham, traveled to Pembroke to document the festivities.



a person standing in front of a building: Mahlea Hunt, Miss Teen Lumbee of 2017, checks her reflection backstage.


© Natalie Keyssar
Mahlea Hunt, Miss Teen Lumbee of 2017, checks her reflection backstage.

The pageant is “a celebration of Lumbee beauty and … the empowered Lumbee woman,” Keyssar said over a video call. “It’s this joy in identity … it’s this reverence for the strong women in their community.”

Asserting their identity

Homecoming is a chance for the 55,000-strong Lumbee community to come together and take pride in its heritage. The women recognized in the Lumbee pageants become ambassadors for the year ahead, representing the tribe at various events to help educate people about its history and cultural practices.

The Lumbee tribe website says it is the largest tribe east of the Mississippi River, yet it is only recognized at the state level. In 1956, Congress passed the Lumbee Act, acknowledging the Lumbee as a Native American tribe but denying it the right to self-govern or receive federal funding.

In October, however, a committee in the US House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation that would grant the tribe its long sought-after status, allowing the bill to move forward to the House floor. In the build-up to the 2020 US election, President-elect Joe Biden said he would back federal recognition of the Lumbee, which tends to be a “swing tribe” at the ballot box.



a woman holding a little girl posing for a picture: Mahlea Hunt, Miss Teen Lumbee 2017, prepares backstage for her farewell performance at the pageant.


© Natalie Keyssar
Mahlea Hunt, Miss Teen Lumbee 2017, prepares backstage for her farewell performance at the pageant.

The Lumbee have a unique history. The tribe’s faith is primarily Baptist and its members descend from several Native American tribes, including the Cheraw, that intermarried with Whites and free African Americans in the 18th and 19th centuries. Though the Lumbee lost their ancestral language through colonization, today they speak the Lumbee English dialect.

“There’s a pretty incredible rebellious, revolutionary history of the Lumbee,” Keyssar said, pointing to events in 1958, when the tribe famously drove away a Klu Klux Klan rally in the so-called

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