( – promoted by SarahLee)
With 4.5 million Native Americans in the U.S., both Clinton and Obama need the Native American vote in some key states, and are therefore courting votes.
A while back, I diaried their policy proposals. Both were good, but I found Obama’s more comprehensive.
Now, Obama has come out with a proposal that puts him ahead of Clinton as far as I’m concerned. Yet one more reason I support him.
Obama will have an American Indian Policy Advisor on his senior White House staff. This guarantees a voice for Native Americans within the White House.
The Rapid City Journal reported on this today
“That is huge,” Keith Harper, a Native-law attorney in Washington, D.C., said. “We’ve never even really had anybody in the door of the White House. They’ve been in the old executive office building in some back corner. And in this administration, they haven’t even been around at all.”
Obama’s chief of staff, Pete Rouse, seems on top of the issues:
Rouse said health care, education and economic development ranked at the top of Obama’s concerns for Natives. Obama co-sponsored the reauthorization of the Indian Healthcare Improvement Act, a federal law that hadn’t been updated for about 15 years.
“We have an obligation, a responsibility to provide full Indian health care, and in my memory, we’ve never done it,” Rouse said Thursday. “Nobody was out there advocating to do it at the highest levels of the administration. Right now, Indian policy concerns don’t have a fighting chance because they don’t have the visibility or the clout behind them.”
Obama addresses twice as many specific tribal concerns in his platform as Clinton’s agenda, Rouse said.
“Obama’s feelings on this is, we’re sort of running an insurgent campaign,” Rouse said. “He’s running from outside of Washington, a ‘change campaign.’ And from the beginning, he’s set out to include Native Americans in this coalition for change.”
I personally like this philosophy as well:
“One of the big issues here is to empower tribes to solve their own problems … in a way they want to solve them. Washington can’t say, ‘Here’s a bunch of money,’” Rouse said. “‘This is how you got do it.’” In order to do that, you need that dialogue with someone who is in the White House who has the sensitivity to Indian Country and tribal perspectives, and who also has the ear of the president.”
To me, Obama’s support is clearly sincere and I feel trustworthy.