By Blackcrow Mejia
I was so excited to attend this event in Dearborn, the State Central Committee (SCC) meeting on December 7th. It was my first time coming to this meeting. I was thinking about how far the Native American people have come, how it was the time for our voices to be heard. For so long, our voices were not heard until the new Anishinaabek caucus was born and we were finally where we belong. I feel that Native American people were forgotten on many levels, especially politically.
The Anishinaabek Caucus really appreciates all of the people that have supported us on many levels, including inviting us to the SCC meeting. We have been working hard for the Michigan Democratic Party (MDP), building the Anishinaabek Caucus for the Native American people to have a voice.
Yesterday I was grateful for the moment, as I stepped in those rooms, that were full of people thinking about how we all gather together to work for and achieve the same goals to make a better future; for each caucus; for the party; for the upcoming generations; for a better country. We were all talking, smiling and getting to know each other. I was thinking this is such a great place to talk about problems and needs to be worked on together. All of this support in one room. I was amazed and felt so empowered.
After few minutes, we gather to sit at the tables and the session starts and the delegates started to make motions, as the business of the day started, I felt the energy and the people change to become more negative. The support of the group as a whole was lost and it became us and them.
I felt like we changed to a wrestling match, waiting to see who won when the bell was rang. I was yelled at by some women at the next table and truthfully, I did not feel safe, my mind was questioning everything that was happening. I read the rule and saw how the vote was taken. It looked like the MDP rules were not being followed, as some people were questioning the vote counting. It was incredibly chaotic. There was so much I did not understand about the process, what I do understand is that this rule was targeting and racist towards to the people of color!
I was sitting at the table as a brown person new to this arena, and I was observing the body language and the sound of their voices. There was so much entitlement in the room as the line of people speaking dwindled and the people sitting were yelling at the speakers. I did not see very much respect from the people in the red shirts.
I now have concerns about what is going to happen to our caucus within the Democratic party, if we are unable to record it how I’m going to talk to other people about how my work is done, how I’m going to get those votes, if there is a dividing of people. I was expecting something better from the MDP, honestly.
Member, Anishinaabek Caucus
Member, Michigan Democratic Party
Tribal Citizen, Eastern Band Cherokee