Arizona Election Map

With the 2020 United States Presidential Election, a new mode of mapping briefly overtook the pandemic epidemiological figurations which have become the lens through which national maps are viewed. As illustrated in the figure on the left, Arizona state counties are colored shades of red and blue to correspond with the number of votes cast for the Republican candidate (red) or the Democratic candidate (blue). Darker colors indicate a stronger majority. This map is displayed alongside a map of tribal lands in Arizona. Tribal lands represent majority Indigenous populations (though it is important to note that tribal lands are often lands onto which Indigenous populations were strategically displaced for access to natural resources and not necessarily their ancestral lands) and correspond strongly to the dark blue areas on the voting map. This incursion is significant in the historically Republican Arizona and contributed to the state “flipping” blue in 2020. Following is a new line of public discourse about the importance of the Indigenous vote to winning the election. While electoralism does provide visibility to Indigenous communities suffering the ongoing and compounding harms of settler-colonialism, it also instrumentalizes the community as a participatory tool of the state at odds with the historic violence of the state against them. This instrumentalization is particularly clear as, simultaneously with the election, COVID-19 is ravaging these same Indigenous communities. Again, COVID-19 does not expose new weaknesses in the American system but exploits the gaps which have left Indigenous communities without water, accessible healthcare, and proper protective resources. Voting is not a favor to the oppressing classes, but one means of trying to establish the necessary resources for life and wellness. Particularly, in the ongoing pandemic, this means assistance and care for Indigenous communities. Such harms cannot be addressed by subsuming Indigenous populations into state apparatuses without changing the material conditions of their communities; rather, this will hopefully serve as the start of the long overdue recognition of and respect for American Indigenous sovereign power.  

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