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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Rolling The Dice

by Saul Bloodworth

Last night, I drove back to New Mexico, to Acoma. Acoma is an Indian reservation 60 miles west of Albuquerque. The Acoma tribe has some 6000 members, 4000 of which live on the reservation, the rest someplace else, mainly in New Mexico and Arizona. I asked some tribe members about the election, and I got some mixed reactions.

So first, a woman who works for the local cultural center told me that half of her staff isn't even going to vote. They believe, for them, it does not matter who becomes President. Later, I had lunch with two tribal members, two men in their fifties.

One of them told me he was leaning towards John McCain, even though he was a Democrat. "I met McCain one, he is a honest guy", he said. But more importantly, McCain has supported gambling on reservations, and that's how the tribe is making a living (a friend told me later that McCain, meanwhile, has shifted his support to Las Vegas gambling).

The other guy, however, was voting for Obama, not because of McCain, but because of Sarah Palin. He had read someplace that she had threatened to take away the sovereignty of the Native American tribes in Alaska. That would be something she could not do as a Governor anyway, but as a Vice President, maybe. He was not even sure if that was true, but he was taking no chances.

Does it matter? New Mexico has about 200.000 Native Americans, ten percent of the population. So it might, if they'd vote.

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