I was First Nations, coming off of a decent six-year term as Grand Chief and the biggest assets we had were some name recognition coupled with a grassroots understanding of Indigenous issues.
There are many moving parts to running a campaign so being organized and staying on top of things is absolutely critical. There are numerous electoral rules and regulations you must follow. If these are not followed, it is actually quite easy to be disqualified. It was a frenzied period of time!
All the while, it was absolutely crystal clear to me that if we were to have a chance to win, we had to mobilize the Indigenous vote. Our riding was approximately 65% Indigenous, but the Non-Indigenous vote outpolled the Indigenous vote significantly.
From our analysis, we found that Indigenous turnout was extremely low historically, and that even if only 40 to 50% of the total eligible Indigenous voters turned out, we could win the election. We did that – and we won.
In many ridings, Indigenous voters can make a difference just by coming out to vote.