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An 'unprecedented' election

On today's show Angel Ellis reporter for Mvskoke Media and Dana Hedgpeth reporter with the Washington Post joins us to talk about the election.
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It's the Friday before the presidential election and two journalists join the show to talk about not only the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but races that have Native candidates running for office. Talking about election coverage is Washington Post reporter Dana Hedgpeth and Mvskoke Media reporter Angel Ellis. 

Some quotes from Dana Hedgpeth: 

"I think we'll all be sort of on pins and needles and finding our nails for that whole week. I don't think any of us will be able to get much other work done because it's not going to be instant. This is an election, like no other for many reasons. COVID-19, just the logistics that COVID-19 has put on all of our lives. Everyone's life is different. And then, the turnout shouldn't be expecting to be unprecedented."

"So yes, it's not going to be like, we're going to bed. I think we're all going to be checking our phones when they build the night, you know, day to day. And I think one very good thing you pointed out before, Patty is, you know, calling it. I think a lot of the news organizations are probably going to scale back to them because no one wants to be the first out of the boat, but you do at the same time because it could really go neck and neck in some races, the presidential, the congressional local races. It really could. It's tough for election officials to decide when to start counting every state, every local jurisdiction has different rules on when they can start counting the ballots. So hopeful Thursday, Friday, I would say, but I shouldn't surely wouldn't gamble on when exactly we'll know."

"So absolutely right. Yeah, you're absolutely right. And I'm reminded of a line from Michelle Obama's book, 'Becoming' where she says, you know, it's not over until it's over. She never felt like it was actually over 'til they ended and were standing on the Capitol steps and the actual transition of power. There is something very powerful and American history and American lore. And just that actual placing the hand on the Bible and taking that swearing."

"You know, I wouldn't say that we're really through this in a safe and peaceful manner until we actually all see and witness that on our televisions and phone screens. And, I'll be fascinated to see how it unfolds."

"And I do feel the politicians are, you know, they should be held accountable to really make a promise that you can keep. Sometimes that's incredibly hard to do. But that's what the fascinating thing is to see. Can you keep what you promised to Native people? Because I think, especially for Natives, we have a history of long broken promises. We all know that. And so rightly so, Natives are skeptical when someone says, I promise I will do this. We have such a terribly long history of broken promises, and I think that's almost a flashpoint to people. And they get very nervous when they hear sovereignty might be in jeopardy."

Angel Ellis:

"It's very Indigenous. 38 different federally recognized tribes here in Oklahoma. So I always kind of joke that it's kind of hard not to find a Native person in Oklahoma. We kind of, you know, are just placed. So it's not uncommon for us to see a lot of Native American heritage on our election days. And even in the sense that some of our tribes, can experience a wide range of political beliefs and you know, conservatives and liberals and it is hard to kind of just put that together in one package."

"It's going to be a very important race for Oklahoma specifically and maybe even Indian country at large because of the different things we've seen come through the justice system over the last several months."

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"But what we're finding is those candidates don't always reflect in action what really supports sovereignty overall. So our state governor, who is a tribal citizen has asked for Congress to take action and many of our citizens are afraid. This means public law."

"And that seemed to be one of the rumors that we heard very early on when McGirt was decided. And it has kind of created this atmosphere of confusion to have such a case, and opinion come down. But what we've seen since then, is that all these tribes have really important investments in making the system work."

"They're not all necessarily Native Americans because we're so intertwined that way, but it's really a collective environment. It's everybody looking out, trying to do what's best for each other."


Live news broadcast starting at 8 p.m. Mountain Standard at

(Look on our website for a list of stations airing the program.)

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

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