Navajo riders head to the polls on horseback

Eufemia Didonato

Members of the Navajo Nation voter mobilization effort headed to polling places on horseback ahead of Election Day. 

“Sovereignty, land and health care,” rider Allie Young told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday. “Those are the top three things that affect our community, whether it’s regular health care or mental health care. That’s what we’re voting for.” 

Young posted a photo to her Instagram account showing her and several other riders on horseback on their way to vote early in Arizona. 

“We saddled up our horses and rode 10 miles to the early voting polls to make our voices heard by casting our ballots,” she wrote. “We rode in honor of our ancestors who fought for our right to vote. We rode in honor of our ancestors who rode longer miles and hours just to exercise their right to vote for us, our people, our lands, Mother Earth and Father Sky, and future generations. We rode just like them and carried the horse spirit and horse medicine that reconnects us to Mother Earth, that balances us and brings us back to Hózhó – we carried that good medicine to the polls to fight for and protect the sacred.”

Young encouraged others “to organize a horse trail ride in your community to honor our ancestors while you exercise your right to vote.”

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the Navajo Nation hard, with more than 11,800 cases and 580 known deaths, according to the Navajo Times. 

Arizona is seen as a pivotal battleground state in the 2020 presidential election. 

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