Uniting Communities, Driving Change, and Amplifying Native voice’s

In a stirring display of unity and determination, Western Native Voice recently convened its highly anticipated No Vote Left Behind 2024 Membership Conference on March 22 and 23, 2024, drawing together a diverse array of over 50 passionate members from Native communities across the region. Against the backdrop of pressing political challenges and the imperative for Native representation, the conference emerged as a beacon of hope and empowerment, rallying attendees to harness their collective voice and mobilize for change.

Keynote Inspiration:
The conference commenced with a powerful keynote address by Denise Juneau, a trailblazing advocate for Native rights and former Superintendent of Public Instruction in Montana. Juneau’s impassioned call to action resonated deeply with attendees, urging them to embrace their cultural heritage and reclaim their rightful place in the political arena.

Insightful Panels:
Throughout the conference, participants engaged in a series of thought-provoking panel discussions, each designed to shed light on key issues facing Native voters. The panel titled “Native Enough” brought together esteemed guest speakers Deborah His Horse is Thunder, EdD, and Ron His Horse is Thunder, JD, to explore the multifaceted dimensions of Native identity and the challenges of cultural assimilation.

In “The 2024 Election: A Pollster’s Perspective,” Celinda Lake, a renowned political strategist from Lake Research Partners, provided invaluable insights into the dynamics shaping the upcoming election cycle, empowering attendees with data-driven strategies for effective civic engagement. Meanwhile, ACLU representative Alyssa Kelly led a compelling discussion on “Fighting for Voting Rights in Montana,” highlighting the ongoing battle to protect and expand access to the ballot box for marginalized communities.

Dr. Montana Wilson’s illuminating session on “Native American’s Unique Relationship with the Federal Government” delved into the complex historical and contemporary dynamics of Native governance, offering attendees a deeper understanding of the systemic barriers to Native self-determination and sovereignty.

Evening of Celebration and Recognition:

Attendees join together for an evening of celebration, camaraderie, and recognition. Members were treated to a comedy show by Donovan “Beef” Archambeault, providing a much-needed moment of levity amidst the day’s weighty discussions.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the heartfelt awards ceremony, where exemplary community leaders were honored for their outstanding contributions. Rhonda Mason received well-deserved accolades as Volunteer of the Year, while Cinda Ironmaker was celebrated as Member of the Year for her tireless dedication to the cause. Dolores Plumage was bestowed with the Western Native Voice “Voices of Change” Award, recognizing her exemplary commitment to advocacy and social justice.

Empowering Action for the Future:

Armed with newfound knowledge, inspiration, and a renewed sense of purpose, attendees departed the conference equipped with the tools and resources necessary to effect meaningful change in their communities. From grassroots organizing and voter registration drives to targeted Get Out the Vote initiatives, each participant embraced their role as catalysts for positive transformation in the upcoming 2024 election and beyond.

Western Native Voice’s No Vote Left Behind 2024 Membership Conference was not merely a gathering—it was a catalyst for change, a testament to the resilience and strength of Native communities, and a resounding declaration that every voice matters, and no vote will be left behind. As attendees return to their communities with a renewed sense of purpose, the impact of this transformative conference will continue to reverberate, shaping the future of Native political engagement for generations to come.