The B.C. First Nations Rock the Vote lobby is trying to increase Indigenous voter turnout through information sharing and engagement on social media.
This Saturday is voting day for the province’s general election.
B.C. First Nations Rock the Vote is a Facebook group created in 2015 before the federal election that saw Justin Trudeau defeat the Conservatives led by Stephen Harper.
Mikelle Sasakamoose, a Cree, Okanagan and Shuswap woman, joined the group to help others make informed decisions.
The group is run by four volunteers but they consider it a community-led page.
“Everyone shares information, everyone participates in conversations and debates sometimes about what we think or what’s happen, that’s great because that’s all we really wanted to do was create a space for First Nations people, in particular, to be able to have those conversations and share that information with each other,” said Sasakamoose in an interview with APTN News.
The group now has nearly 2,500 members engaging and sharing information.
According to Sasakamoose, the group does not have a party bias but will encourage members to share Indigenous candidates’ information.
“All of us get really excited about seeing other Indigenous people seeking office, we want to support each other again regardless of what party, we are just really proud of each other and happy to see our own faces being reflected back in the process,” said Sasakamoose.
One of the founders of B.C. First Nations Rock the Vote is a candidate in the election.
According to Elections BC, the count time may take longer due to the increased number of mail-in votes due to the pandemic.
“I hope that everyone gets out and votes and they recognize that as Indigenous people in this country we have a voice and our ancestors really fought hard for us to be able to use that voice in these processes because it wasn’t that long ago we weren’t allowed to do that. So I just really hope that people are able to participate as a result,” said Sasakamoose.
Elections BC is working with BC Public Health and WorksafeBC to ensure that people can vote safely during this election.