Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase Brings Music and Voter Engagement to Santa Fe

Brandy Calabaza · September 2, 2022

Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase Brings Music and Voter Engagement to Santa Fe

Bringing Indigenous relatives together through art and music for a fun and interactive event aimed at the power of voting, encouraging attendees to utilize their ability to vote in the upcoming election as a means of building and reclaiming Indigenous power.

On Friday August 19,  NDN Collective hosted the Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase at the the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The event was a collaborative effort between NDN Collective, MIAC, Natives Guitars Tour, and the Native American Voters Alliance Education Project (NAEVA) in a partnership meant to lift up Indigenous artists and educate and empower Indigenous communities to vote. 

Sarah Sunshine Manning, Director of Communications, hosts NDN Live Pre Show taking the audience through the events of the Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase.

“We’re engaging Indigenous people in the Southwest in the voting process ahead of the midterms, reminding them that casting a ballot is one piece of the fight to take back our power and autonomy,” said Lycia Maddocks, Political Director at NDN Collective. “Indigenous people have been shut out of the political sphere for far too long – it’s time to show up for ourselves and our communities, by centering our issues, our solutions, and electing our people to office.”

Gunnar Jules (Sincangu Lakota), R&B/Hip-Hop Artist. Photo By Willi White for NDN Collective.

It was a cool Santa Fe evening as visitors walked the museum’s art gallery, enjoyed food served by the Ramblin Cafe food truck, and enjoyed music and performances by Indigenous artists Ailani, Kinsale Drake, Gunner Jules, Charly Lowry and Tufawon. NAEVA also had an information table set up for participants to learn more about registration, voting, and how to get involved locally. Their table doubled as a place to enter to win a live mural and art piece that was being completed throughout the event by artist and musician Jacque Fragua and Carrie Reese Curley.

Tufawon (Dakota/Boricua), Hip Hop Artist. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective.

“We struggle as Native people in talking about voting in this so-called democracy, recognizing it was designed mostly to oppress our people,” said Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of NDN Collective. “If we’re fighting for liberation we have to be prepared to utilize every tool available to us.”  From direct action, rebuilding our food systems, to reclaiming our power in multiple different ways, voting is one tactic.

Nick Tilsen, President & CEO of NDN Collective delivers speech on utilizing the Native Vote as a tool in the fight for liberation. Photo By Willi White for NDN Collective.

“Just because we get out to vote doesn’t necessarily mean we believe in every aspect of this democracy,” Tilsen continued. “But if I have the ability to decide who is sitting across the table from me, then I’m going to use that tool. So I encourage folks to view it that way. I am going to use every tool available to me as we fight for the liberation of our people and our land. We have to keep them accountable, whether they’re Indian candidates or not, it is our responsibility to keep them accountable to our movement, to our communities, and to our people.”

Overall, the Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase was successful in bringing Indigenous relatives together through art and music for a fun and interactive event aimed at the power of voting, encouraging attendees to utilize their ability to vote in the upcoming election as a means of building and reclaiming Indigenous power.

Watch the Entire Sko Vote Den Showcase

More photos from the Sko Vote Den Artist Showcase

Click on photos to expand

Brandy Calabaza
by   Brandy Calabaza

Brandy Calabaza (She/Her), Communications Associate, is Jicarilla Apache and Kewa Pueblo from Northern New Mexico. Brandy supports the Communications and Narrative Team with all aspects of content creation, targeted outreach, copywriting, and overall management of internal communications systems. Throughout and following college, she continued to build on her professional development holding various positions in her Tribal community, including working with the Nations courts in the prosecutorial setting, teaching language classes to children, and working with and empowering Native Youth. Brandy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Native American and Indigenous Studies from Fort Lewis College and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Indigenous Peoples Law from the University of Oklahoma. 


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