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Tribal voter education efforts underway
27 October 2008

BISMARCK (UTN) - Increasing the participation of American Indian voters in the November General Election is again the goal of the North Dakota Tribal Voter Education Project, coordinated by United Tribes Technical College.

      The focus of the non-partisan voter education activities is to inform tribal college students about the procedures and importance of American Indian voter participation in the upcoming national and state elections.

VOTER EDUCATION: Large sized voting reminder placards, with the theme “You Count,” were distributed at a public event in Bismarck as part of the North Dakota Tribal Voter Education Project. The event was a talk by acclaimed poet, novelist, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie Jr. (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene).

      United Tribes hosted a planning session during the United Tribes Tribal Leader’s Summit meetings in early September to spur interest and help coordinate tribal voter education among the tribal colleges and universities in the region. Attending the meeting and providing assistance and expertise was Jean Katus of the Rural Ethnic Institute, Rapid City, S.D.

      United Tribes previously coordinated similar tribal voter education efforts prior to the 2004 and 2006 elections. Those projects were funded with Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Office.

      Various campus-based voter education activities were conducted at United Tribes in the fall. The college hosted a one-day visit of the BioTour Bus to help raise awareness about environmental sustainability issues. UTTC students also distributed non-partisan, voting reminder placards with the project theme, “You Count,” during a public talk in Bismarck by acclaimed poet, novelist, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie Jr. (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene).

      The North Dakota initiative also involves information and education efforts at three other tribal colleges. Key contact people are: Doug Lohness, Cankdeska Cikana (Little Hoop) Community College, Fort Totten; Alyce Spotted Bear, Fort Berthold Community College, New Town; and Ronya Hoblitt, Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates.

      Other organizations assisting with tribal voter education activities include the Center for Community Change, the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Indian Gaming Association.

      Click here to view the NATIVE VOTE Poster!

      For more information about the NDTVEP contact Sheri Toman 701-255-3285 1313, stoman@uttc.edu, or Phil Baird x1201, pbaird@uttc.edu.



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