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Donkees's Journal
Donkees's Journal
March 12, 2016

Naelyn Pike of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona speaks during a Bernie Rally

Naelyn Pike of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona speaks on the Oak Flat Land exchange bill during a Bernie Sanders Rally in Tucson, AZ
March 1, 2016

Sanders Commitments to "Indian Country"

The commitments Sanders has made to “Indian Country” include expanding and protecting tribal rights to jurisdiction.
Democratic candidate for President Bernie Sanders achieved a historic upset at the New Hampshire primaries last week by winning 60 percent of the delegates. However, this margin is nothing compared to the margin he carried in one precinct in Iowa: the Meskwaki Indian Settlement precinct in Tama County. Here on the 8,000 acre homeland of the 1,400 member Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa he won 83.3 percent of the votes. Clinton only won 16.7 percent.

So it is no surprise when on Feb. 8 Bernie Sanders’ campaign announced at the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians meeting the creation of a Native American policy committee to develop and guide Sanders’ tribal policy platform. ATNI represents 57 Northwest tribes in a seven-state region. Founded in 1953, the organization provides an opportunity for tribal leaders to work together in the spirit of “inter-tribal unity and cooperation” and to jointly set policy and direction for member tribes. It is regarded as one of the strongest regional Native American organizations in the United States

Nicole Willis, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, and the former deputy director of First Americans at Obama for America is the new Native American advisor to the campaign.

“In the area of policy, Native America deserves to be courted,” Willis told teleSUR.

She said that the Native American Policy Committee, unique on the campaign trail, will contain a mix of elected officials, experts in Indian policy development and implementation, and regional representatives who will be “delving into rapid, meaningful policy development.”

Masha Mendieta, a national strategist for the Sanders campaign who attended the ATNI meeting, was amazed at the speed at which Sanders acted to expand his message to include the Native American community more fully. “Within 24 hours,” she says, “I knew I was going to ATNI and had these commitments from him. Amazing.”

The main commitments Sanders made to “Indian Country” (as Native Americans often call it) include:

Within 100 days of his presidency Sanders has pledged to convene a climate change summit and to include Native American representation. One of primary issues endangering Native American cultural practices in the 21st century is climate change. For example: climate change greatly endangers the growing of first foods like corn, and the habitats of traditional food sources and the transmission of cultural practices built around them. Sander's opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline will play well with Native voters to whom these projects represent a violation of tribal sovereignty and a grave danger to their homelands. Feelings are so strong on this matter that after the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to force the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward in 2014, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe called it an “act of war” in a letter to Congress and said the U.S. lawmakers had “signed our death warrants” and vowed to close their lands to the pipeline.

Affirm and expand Native American nations’ gains in the last couple of years. Not just supporting initiatives like Obama’s Generation Indigenous but to secure funding for this programs. “Gen-I” is a program for Native youth that Obama announced at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to “focus on improving the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed.” Key programs include: education, health and nutrition, juvenile justice, housing, and youth engagement.

Expanding and protecting tribal rights to jurisdiction. Sanders played a key role as the co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was controversial and was bitterly opposed by Republicans because it expanded tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians. Due to a series of Supreme Court rulings, Tribes have been stripped of jurisdiction over non-Indians on their lands and this has created a gap in jurisdiction which has led to an epidemic of predation of Native women by non-Indian men. In 2010, the Justice Department released a report which found that Native women were 2 1/2 times more like to be victims of rape and murder than other American women. The report also found that over 70 percent of the perpetrators of these crimes against Native women were white men. In some counties in the United States, the murder rate for Native women was found to be 9 times that of other American women. Further compounding the lack of lack of protection for Native women, the FBI refused to prosecute in 70 percent of the cases. VAWA went into effect in 2015 with a few tribal pilot projects. Sanders plans to fight for further expansion of tribal jurisdiction in the next authorization of the bill. In the present version of the bill, tribal jurisdiction is limited to only Domestic Violence perpetrators.

Continue the White House Tribal Nations Conference (an annual conference Obama began shortly after he took office) and retain a Native American policy advisor as begun under Obama’s administration.

“I was given an opportunity to speak at the General Assembly,” Mendieta said, noting she hadn’t come to the ATNI meeting prepared to speak and found herself addressing the gathered leaders, deeply moved by the testimonials and speeches from tribal representatives she had heard. She says she urged them to take this opportunity to elect somebody “who fundamentally supported change” and to seize a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shift their relationship with the federal government.”

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Bernie-Sanders-Courts-Native-American-Voters-20160214-0008.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

February 20, 2016

Excerpt: Theodore Roosevelt - "The Man in the Arena"

“The Man in the Arena” tells us that the man we should praise is the man who’s out there fighting the big battles, even if those battles end in defeat. In our day, when cynicism and aloof detachment are considered hip and cool, TR reminds us that glory and honor come to those “who spend themselves in a worthy cause.”

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

February 20, 2016

~*~ What Native Americans in Nevada Want the Presidential Candidates to Know ~*~

What Native Americans in Nevada want the presidential candidates to know
by Jorge Rivas

WALKER RIVER PAIUTE RESERVATION, Nev.—Members of the Walker River Paiute Tribe in Nevada say they wish Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would come here themselves, not just send representatives. They want the candidates to see their problems and fears. They worry that nearby mining and testing at military bases are contaminating their water. They want more jobs and more money for their schools. They want help addressing the number of young people who end up in prison. They want to stop the suicides that keep stealing young lives from this community of fewer than 700 people.

Nevada will hold Democratic caucuses across the state Saturday. Because of the rules that govern how delegates are allocated for the state convention, the members of the tribe have more power proportionally than voters in more urban areas. But their numbers are still small. Members of the Walker River Paiute tribe will caucus at their community town hall. We asked them what they would tell Clinton and Sanders if they visited the reservation, about 100 miles away from Reno.[/b

~Candice Birchum says her concerns center on access to quality education and economic development. The Walker River Paiute Reservation has one gas station, the only source of revenue for the tribe.

“When companies do come in with business proposals, even if the tribe is interested, we’re held up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It takes a lot of steps to get anything done here,” Birchum says. She says that, as education director on the reservation, she is especially concerned about money for schools.

~Sara Twiss says it’s hard for her to follow the presidential election because the campaigns aren’t doing much outreach on the reservation.

“It can be very hard to get Natives to vote, and I’m sort of new to the process,” she says, noting that “sometimes people don’t know what the steps are or where to register to vote.”

“Some people are really strong about voting and getting their opinion heard, but it’s all about the individual and if they’re willing to take the next steps,” Twiss says.

~Another member of the tribe says their medical bills are only covered if they’re “bleeding, broken, and dying.”

~Marlene Begay and her husband were Democratic delegates at the 2008 Nevada state convention. She says she saw very few Native Americans there and heard of only one Nevada tribal leader making it to the Democratic National Convention.

“If I was selected I wouldn’t be able to pay for it,” says Begay, who is also a councilwoman for the tribal government. “I’d have to have an Indian taco sale to raise money to be able to pay for that.”

~Bobby Sanchez, the chairman of the tribe, says he hopes the next president will work with tribal leaders. He says tribal sovereignty is an issue he follows closely. He also says he wants the president to ensure that federal and state money for reservation schools is allocated fairly.

“What I envision in a leader is someone who is humble and down to earth and will do things with you, not just promise things,” Sanchez says.


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