Jodi Rave: Native voters are taking politics to a higher level

"I’m fortunate to live Montana where American Indian leaders have a huge presence in local and state positions. We helped elect politicians who have put us at the table, not on the menu. So, it makes sense that Montana would become home to Western Native Voice, a newly created, non-partisan organization based in Billings, Mont. Western Native Voice is fully staffed and has paid organizers on every reservation in the state as well as urban areas, including Billings, Havre, Missoula and Great Falls.

I recently visited with Western Native Voice board chairman Janine Pease, a woman who’s had a phenomenal impact on empowering American Indian voters.

Pease, an esteemed educator who has numerous awards and honors, brings hard-won, get-Indians-elected experience to Western Native Voice. As the lead plaintiff in Windy Boy v. Big Horn County, she helped influence the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a racially polarized Montana voting law that kept American Indians from being represented in at-large elections.

“We’re very interested in having a permanent platform to organize and register Native voters,” said Pease. “We’ve had extraordinary organizing in Montana.” She said Western Native Voice ‘s year-round presence goes hand in hand in working with a new generation of engaged Native voters."

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Jodi Rave: Native voters, Native people take politics to a higher level (Buffalo's Fire 8/17)

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