August 12th, 2020 Last Updated on: August 17th, 2020
Its election time! This evening Presidential hopeful Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate and immediately my eyes lit up because I thought Indian People just might finally have an ally with this government!
Lets get straight to Biden's campaign promises for Native people:
- “If elected in November, Biden said he would make health services funding mandatory” .
This campaign promise is in response to Trumps administration's lag for, “delaying the first installment of coronavirus financial aid to Native Americans, who sued the administration to block it from giving some of the money to for-profit corporations operated by Native Americans” .
- “Biden said he would uphold tribal sovereignty and would ensure the views and voices of Native Americans are heard when his administration makes decisions in their interest” . (azcentral.com)
For those of you not familiar with Federal Indian Policy, we have a trust relationship with the United States, in exchange for giving up our land, the U.S government is expected to honor its treaty obligations with Native people, which often times was ignored by past U.S. administrations.
- “Restore Tribal lands and safeguard natural and cultural resources” . (nativenewsonline.com)
Just recently Biden announced that he's against uranium mining in the Grand Canyon. This is big because it prevents further contamination of the Colorado River, which not only affects Native people who depend on the water but also anyone who buys agricultural produce from the farming industries of Riverside and Imperial County in California, whose crops are irrigated by the Colorado River down stream.
This also comes at a time when, “the Trump administration on Monday took another step to opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling for oil and gas, potentially fulfilling a decades-long dream for Republicans” . (indiancountrytoday.com)
- “Invest in Native students. Joe will dramatically increase funding for both public schools and Bureau of Indian Education schools. He’ll also ensure every Native student has access to education beyond a high school diploma” .
As a product of a BIA Education, this is big. I saw first hand how many of our teachers were underpaid because the BIA funding formula was rarely updated to reflect the current cost of living. At Haskell, some of our sports programs were cut because the schools budget couldn't sustain them.
- “Provide reliable, affordable healthcare. Joe recognizes the federal government has a treaty and trust responsibility to provide health care services to Native Americans” .
Its not secret to Native people that IHS (Indian Health Service) could use some improvement. I had teeth yanked from IHS Dental because they couldn't perform route canals.
- “Expand economic and community development in Indian Country. Joe is calling for a transformational investment in our country’s infrastructure, housing, and economic development in every corner of the country, including in Indian Country” . (joebiden.com)
For those of you who've actually visited Indian Country, you know that we have quite a few Indian reservations that are very remote and the hardest thing to do out in the middle of nowhere, is have a thriving economy.
- “Fight for Native voting rights. As president, Joe will continue to not only protect the right of American Indian and Alaska Natives to vote, but to make it easier to vote. This includes leading the way to restore the Voting Rights Act and appointing leaders to the Justice Department who will challenge every law designed to suppress the Native vote” .
Here are some quick fun facts, Native Americans didn't receive their U.S. Citizenship until 1924 and we also weren't guaranteed the right to vote in every state until 1962. (history.com)
So before any of our readers begin leaving their comments on our Facebook page and attempt to give us our opinion, just remember, our political views are different from that of the other ethnic groups, our politics & tribal governments are based on historical treaties with the United States.
The fate of our livelihoods changes from generation to generation, depending on who's in office.
And all I can really tell any of you, especially if you're Non-Native, is that we don’t think in the short term of things, especially if we have to wait out unsavory politicians, 500 years of living with colonists will do that to you.
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