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Voting for the first time

Four First Nations newbie voters talk about why the cast a ballot on October 19

The federal election on October 19 saw an impressive voter turnout: almost 70 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, which is the highest turnout in decades.

For many, especially for many Indigenous people in Canada, the election felt more important than ones in the past and so voting became vital.

CBC spoke with four First Nations voters who went to the polls for the first time this month.

"I believed that voting was an affront to my own understanding of sovereignty," said Derek Nepinak, the grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

"My focus was and is on building on our own inherent and treaty rights to be self-governing."

But he said for this election he felt an urgency to change that practice, and so he voted.

Savvy Simon said she’s never been interested in voting for someone who isn’t clear about what they stand for.

"In the past, there have been a lot of broken promises," she said.

And although the candidate she voted for in Halifax didn’t win, she’s still hopeful about the changes so many new MPs in the House of Commons can make.

“I am going to stick to hope and the fact that we have a few aboriginal members in Parliament," she said. "I feel that we will be heard and positive change will happen in our communities."

Read what all four voters had to say here.

Header image via Elections Canada

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