When one Native American man got the news on Election Day that Joe Biden would be the next president, he decided to celebrate with a Native American dance in the middle of the road in New Mexico. The 21-second-long video has gone viral amid Native American Heritage Month.
Ashkia Randy Trujillo, who lives in Ohkay Owingeh, said he was driving with his niece when he heard people start cheering and honking on Election Day. He then saw the New Mexico flag in his rearview mirror, a Native American symbol, and felt compelled to get out of his car.
“To me, seeing that flag waving represented the coming of a new day, a new sun, a new light," Trujillo, 26, told ABC News.
The video was taken by a photojournalism student who wanted to capture the community’s reaction to the election and she came across Trujillo dancing on the street. The video has been viewed more than five million times on Twitter.
This year’s election had a record-high voter turnout among the Indigenous communities in key swing states like Arizona and Wisconsin. Trujillo said it had been hard for his Indigenous community under the Trump administration, and part of that has to do with how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the Navajo Nation.
Traveling to the polls is another issue faced by the indigenous community, with some people in the Navajo Nation having to travel 100 miles to their nearest polling center. Many local groups this year helped make it easier for the community, by doing things like providing horseback rides to the polls.
"Throughout history, we've always been fighting to have a voice and most of the time, it's fallen on deaf ears," Trujillo told the station. ”We're making the changes that we want to see.”
VoteAmerica, a nonprofit organization that has registered over 20 million voters nationwide, was founded by a team focused on registering communities with lower voting numbers like African Americans, Indigenous people and young voters. They said this year is proof of that hard work.
"There has been decades of work done by community members on the ground to build the political infrastructure for Native turnout and now we're starting to see it in 2020," VoteAmerica Chief of Staff Jordan James Harvill told the station. ”We are going to see this power continue to build.”