If you won’t vote, then don’t complain

The Cowboy Indian Alliance is an organization working to protect sacred water for all of us who depend upon the Ogallala Aquifer. Water is Life!

The Cowboy Indian Alliance is an organization working to protect sacred water for all of us who depend upon the Ogallala Aquifer. Water is Life!

The deadline to register to vote in the November 4, 2014 election is approaching. South Dakota residents who want to vote must register by Monday, October 20, 2014. There are many places where you can register to vote. I encourage you to do so.

Many Lakota people living in South Dakota absolutely refuse to vote in tribal, state or federal elections. It’s your choice whether to make an effort to register before the deadline to be able to cast a vote or not. Personally, I want to make a difference in how government operates. I believe the only real way I can do this is to participate in elections by voting. Thus, I have voted in nearly every election since I was eligible to do so.

There are Lakota people who refuse to vote. They blatantly refuse to even vote in tribal elections. They believe it is some sort of protest to refuse to vote. I can understand why they feel the way they do because I share many of those same feelings. Still, I know the politicians will carry on whether I vote or not. So I make a choice to participate in elections.

Voting in the mid-term elections won’t make you any less Lakota. In fact, voting in your own tribal elections will not change who you are either. How would the outcome of tribal, state and federal elections change if all eligible Lakota people in this state registered and cast a vote in every single election?

When this happens it will be akin to awakening a sleeping giant. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary describes the phrase “sleeping giant” as “one that has great but unrealized or newly emerging power.”

Remember the election when the Lakota people of South Dakota were the deciding factor in Tim Johnson’s race for Senate? It was the voters from Pine Ridge who re-elected Senator Johnson in 2002. He defeated John Thune by 500+ votes. This is one example of how our vote can make a difference.

Many Lakota people refuse to vote because they choose not to recognize their status as a citizen of their tribe/state/country. Yet, they vehemently complain about how the government refuses to do anything to help them. When you refuse to recognize your status as a citizen, I don’t think you have any right to complain about what the government does or doesn’t do for you.

Consequently, many Lakota people do not want the Keystone XL pipeline to be built. If you are serious about wanting to stop this monstrous project from happening, I encourage you to make a real effort to stop it by making the time to register to vote. Then you must cast your ballot for those candidates who have made public statements against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Speaking out and protesting against the Keystone XL pipeline project is great. Now we all must take action and vote for candidates who share our philosophy about protecting our sacred water.

Register to vote today.

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