By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
Gallup, New Mexico (AP)

Mark Charles would like Native Americans to start thinking outside the box about themselves and their political voice – or lack of voice – in the United States.

Charles, of Fort Defiance, Ariz., spoke to a small group of community members at the University of New Mexico-Gallup on last week about his idea for the country’s Native American people to join together to create a “51st Virtual State” for native people.