Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports A couple of years ago a tribal leader showed me an abandoned lumber mill near the village of Tyonek, Alaska. The company promised jobs. And, for a time, for a couple of decades, there were those jobs. But after the resource was consumed, the mill closed, the company disappeared, and …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Last year I expected a record number of Native Americans to get elected to offices across the country. There were just so many really superb candidates running for Congress, state legislatures, and statewide offices. At one point my list topped a hundred candidates. Of course it didn’t turn out that way. …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Across Indian Country there are rallies, phone banks, forums, and social media pitches that are repeating one message, vote. Native American voters can make the difference in key states from the presidential race to county commissions. And what does it matter? In a paragraph: One presidential candidate, Donald Trump, favors …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports One week. Lots to report. Let’s start in Montana where Denise Juneau sought out Speaker Paul Ryan and asked to meet with him. Ryan was in Montana to campaign for Juneau’s opponent, Rep. Ryan Zinke. It was an unusual request, to say the least. And Ryan’s response was  a quick no, …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports It’s an understatement to say that North Dakota is making history. The rush to build a new oil pipeline from the Bakken oil fields to Patoka, Illinois, was supposed to be routine. It was designed to avoid most regulation, especially federal oversight, and get built without fanfare. But when that …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Early in the election cycle I made a prediction: I said if Donald Trump was the Republican nominee, the House would be in play for the Democrats. The reaction (and more than once) was 30 seats? Not likely. (Previous: Native candidates could help flip Congress). Not likely are the words …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports We’re about a month away from this election season being over — and so there is a lot going on in the #NativeVote16 universe. (Previous: Make no mistake, Standing Rock is on the ballot.) Let’s start in North Dakota where three Native American candidates are on the ballot statewide, plus …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Let’s start with the big picture. Donald Trump’s recorded revelation of felony intent — and yes, it’s that serious — ought to disqualify him from the presidency. There is no excuse. We are not talking about lewd behavior, consensual relationships, or being boorish. Trump said he can engage in criminal behavior. …

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  Climate math requires fossil fuel subtraction Mark Trahant / TrahantReports Ten months ago the United States told the world it was ready to do something about climate change. Enough talk. Time to act. And because of the nature of the crisis, the world’s governments are moving quickly. Well, at least as measured by governments. …

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Will Standing Rock stir younger Native voters? Mark Trahant / TrahantReports Will young people vote in 2016? And, more important, at least for our purposes, how about the younger generation of American Indians and Alaska Natives? Let’s explore the first question. Younger voters are perplexing. They are, or should be, the largest group voters, some 75 million. …

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