BEMIDJI -- This weekend, two area events aim to encourage local residents, particularly Native Americans, to register to vote and stay politically informed.
Saturday - ‘Rock’n in the Park’ event
On Sept. 12, organizations Rock The Vote Native Style and MN350 Action are teaming up to host "Rock’n in the Park", a free, open to the public event, with speakers, refreshments, a candidate meet and greet, prizes and educational voter resources.
The event was originally scheduled to be held at Library Park, however, due to potential rain, it will be held at the Rail River Folk School from 2 to 4 p.m.
The event will begin with an opening prayer and community round dance with social distancing in mind, according to the event’s Facebook page. Then attendees will be able to meet and greet with area candidates.
On the docket are Rita Albrecht, Minnesota Senate District 5 candidate; John Persell, Minnesota House of Representatives District 5A candidate; Audrey Thayer, Bemidji City Council Ward 1 candidate; Tim Sumner, Beltrami County Commissioner Ward 4 candidate; and Jeremiah Liend, Minnesota House District 2A candidate.
Will Robinson of the 7th Generation organization will also speak at the event.
The event will conclude with a presentation by an inspirational speaker, social time, door prizes, and a traveling song and prayer. Josh Desjarlait from Red Lake Nation will be the hand drum host for the event.
Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and friends, masks are required.
Sunday - ‘Native Votes Count’ event
Red Lake Nation will host a "Native Votes Count" event on Sept. 13 to encourage voter registration and U.S. Census completion.
The event will take place in the Red Lake Nation College and Government Center parking lots, with activities throughout the day.
The event will kick off with a motorcycle ride to bring awareness to voter registration and the Census 2020 completion for Red Lake Nation members. Registration for the ride begins at 9 a.m., with the ride beginning at 10 a.m. The cost is $20 per bike.
The motorcycle ride is open to all and a meal will be provided afterward. Sixty pounds of buffalo meat were donated by the InterTribal Buffalo Council for the event.
Live music and entertainment will take place in front of the college from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring the Little Bear Singers, Thomas X, the Caldwell Boyz, and Corey Medina and Bros. The event will be hosted by Jonny A.
Throughout the event, attendees can participate in drive-up voter registration and complete the 2020 Census. Cash drawings can be entered upon completion.
Red Lake Nation COVID-19 protocols will be in place throughout the event.