OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With less than two weeks until the midterm elections, Oklahoma tribal nations are rallying to push Native Americans to the polls. The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma held the inaugural Warrior up to Vote event Thursday at the First Americans Museum.

The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma voting event. Image KFOR.

UINO Chairwoman Margo Gray said about 14 percent of the state’s voters identify as Native American, saying that means they have real power to influence this election.

“A lot of people over the years said Native Americans don’t vote,” she said. “Well, we’re changing that narrative.”

About a dozen political candidates spoke at the event including governor race candidate Joy Hofmeister and U.S. Senate candidate Kendra Horn.

The United Indian Nations of Oklahoma voting event. Image KFOR.

“I think the most important thing out of tonight’s event is that people walk out of here getting to know some of the candidates that are on the ballot and having a plan to make sure they get to the ballot,” said Matthew Morgan, chairman of the Indian Gaming Association.

Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes said tribal sovereignty is the most important issue to Oklahoma Native Americans this election.

“Not being antagonistic with tribes,” he said. “Look at what we’ve done all over Oklahoma, particularly in Eastern Oklahoma, how we’ve been able to build up our state, whether it’s infrastructure, children and family services, educational help. Sovereignty means the ability to have our own governments, to have our own court systems, to have our own forms of justice, to be able to have our own self-determination. These are not new concepts and they’re certainly not new for the tribal nations that call this place home.”

UINO said they invited every Oklahoma candidate on the ballot to the event, getting a response from about one-third.