A new article of faith: Don’t make the poor balance the budget

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Trahant Reports

By Mark Trahant

There is a political article of faith: “Don’t raise taxes during a recession.” Just Google the phrase and you’ll find some 2.5 million results. The popular idea is that deeply embedded into our political thinking. Of course it makes economic sense: You want people to spend their money on goods and services. Then producers will hire more people, and people will have more money to spend, yadda yadda.

Here’s my concern: While there is consensus to protect the richest Americans – those who pay income taxes – there is little discourse, yet alone agreement, about protecting the poor and the working poor. We hear about saving the middle class, we hear about tax cuts for everyone (except this only applies to the income tax, not to the payroll taxes, a tax that is far more burdensome to those who earn less). But what about those who work hard but don’t earn a high wage?

I’ve already written about the zest for cutting government programs and jobs, ideas that will add to the unemployment crisis and take more “spending” money out of the economy. Unemployed people, yes, even people who once worked for the government, don’t spend. This is money that will be subtracted from the economy.

I agree that we need to cut federal spending. We need to balance the budget and pay down the massive debts we’ve accumulated. (This is a position I’ve argued for doing for most of my professional career as a columnist.) But we don’t have to do this all at once.

A presidential debt commission will release its proposals in December to balance the budget.  A draft is already out there with a few big ticket ideas: Slowly raising the retirement age, making $3 in spending cuts for every dollar in higher revenue and a flatter income tax structure (and one that generates more revenue). But there are also little proposals, almost meaningless, such as ending the payments to states and tribes for abandoned mines.

One idea that’s floating around is to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit. This would have terrible consequences for the working poor – especially people who live in Native American communities. The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the most successful anti-poverty programs ever. It’s a tax credit that puts real money back into the pockets of families who are supporting themselves on modest incomes.

A report from the Brookings Institution looking at three decades of the tax credit and puts it this way: “The EITC has proved remarkably successful in reducing poverty. In 2003, the EITC lifted 4.4 million people in low-income, working families out of poverty, more than one-half of them children. Today, the EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other social program or category of programs. Without it, the poverty rate among children would be 25 percent higher.”

The tax credit has been singularly successful on American Indian reservations and in Alaska Native villages. For example: Pull up a map of where the tax credit is most used and you see Indian Country. In many Native communities more than 40 percent of the population now is eligible for this credit. Just peek at Montana’s map for an example. The areas where the EITC is most common are the state’s Indian reservations. Make no mistake about this, reducing or eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit will have a disproportionate impact on Indian Country.

It is important, over the long haul, to reign in the federal budget. But that cannot be accomplished by stripping away the programs and tax credits that actually make life better for poor, working American families. This proposal is being shopped at the very moment when government services and jobs are already being cut in those same communities.

A sad truth is that the recession doesn’t mean as much in a poor community as a rich one. When unemployment rates are already 50 percent, what difference does a point or two make?

But in this national zeal to balance the budget we should not make the situation worse.  If we can make it an article of faith to not raise taxes during a recession, we should also be certain not to make life worse for American who work hard and barely earn enough to support their families.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

Yes, government does create jobs!

Trahant Reports

By Mark Trahant

You’ve probably heard this phrase a lot during this campaign season: “Government doesn’t create jobs.” It’s the ultimate dismissal of self-government, usually reinforced by a bow to the ultimate power of job creation by the private sector (or if you want to score even more points, by small business.)

But saying it over and over – even in the most reverent tone – doesn’t make it true. It’s a fact that government does create jobs.

These days, thanks to the collapse of the newspaper industry, I am a self-employed entrepreneur. But I owe my three-decade private sector career to a make work, government jobs program. My first professional journalism gig was as editor of The Sho-Ban News. My boss was the tribal government – and my position was funded under the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act or CETA. So every time I hear the campaign phrase, “government doesn’t create jobs,” I think how different my life would have been without that government job.

But that broader myth persists. A report by Congressional Republicans, “The War on Western Jobs,” sticks to this storyline and blames DC. “Federal policies emerging from Washington are making these challenges more difficult,” it says.  “Too often, federal policies stand in the way of job creation and economic growth.”

