Martha Martinez sings the National Anthem in Oodham while the SRHS JROTC perfoms the color guard.

Community Members Vote in General Election

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

Enrolled Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members and residents of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community went to the polls on November 6 at the Salt River Community Building. Hundreds of people filed through to cast their ballots from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., when the polls closed.

That day, out on the recreational field south of the building, festivities took place in celebration of everyone voting.

The Young River People’s Council set up a special place for youth to cast their votes for president of the United States, just like the adults did. There was also music and a balloon artist on site.

The Salt River High School JROTC performed the color guard as well as a short performance, and Community member Martha Martinez sang the national anthem in O’odham.

Haryaksha Gregor Knauer made a guest appearance. Knauer, a member of the Green Party, was running for Legislative District 26 in Maricopa County, which is composed of the City of Mesa, City of Tempe and Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

SRPMIC Tribal Council Member Deanna Scabby also welcomed everyone to the event and commended everyone who voted that day. Martinez, along with Angela Willeford from the Office of Government and Legislative Affairs, presented some history and facts about Native Americans and voting.

A local Native band, Primrose, entertained everyone as they ate barbecue sandwiches provided by Picnic Specialties. Bird Singers and Dancers by the River and the Salt River Traditional Dancers also performed as part of the entertainment.

Raffles for youth and adults also took place throughout the evening. As election results started coming in, flat-screen televisions displayed updates on the many races across Arizona and the United States.

“The event was a huge success,” said Willeford. “The main objective was to get people to the polls and have them cast their ballot.”

The event also was a way to thank everyone and let them know that their voice is heard and that the Community encourages people to vote. One vote means something, but a lot of votes together can speak louder and stronger.

“We want to thank Public Works for assisting us. They worked diligently, and without them our event would not have been the same,” said Willeford. “We also want to thank Recreation for allowing us to utilize their field, and the Young River People’s Council was extremely instrumental in the GOTV (Get Out the Vote) event. They planned the agenda, and without them and the volunteers, the event would have not been as [much of] a success.”

Later on that evening, as the festivities came to a close, it was announced that President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney and was elected to a second term as the president of the United States.

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