Waymon Lain has always voted by absentee ballot but this year he decided to drive 340 miles from his home to make his mark.
Lain is from Joshua, Texas, which is about a six hour drive to Pawhuska.
“I think it is important to vote,” Lain said. “I like coming up here (Pawhuska) and this year I decided to drive up here to vote instead of by absentee [ballot].”
Lain voted around noon and was going to visit the Osage Tribal Museum before making his trip back to Texas.
Jack Gregory and his son Andrew Gregory drove from Nixa, Mo., this morning to vote as well.
“I always drive back to vote,” Jack said. “Frankly, if you don’t vote in person then you don’t get to see the candidates and get a feel for the person.”
Jack is originally from Barnsdall and his grandfather had allotment land southeast of Barnsdall. Jack’s sister use to live in Barnsdall so he would come vote and then visit her. However, she has moved and his visit is just for the day.
But for Andrew voting for the Osage Nation Congress is a whole new experience for him.
“In the last few years I got my membership card so this is the first election I am voting in,” Andrew said.
He said it is a whole new experience for him and has enjoyed the family environment.
“It is a little different since I have never experience it before,” Andrew said. “The way the candidate campsites are set up reminds me of election days back in the 1800’s.”
Jack hopes by the next election he can get his granddaughter to vote.
Like Andrew, this is Pam Rodriguez’s first time voting in an Osage Nation election.
Rodriguez is from Santa Maria, Calif., and always helped her mother, Buelah Tinker- Heartman vote by absentee ballot until she passed away last year.
“Since my mother’s passing my sister, brother and I wanted to continue voting in my mother’s honor,” Rodriguez said.
Voting is also a way for Rodriguez to connect to the Osage people and culture since she grew up away from the culture.
“I remember being here (Osage campus) when I was a little girl and the area still looks the same,” she said.
Rodriguez is excited to be able to partake in Election Day and meet the candidates. She said she finally got the chance to meet the people she has been reading about through the Osage News and mail outs she’s received.
“It is too nice to be here and I think the campsites are perfect,” she said.
Rodriguez said she will continue to vote in her mother’s honor and hopes to get her children to vote.