Saskatoon panel set to debate First Nations vote

Saskatoon First Nation's community will have a chance to hear a debate on the benefits of voting.

Debate to focus on the benefits of voting or not

A panel discussion will be held tonight exploring the question of whether indigenous people should vote. (Keith Ivey, Flickr cc)

To vote or not to vote, seems like a simple question to answer.

But for First Nations it is a more complicated issue.

There is only my world.- Colby Tootoosis 

Tonight, a panel discussion called Indigenous Sovereignty: To Vote or Not to Vote will be held to explore the pros and cons of casting a ballot.

One of the participants is Colby Tootoosis.  

"I'm more looking forward to December when Star Wars comes out, then the results of the election in October," he told Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski.

Tootoosis said that he won't be voting because the end result will be the same, regardless of which party wins the federal election. 

A new political awareness

On the other side of the discussion you'll find John Lagimodiere, a Metis consultant and the publisher of the Eagle Feather News. Lagimodiere believes that indigenous people are now more politically active, thanks in parts to movement like Idle No More.

"That general awareness that the impact is there really energized the young people and they are motivated and they are wired in."

"They have the opportunity to walk in both worlds," he said. "If you can impact government policy you can impact issues back home."

For Colby, those two worlds do not exist.

"There is only my world, and that's the indigenous perspective and my relationship to the land as an original inhabitant."

His message tonight will be for indigenous people to ignore the federal vote and concentrate instead on strengthening traditional forms of governance.

The panel discussion will begin this evening at 7 p.m. CST at Station 20 West in Saskatoon.