Campaigning for the American Indian vote in Oklahoma

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

DURANT, Okla. -- The race for president is in full force, as candidates try to cater to as many different groups as they can. The American Indian vote is one for both Republicans and Democrats, and they're listening.

American Indian political activists say this year's election will be won in what's called the 'New West,' which consists of states like New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. One common trend among those states is many American Indians ready to cast their vote.

Kalyn Free, a Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduate and president of INDN's List, spoke at the Bryan County Federation of Democratic Women's meeting on Tuesday. The INDN's List trains, endorses, and funds American Indian political candidates across the country.

Free says the 2008 election could come down to the Indian vote. American Indians are already very active in their tribal elections, and a candidate who makes Indian issues a priority could have a big following come November.

"Which of these candidates is truly going to reach out to Indian county and who's going to be the best of Indian country? In addition, who is going to be the strongest nominee for Indian country, for the America in the Democratic Party to put against John McCain?" Free says.

Free is also one of two at-large democratic super delegates in Oklahoma. She says she is currently uncommitted to either candidate, so she is watching the race very closely now to decide who she will support.


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