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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 3, 2003 - Issue 86


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Kids Voting May Expand to Tribal Elections

by Terry Woster Argus Leader

PIERRE - An effort by members of Kids Voting in South Dakota to bring Native American tribal elections into the program could be the first of its kind in the nation, the state director of the program says.

Patty Pearson of Pierre said a task force of Kids Voting members is writing a school curriculum that will offer a history of tribal governments and tribal elections and an explanation of the similarities and differences between those elections and others.

"We're pretty excited about the chance to add this level of involvement,'' Pearson said. "As far as we've been able to tell, no other state in the country has included the tribal elections in their Kids Voting curriculum. We'd like to have ours in place by the start of the next school year. I don't know if we can, but it will be there by the 2004 elections for sure.''

Republican Sen. Mike LaPointe of Mission is a task force member who says that expanding the program should help encourage more Native Americans to vote, not only in their tribal elections but also in state, national and local contests.

"I think it's time we brought this to Indian Country,'' LaPointe said. "We just want to make sure kids here in tribal schools and here in Indian Country are taught about the election process. It's important they be encouraged to participate, and that means understanding the system.''

Kids Voting is a nonpartisan and nonprofit program created to encourage more Americans to vote by educating schoolchildren about their government, the election process and their rights and privileges as voters. Students who take part cast ballots of their own in simulated voting on election day. Until now, that opportunity hasn't included any tribal election ballots.

Kids Voting

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