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2020 Thunderfest To Feature Voter Registration and Census Reporting

Thunder Valley CDC

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation along with reservations across the nation are historically miscounted when it comes to the United States Census, leaving many essential programs underfunded - therefore being less effective in the social work that they do. 

This year is no different but being coupled with the COVID 19 Pandemic it could prove much worse.  The 2020 Census started in April and is projected to end September 30th.  Many groups on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have come together to spread awareness and help people be counted.

Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation is located at what is known as Sharp’s Corner and is helping Pine Ridge Tribal Residents to exercise their right to vote and to be counted. 

Thunderfest ,now in its second year, began as a way to celebrate the community and promote Native American artists and musicians.  Now Thunderfest, according to DeCora Hawk, is more topic oriented.   

“Yeah so we have special guests coming, we have for example, Senator Foster, Representative Pourier, Kevin Killer as well as health officials to talk about hygiene, how to protect yourself during the pandemic. We do have masks that were donated by Red Couture, so those will be available during the social distance event. So there’s going to be precautions taken...proper PPE, etc. It’s a mask mandatory event as well as we have safe ways for the community to register to vote and then we’ll have a person there to help fill out Census documents. So we’re going to be practicing all of the precautions that are needed during the pandemic.”

Hawk says Thunderfest - also known as #HearMyThunder - is a celebration and acknowledgement of Indigenous people and making sure they are counted and have a say in their future. They are also holding a Motorcycle Poker Run. Thunderfest is September 12, from 12p.m. to 6p.m. It is open to anyone.