The report calls for a return to “pro growth” policies that will support mining, gas and oil ventures. Guess what? Those industries are not creating jobs. And government is not to blame; technology has changed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs are declining in all mining sectors (except for coal mines). The jobs that are being created often require post-high school education. The BLS reports: “Most mining machines and control rooms are now automatic or computer-controlled, requiring fewer, if any, human operators. Many mines also operate with other sophisticated technology such as lasers and robotics, which further increases the efficiency of resource extraction. As a result, mine employment has been falling over time, particularly of workers who are involved in the extraction process itself.”

A similar story is told in agriculture where technology has made a single operator more productive. That means fewer jobs. Blaming the federal government won’t change these trends.

We should be thanking Washington, instead. After all we who live in the rural West, live in the most subsidized region of the country. What would Alaska look like without Ted Stevens? What would any community in dry state look like without obscenely expensive water projects? There is already a large taxpayer tab: an investment list that goes from airplanes to silicon chips. Indeed, Gerald Nash in his book, “The Federal Landscape: An Economic History of the Twentieth-Century West,” argues that complicated mix of public and private capital is the essential factor in the region’s story.

But if government jobs are essential for the rural community, they are doubly important on Indian reservations where unemployment levels are about the highest in the nation. Investment from the private sector is minuscule and government is practically the only game in town.  From where I write in Fort Hall, Idaho, I can look out my window and see a gas station convenience store, a café, a grocery store, a post office and a casino. All owned by a government. And all are jobs created by government.

Back to the current political discourse: I reject “either, or.” It’s not either government jobs or private sector jobs. We need both. Sometimes government is the most effective tool to create jobs. We also ought to be doing all we can to encourage private hiring, especially in places like Indian Country.

What we need to find is a way to change the conversation. For example: There is a heated discussion about the wisdom of raising taxes during a deep recession. There are arguments to be made for and against both alternatives. But why not a similar discussion – for and against – about the wisdom of cutting government jobs during a recession? Where are these government workers – our neighbors – going to go? What sort of private sector magic will hire them after they leave government service?

It’s important to stop demonizing government jobs because we’re at an interesting junction. There is a coming wave of civil service retirements – the ideal time for a mature discussion about the role of government. We need to make certain we use tax dollars wisely, but we also need to keep good paying federal jobs in communities across this country.

Remember government does create jobs.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

Additional resource: The Washington Post has a fascinating interactive map of federal employees (and retirees).

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Austerity is our future. Plan ahead.

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Trahant Reports

By Mark Trahant

Which rally drew more people? One Nation Working Together or Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor? Left or right? Liberal or Conservative?

“Per usual the rally’s attendance numbers are being disputed by the left and right,” writes John Hudson in The Atlantic Wire. “While a number of progressive bloggers claim the “One Nation” rally drew a larger crowd than Beck’s August event, the Associated Press and others are challenging that claim.”

The logic here is counting people at a rally is evidence that Americans want a smaller, less taxing government, the kind of government that the Tea Party advocates.

But if you really want to count numbers then consider that while tens of thousands of Americans marched for or against government policy, compare that to Europe where ten times as many marched against their governments’ austerity measures. (These marches, I should mention, are small by European historical standards.)

Nonetheless: Austerity is our future.

It’s one thing to think about “budget cuts” as an abstract phrase. It’s quite another when basic services are eliminated, steady jobs disappear and young people’s ambitions are blocked because college is no longer affordable.

Why is this our future? Let’s explore some math. There is one item in the federal budget that is set to expand in coming years: Interest on the debt. This is the money that’s paid to people who lend to the United States through bonds and other devices. We’ve been lucky in recent years because interest rates are low – so the net cost of debt service has been manageable. But that fortune won’t last forever.

The severe austerity we’re facing is tied to our national debt. “Net interest payments accounted for about 5 percent of overall federal spending in 2009,” the Congressional Budget Office estimates. “That figure is expected to rise to 6 percent in 2010 and then climb to nearly 14 percent in 2020.”

