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Old 05-06-2004, 12:28 PM   #1
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Rock the Native Vote Concert Set for June 5!

Rock the Native Vote Concert
to Motivate Young Voters
February 25, 2004

This summer in Oklahoma City, a groundbreaking effort will be made to register thousands of Native American young adults to vote.

On Saturday, June 5, a first of its kind concert will take place at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds in the Made in Oklahoma Building. From 1 pm. to 10 pm. there will be informational booths and a concert featuring award-winning Native American performers of contemporary music.

The Rock the Native Vote (RNV) concert is a non-partisan event to educate and encourage Indian Country to vote. The primary sponsor of this event is the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church. The OIMC is made up of 89 Native American United Methodist Churches across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. Among the many aims of its ministry is to promote the goal of social justice.

“The belief is that through becoming politically active, positive social change will occur,” said RNV Concert Chairman Rev. David Wilson. Wilson is also the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church. The UMC provided a grant that is being used as seed money for the concert.

Brian Frejo, a popular Native American Hip Hop DJ and music producer, was instrumental in securing a stellar line-up of artists. Comments Frejo, “Some of the most popular acts in Indian Country will be here, from rap and hip hop to rock and blues.”

Performances are set to begin at 2 pm. Nearly all of these artists were either nominated for or recipients of Native American Music Awards (NAMMYs). Headlining is Pop/Dance sensation Jana, a member of the Lumbee Nation. Other nationally known musicians are Tribal Live (Hip Hop), Casper Lomayesva (Reggae) and Darryl Tonemah (Contemporary Rock). Also featured are noted locally based artists Chebon Tiger Band (Blues), Terry Tsotigh (blues, traditional flute), and Brian Frejo’s Culture Shock Camp (Rap, Hip Hop, Breakdancing)

The concert is scheduled to take place in the summer for traditional reasons. RNV Committee member Rev. Chebon Kernell states, “It is a cultural tradition to have social functions in the summertime. It has always been our time to get together. This event provides a wholesome environment for the whole family to enjoy”.

Rock the Native Vote organizers believe that it is vital to engage and empower Native Americans to participate in the elections of next fall. This non-partisan effort is geared towards educating Native Americans about the importance of voting.

“It is time for the indigenous people of America en masse to exercise their rights as citizens. It is a responsibility we owe to both our ancestors and to our children,” says RNV committee member and former Oklahoma State Senator Enoch Kelly Haney.

Ticket price is $10 and will be available through OK Tickets beginning April 5. The concert has a website that is updated frequently. Visit them at http// For more information, please call 405-632-2006.

Cinda Hughes
Public Relations
(405) 632-2006

Rock the Native Vote 2004
Background Info

Concert Committee Members:
Rev. David Wilson – Chairman
Rev. Chebon Kernell – Vice Chair (OIMC)
Cinda Hughes (Ms. Wheelchair America 2004)
Enoch Kelly Haney (former Oklahoma State Senator)
Barbara Warner (Executive Director, Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission)
John Shotton (American Indian Institute, Univ. of Oklahoma)
Jhane Myers (Director/Founder, Jhane Myers & Associates)
Ann Saukeah (OIMC)
Brian Frejo (Native American DJ, music producer)

Background and History:
Each year the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference of the United Methodist Church hosts a retreat for Indian young adults. A few years ago, Cinda Hughes was asked to speak to the young adults. There she stressed the need for Indians to become socially and politically active. Among the ideas she brought up to encourage voter registration was a concert featuring Indian artists performing modern forms of music. The young adults responded enthusiastically.

At a subsequent meeting with this group, the feasibility of a Rock the Native Vote concert was discussed. It was agreed that an event of this nature could be a most effective tool to educate and encourage Indian people to vote.

The OIMC young adult group attended a national conference and submitted a proposal to the UMC to fund a concert. Funding was granted and a committee was formed.

Planning and Organizing:
Rev. Wilson asked a number of individuals to meet together on a monthly basis. The Concert Committee is composed solely of enrolled Native Americans. This group has met for the past several months to strategize and finalize plans for a concert to be scheduled before the summer primaries. The timing is important in order to have a significant number of Indians registered and prepared to vote in the upcoming Congressional and Presidential election cycle. The OIMC is a registered 501(c)3 organization.

Lineup of Musical Artists:
Several nationally acclaimed Indian musicians have agreed to perform. Each national artist has either been nominated or received a Native American Music Award.

National: Local:
Jana (pop/dance) Chebon Tiger Band (blues)
Tribal Live (hip hop) Culture Shock Camp (rap/hip hop)
Casper Lomayesva (reggae) Terry Tsotigh (blues/ traditional flute)
Tonemah (contemporary rock)

In addition to servicing the local Indian community at large, this event would bring in a significant number of out-of-state Indian people. There would be an event for both the adults and youth to enjoy, as is traditional for Indian social gatherings. There will be significant national media exposure.

Voter Registration:
Voter Registration applications will be available at a booth in the information area. The RNV Concert Committee will retain possession of the voter registration application forms during the concert. After the concert, the committee will ensure that the applications remain secured. The applications for Oklahoma will be personally delivered to the State Election Board by the concert committee. Those applications for other states will be sent by certified mail to each respective state's election board.
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