Above: Robbie Romero lent his musical talent to the Rock The Rez Vote. Photo by Steve Premo
by Karen DonaHOEWAH
Mille Lacs Reservation, Minnesota (NFIC)
An inspirational event aimed at getting Native Americans to the polls this November 2nd featured the group Dubious Grand, the 2004 winner of the Teen Battle of the Bands at the St. Paul Grand Old Day, one of the largest one-day festivals in the midwest with an average attendance of 250,000 people. An awesome young band that jams! With the sounds of Hendrix and other greats behind them, this group really got the audience hyped.
Next, a short video created by Rick Anderson, featuring area youth, with Amik making a special appearance. Check it out and answer the question of why vote? For language, education, economic development, the environment, housing, healthcare and the future of Native America, our youth! Listen to these strong statements from our young adults and our leaders of tomorrow sending a clear message to all voters.
Tribal Chair from the great Red Lake Nation, Buck Jourdain, a supporter of the Get Out The Vote campaign, said, “Mr. Bush speaks Spanish now, pretty soon they’ll be speaking Ojibwe for our votes!”
Tribal Chairman from Leech Lake, George Goggleye Jr., supports the Get Out The Vote campaign, stating that he is in the middle of five living generations. He has the opportunity to look in both directions, where we came from and where we need to go. He can see how voting has impacted our people and how it needs to change for the future generations. “Our people are going to make a difference.” He added this, “Don’t go to the polls alone, take someone with you to vote, and lets get out the vote.”
Kalyn Free, Choctaw from Oklahoma, first Native American woman elected for state office, felt the impact of the Native vote. She was elected into the District Attorneys office in her home state of Oklahoma and she spent 10 years in the Department of Justice and can see how one vote can make a difference.
Kalyn has seen the power of the Native voice, since she was elected into office by the power of the Native vote. “You have the power to decide the fate of Minnesota and the 560 plus Indian tribes across America.” Kalyn couldn’t express enough how this race is so, so important. Stating that this year’s political color is brown, Free said, “I believe that our lives and our future depends on our vote.”
Robbie Romero sure can rock a house, eh? Have you ever seen him perform, wow he is just fantastic, really gets into his music, it’s just really cool. You can see how he goes into his own place there, with those Native drums, bass guitar and some flute here and there. With his eagle feather hanging from his guitar, he led us into a ballad for the women.
“The impact that this current administration, and the next, has serious effects on Indigenous communities all over the world. The Indigenous communities, these people are the first to suffer the desecration of land and life,” said Romero, then took off into the song Sacred Ground to send the message home.
Romero joined with Dubious Grand to perform a hot blues number wishing for a new Ojibwe beaded hat. It was a great performance, and as I looked around the room, I could see that everyone truly got into that song. What a performance, such talent. Then Romero asked, “What’s up with that voter registration rule anyway?” G-o-o-d question, eh?
He ended this rockin’ evening with the hit, Heartbeat, a strong ending to a powerful and motivating event! So Hey, GET OUT THE VOTE NATIVE AMERICA!!