Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports First: A fantasy. Wouldn’t it be cool if once, just once, there was a debate in Congress that could only be decided by a vote that benefits Native people? I don’t know. Something like, “I won’t vote for any bill unless it fulfills the treaty obligations that the United …

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  Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Big news: The rest of the year will have less drama than the ups and downs we’ve been experiencing since January. The federal government will more or less operate on schedule, the federal debt limit fight has been pushed back to the end of the year, and President Donald …

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When every senator could be the 50th vote, any one absence means no healthcare bill Trahant Reports The Senate healthcare bill looked like it was going to pass on Friday. There were only two public no votes (when three are needed to defeat the measure.) And you can only imagine how much pressure leadership was putting …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports It would be cool, just this once, if the Senate would say, “Indian Country you are so important. So we are adding a special provision to this health care bill that adds big bucks to the Indian Health Service.” Then Senators with significant American Indian or Alaska Native populations would …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports Former Montana State Sen. Carol Juneau once said that she considered state office because that’s where she could make a difference. (She is a member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Tribe but was living in the Blackfeet Nation). The year was 1998. She was first appointed to the legislature to …

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***Updated*** Good morning. A quick update. So a reader points out that I really ought to include Debora Juarez in this list (and in the broader review of Native women in office). And it’s a spot on suggestion. So I have added Juarez and a couple of county commissioners I know about … but there …

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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 A few years ago I had a chance to ask President George Bush what he thought about tribal sovereignty in the 21st century. His answer went viral: “Tribal sovereignty means that. It’s sovereign. You’re a … you’re a … you’ve been given sovereignty and you’re viewed as a sovereign …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports This election Indian Country was like America. Perhaps only more so. Most American Indian and Alaska Natives voted for Hillary Clinton. But that support was mild. There were not enough votes to make a difference in red states like Montana, South Dakota and North Dakota. Just enough votes to stay …

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Mark Trahant / Trahant Reports There is no question in my mind that gender is on the ballot this election. Hillary Clinton would be the first woman ever elected in U.S. history. While the Republican nominee for president finds new ways to show his contempt for women almost every time he opens his mouth. And …

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