The Federal Budget is, essentially, divided into three spending areas: Net interest, mandatory spending (programs that people automatically qualify for such as Medicare and Medicaid) and discretionary spending. Interest gets paid pretty much no matter what. The election will debate what cuts, if any, can or should be made to mandatory spending. The third part of the budget is discretionary spending, including the cost of the military. But most of the attention (even if it’s the smallest number) centers on domestic, discretionary spending. That’s what funds everything from transportation to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

This is important because we already spend more on interest payments than on the kind of programs that invest in our future. And, despite the common rhetoric, we are not spending enough on these essential programs. In the mid 1980s federal discretionary spending amounted to between 3.2 to 4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. It went up after Sept. 11 and with the temporary boost from the Americans Recovery and Reinvestment Act that number still only reaches 4.7 percent GDP.

This matters to Indian Country because tribal governments are at the tail end of the rhetoric that drives public policy. The arguments about what to cut – and how much to cut – focuses on the tiniest slice of the pie. At least during the Obama Administration, both the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service have avoided any deep cuts, but that’s going to change over the next few months and years.

How should tribes prepare for the inevitable? I would hope in two ways: Looking at their own budgets, finding ways to trim costs now (while protecting employees and services). Second, and perhaps, more important, look for new revenue sources such as foundation funding or federal funding that will be protected over the next few years, such as money designated for community health centers in the health care reform bill.

Of course none of this is limited to the federal government. The same pressures are present in states, cities and tribal governments. But before this era of austerity ends we will question many of our basic assumptions about government. What happens when there are not enough police on a shift? Or when there is not enough to repave a highway? Or when a state cuts loose its public university?

Will we take to the streets then? I hope not. Our challenge is to get past the shouting, the differences, and the look at the facts on the ground. No matter how loud we are, the net interest on the debt will remain the same. Our only recourse is to work together to balance spending and revenue at all levels of government.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

Additional Resource:

The Center for American Progress lays out alternatives for budget cuts – and the implications of such actions. Here is a sample from the report: “But it’s evident that cuts of the scope and magnitude we have laid out really will do harm to the country, especially for the plans that cut the most. They are cuts that we’ll end up paying for one way or another. We may pay for them in delays at the airport or in the emergence of a new disease without a cure. It may cost us in traffic jams and rough roads or in unsafe food. It may mean lower economic growth as the infrastructure crumbles, education suffers, and investments in research and the technologies of the future languish. Or our armed services may be late arriving at an international hotspot. Whatever the consequences, and you can go through the list and imagine them, there will be some. And as bad as the consequences might be from what we’ve outlined here, the consequences from the alternatives we considered were, in our view, worse.

But these are, in fact, the kinds of choices we’re going to have to make.”

What the Pledge means to Indian Country

We hate health care reform. The bill was too many pages, too complicated and didn’t fix all the problems right now, this minute. (One of America’s core democratic values is our impatience.)

But the why is fascinating. Many of us hate the reform bill because it went too far; but most of us are unhappy because health care reform didn’t go far enough. We wanted more action, a smarter health care system, even, more government to make our health care system work smarter.

Yet that voter angst – both for and against – set the stage for this November election and the Republicans’ Pledge to America. “In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent,” the pledge says.  (Except that some of us do give our consent.)

Elections are policy choices. And this GOP Pledge is a clear guide about what Republicans would do if given power. There are significant implications for Indian Country in this document (even though American Indians and Alaska Natives aren’t mentioned at all).

The Pledge says: “Because the new health care law kills jobs, raises taxes, and increases the cost of health care, we will immediately take action to repeal this law.”

But if that were to happen it would mean the repeal of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. That law was just made permanent after nearly a decade of congressional inaction to reauthorize the 1976 act. This act was both symbolic and practical, setting the course for many improvements in the Indian health system ranging from improved funding to better training and recruitment.

Of course it won’t be easy to repeal the health care bill. The bar is set high: Republicans would have to round up enough votes to beat a presidential veto, a two-thirds majority. So the Pledge outlines a back up plan: ” We will fight efforts to fund the costly new health care law.”

The Pledge promises to return federal spending to 2008 levels. The Indian Health Service budget was $3.35 billion that year; in fiscal year 2011 the president is requesting $4.4 billion. That’s nearly a 24 percent cut in existing services at IHS. (That does not include the additional money spent from the stimulus funds that would also be eliminated.)

The problem is these look like big numbers: Four point four billion dollars! But it’s not news to Indian Country to report that the Indian Health Service is already underfunded. We’re talking about an agency that spends less per patient than any other health care system in America, including federal prisons.

