Rez 2 Rez Tour: Your Voice, Your Vote


The final destination for this Rez 2 Rez Washington state road trip ended on election night, Nov. 6, at the ballots. The Native Vote ‘18 Rez 2 Rez tour rallied Tribes and tribal members to “get out the Native vote,” focusing on two primary initiatives: Yes on I-940 and Yes on I-1631. The tour was empowered by tribal dignitaries and organizers who travelled between 29 tribal communities in ten days to deliver a clear message:

“The Native vote is the Native Voice,” said Rez 2 Rez visionary and Lummi Councilmember Freddie Lane. “Anything is possible when we come together and set aside our differences as Native people; it’s remarkable.”

The Rez Tour came together when he and I-1631 leader and Quinault President Fawn Sharp joined forces with the Puyallup Tribe at the Centennial Accord. Together, they were energized to motivate the Native Vote and remind people the power of their voice and vote.

Although Initiative I-1631, a co-authored tribal initiative that would protect the environment by placing a fee on big polluters, did not pass, President Sharp sent this message to the Initiative’s supporters:

“We didn’t win this campaign, but our work is FAR from nished. Big Oil, the Koch brothers, and all their corporate cronies spent over $31 million in the largest campaign of lies and deceit in Washington state history to defeat us. It’s heartbreaking to know they secured a free pass and will continue to pollute and destroy our environment without any consequence or accountability. But not for long. … We proved, through both I-1631 and I-940, tribes will lead where others have failed and unite to courageously and honorably protect and defend all that is sacred to us.”

Her sentiment was reflected by Puyallup Tribe Councilmember Tim Reynon on the success of I-940:

“I’m beyond grateful that voters resoundingly approved I-940 and all our blood, sweat, and tears have paid off. It was so sweet to celebrate this victory with our tribal relatives from all across the state and with the families in our area that have been impacted by police use of deadly force. We were reunited with so many of our Justice for Jackie family tonight who we haven’t seen in quite some time. … Thank you to all who got out and voted and helped us gain this victory for I-940. To all the families that have been at the heart of this campaign, I pray this victory will bring you a bit of solace and peace and some sense of justice.”

The Tacoma News Tribune also reported on the Tribe’s role in passing I-940, saying, “The Puyallup Tribe of Indians gave the largest sum, $600,000, to another of this year’s successful ballot measures: Initiative 940, which will beef up law enforcement training and change the deadly-force standard. Is there anyone whose investment in our state runs deeper and longer than the tribes?”

Voters turned out in a big way, and the Rez 2 Rez Road Warriors played a big role in empowering the Native vote here in Washington state. As Quinault President Sharp re ects on the opposition, “They’ve met their match and (now) know Tribal Nations are strong, fierce, and powerful.”

Thanks to all those who used their voice to vote, and a special thanks to our Road Warriors, ranging from ages 12-84, who set the tone as we prepare for Native Vote 2019:
Lummi Councilmember Freddie Lane
Quinault President Fawn Sharp
Puyallup Councilmembers Tim Reynon and James Rideout
Former Puyallup Chairwoman and respected elder Ramona Bennett
Puyallup Community Events Coordinator Chester Earl
Former Vice Chair Teresa Sheldon
Former Yakama Councilmember Asa Washine
Quinault Tribal Member Titus CapoemanField Organizer of First American Project Jacob Johns
Director of First American Project Matthew Rendazzo
Quinault Youth Daniel Malvini
Videographer Matt Sherman
Logistics Coordinator Leesa Wright
Clayton Shelton, 12 years old