Indian Country politics and public policy

Commentary by Mark Trahant

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 What does a landslide look like? And, more important, what would that mean for Native American candidates? First: Hillary Clinton is peaking at the ideal moment. And, at the same time, Donald Trump’s campaign is imploding. He had a bad week, a poor debate, and he’s out of time to …

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TrahantReports This is President Barack Obama’s last White House Tribal Nations Conference.  These meetings have really raised the level of discourse between tribal governments and the federal government. It seems to me this is how government-to-government should have worked all along. That said: It will be impossible for the White House to be successful unless …

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Mark Trahant / TrahantReports On social media and in real life we hear this often: “What can I do to help Standing Rock?” Some answer the question by donating money, many send supplies, and hundreds of people jump in their car and travel to the camps near Cannonball, North Dakota. Once there folks pray, some …

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Mark Trahant / TrahantReports I’ve been thinking a lot about the silence from the White House on the situation at Standing Rock. There have been so many calls to get involved, including a direct plea from Chairman David Archambault II. So on Wednesday President Obama finally spoke; answering a question in Laos. He cited the …

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Mark Trahant / TrahantReports I have been writing a lot about numbers, lately. My latest count is seven Native American candidates for Congress, one for the U.S. Senate, five candidates running in statewide races, and 83 Native American candidates for state legislatures. (Plus more than a dozen office holders who are already elected and not …

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#NativeVote16 – A letter to the first Native American president

July 28, 2016


Minn. Rep. Peggy Flanagan. (Ojibwe) speaking ar the Democratic Convention. (C-SPAN)

TrahantReports

For those not near C-SPAN, Rep Peggy Flanagan (Ojibwe) speaking at DNC this afternoon. #NativeVote16 Video is here.

Short but eloquent. She read a letter to her future president daughter about the challenges and the promises found in politics & organizing.

“I am a proud citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe,” she said. “Politics is not always fun. Sometimes you run into some pretty mean people who don’t like you for simply being you. Like that naughty guy Donald Trump on TV. The one who says all those nasty things about women. And about Native Americans like us. I’m so sorry you have to hear that, my girl, your name is not Pocahontas. .. Despite everything that’s happened to our people, and no matter what Donald Trump said, we are still here.”

She said she wanted her daughter to grow up “our people’s values, honoring our elders, showing gratitude to our warriors, cherishing our children as gifts from the creator.”

That means having a president who shares those same values and “that’s why we have a Hillary sign on our front lawn. We can trust her to keep our women safe, our veterans well cared for, and keep the promises that the UNited States has made to our tribes.”

Flanagan told her daughter that Clinton, “like your mommy,” worked at the Children’s’ Defense Fund and then later ran for office. “And the bullies did not like that at all, but Hillary did not let them stop her. She never lets bullies stop her and neither should you.”

“You can’t run to be the first Native American president until you are 35,” Flanagan said. “But you can come knock on doors for Hillary with me this fall. I’ll be so so proud to bring you with me to vote for her on Nov. 8. And someday, I’ll vote for you.”

Mark Trahant / TrahantReports Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president Thursday. “Here, at our convention, there will be no lies,” he said. “We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else.” And one of those truths: An extrordinary promise to break treaties. That’s the haunting metaphor from Trump’s …

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