Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports HELENA, Montana — It’s easy to think about politics as being about elections. We concentrate so much of our attention, our money, and our energy on campaigns. But then what? Most politicians run because they want to change things. They want government to be effective, to use the machinery of state …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports There is that moment when we take the plastic protection off a new phone screen. Everything was perfect until we peel it away. Then fingerprints, scratches, and the business of life take hold. That new thing is never the same. That’s exactly where Doug Burgum was as the new governor …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports HELENA, Montana — Just about a week ago it was clear that Cathy McMorris Rodger was headed to the Interior Department. Nope. It was a headfake. President-elect Donald Trump has instead picked Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke for the post. This is a  much better appointment for Indian Country. Zinke is …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Sometimes the stars do align. The short version: Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison is campaigning to chair the Democratic National Committee. If he wins, that opens up a congressional seat in a special election. And, state Rep. Peggy Flanagan is thinking about running. Now, the details.  Ellison represents Minneapolis and some …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports If, then, this. A series of three words explaining what happens in any new White House. If Donald Trump wins the presidency, then many (not all) of the promises made during the campaign become policy. And it happens starting next month when the Congress races to try and make this so. …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice to head the Department of the Interior. If confirmed by the Senate, she would managed federal lands, including those that produce energy, as well as national parks. She would be oversee the Bureau of Indian Affairs. McMorris Rodgers has all …

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By Charles C. Haynes / The Newseum Institute On Dec. 4, the two-year struggle by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect their sacred land and water ended — at least for now — when the Obama administration denied the easement needed to complete the Dakota Access Pipeline. The cancelled route, located one half mile …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has defied history. Nearly two years ago the Dakota Access Pipeline and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the tribe about an inevitable pipeline that would cross near their reservation and within treaty lands. The tribe objected. But it was inevitable. A done …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports The period between an election and a new presidential administration is nothing short of frantic. There is just not enough time to fill all the positions that open up on Jan. 20, 2017, some 8,000 posts that are political in nature. About 1,200 of those jobs require Senate confirmation. President-elect …

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