May 25, 2008

Rock the Native Vote

Every vote counts

'Rock the Native Vote' seeks to expand Oklahoma Indian voter participationIn Oklahoma, one organization hopes to increase Native participation in the local, state and national voting process. Called "Rock the Native Vote," the organization is a non-partisan effort that began as a Native youth initiative in 2003 within the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church.

In addition to getting people registered to vote, the organization has a second purpose: change attitudes about the voting process and "help persons realize that our voting does make a difference, whether it's in our communities, our states or nationwide," said Rev. David Wilson, Choctaw, who serves as the OIMC conference superintendent and RNV chair.

In June 2004, RNV held its first large event, a live music rally in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians, on the same weekend as the annual Red Earth Festival in Oklahoma City. This year, RNV kicked off its voter registration campaign with a rally and dance held at the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education conference in Weatherford, on the campus of Southwest Oklahoma State University.

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