A national initiative to encourage Canada’s indigenous population to get out to the polls is underway and rallies are being held across the country to gather support.

A ‘Rock the Indigenous Vote’ rally was held at Olympic Plaza over the noon hour and organizers say this federal election is historic because it is the first time since 1960 that there has been this many first time voters.

“Every vote is a smart vote, said Cara Currie-Hall, Founder of Rock the Indigenous Vote. We have the ability to swing 51 ridings across our Nation. We are the sleeping giant and our voices will be heard.”

“I’m here to put in my support with this aboriginal vote. I believe that if one person can make a difference, I’m going to be that one person that’s going to help people say bring in the information about voting and how to do it the correct way,” said Lindsey Goodwill.

Officials with the movement say the indigenous vote is more important than ever and there are a number of indigenous candidates running in this election.

“Indigenous Peoples will structure policies so that our Peoples will see change by either electing in an Indigenous Candidate or someone that has a platform where our interests are being served and recognized. Our vote will cause the Government of Canada to have a better relationship based on our Nation-to-Nation belief systems with our Peoples. We will take back of our rightful place within the country of Canada. We have proven through history that when we unite, we cause change. We cannot afford to let this election go by without letting our voices be heard through our Vote,” said Currie-Hall.

“That opportunity to get people to vote is really important to take it and this year you’re going to see historically, the number of indigenous people is going to be skyrocketing and hopefully somebody does a poll and we can find out how many people actually did cast their vote,” said Nicole Robertson, rally organizer. “A lot of our young people, that are engaged, that are going to university, that are living in the urban centre, really want to be heard. They want to be validated, they want to be a part of what’s going on in this country, and to see a standard of living with our people, at par with Canadians.”

Rallies were held in Montreal, Winnipeg and Saskatoon last week and another is planned in B.C. on Friday.

For more information on the ‘Rock the Indigenous Vote’ initiative, click HERE.