The Pledge to America would roll back all government spending to 2008 levels in education, at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that would impact tribal contracts for those same programs. As National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel said in March: “In every area of the federal budget, Indian programs receive less per capita than for the rest of the nation.” That will be even more so if these cuts come to pass.

This is what the Pledge to America looks like in Indian Country: Deep spending cuts; layoffs for federal and tribal employees working through federal contracts; and, if there’s no consensus from the Democrats in Congress, the potential of another government shut down.

Perhaps Indian Country is considered a necessary sacrifice because tax cuts are the all important measure of good government. Yet federal taxes are less than 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the lowest share since 1950. But that tax cut pledge is paramount, right?

Then again the word “pledge” out to be of particular interest to Indian Country. Like it or not the United States made pledges to Indian Country, such as the one to provide health care. But it’s a pledge that is easily dismissed by Republicans so eager to curb the power of the state. Some promises matter more than others.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

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What the Pledge to America means to Indian Country

( – promoted by navajo)

Trahant Reports

By Mark Trahant

We hate health care reform. The bill was too many pages, too complicated and didn’t fix all the problems right now, this minute. (One of America’s core democratic values is our impatience.)

But the why is fascinating. Many of us hate the reform bill because it went too far; but most of us are unhappy because health care reform didn’t go far enough. We wanted more action, a smarter health care system, even, more government to make our health care system work smarter.

Yet that voter angst – both for and against – set the stage for this November election and the Republicans’ Pledge to America. “In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent,” the pledge says.  (Except that some of us do give our consent.)

Elections are policy choices. And this GOP Pledge is a clear guide about what Republicans would do if given power. There are significant implications for Indian Country in this document (even though American Indians and Alaska Natives aren’t mentioned at all).

The Pledge says: “Because the new health care law kills jobs, raises taxes, and increases the cost of health care, we will immediately take action to repeal this law.”

But if that were to happen it would mean the repeal of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. That law was just made permanent after nearly a decade of congressional inaction to reauthorize the 1976 act. This act was both symbolic and practical, setting the course for many improvements in the Indian health system ranging from improved funding to better training and recruitment.

Of course it won’t be easy to repeal the health care bill. The bar is set high: Republicans would have to round up enough votes to beat a presidential veto, a two-thirds majority. So the Pledge outlines a back up plan: ” We will fight efforts to fund the costly new health care law.”

The Pledge promises to return federal spending to 2008 levels. The Indian Health Service budget was $3.35 billion that year; in fiscal year 2011 the president is requesting $4.4 billion. That’s nearly a 24 percent cut in existing services at IHS. (That does not include the additional money spent from the stimulus funds that would also be eliminated.)

The problem is these look like big numbers: Four point four billion dollars! But it’s not news to Indian Country to report that the Indian Health Service is already underfunded. We’re talking about an agency that spends less per patient than any other health care system in America, including federal prisons.

The Pledge to America would roll back all government spending to 2008 levels in education, at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that would impact tribal contracts for those same programs. As National Congress of American Indians President Jefferson Keel said in March: “In every area of the federal budget, Indian programs receive less per capita than for the rest of the nation.” That will be even more so if these cuts come to pass.

This is what the Pledge to America looks like in Indian Country: Deep spending cuts; layoffs for federal and tribal employees working through federal contracts; and, if there’s no consensus from the Democrats in Congress, the potential of another government shut down.

Perhaps Indian Country is considered a necessary sacrifice because tax cuts are the all important measure of good government. Yet federal taxes are less than 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the lowest share since 1950. But that tax cut pledge is paramount, right?

Then again the word “pledge” out to be of particular interest to Indian Country. Like it or not the United States made pledges to Indian Country, such as the one to provide health care. But it’s a pledge that is easily dismissed by Republicans so eager to curb the power of the state. Some promises matter more than others.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

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Do Indian Country Voters have the president’s back?

By any objective measure Barack Obama has been the most engaged and effective president on American Indian issues since at least since Richard Nixon. You could even make the case that Obama is better than Nixon because there has been so much successful legislation and Executive Branch action in less than two years.

A quick review of the Obama record:

• A summit with elected tribal leaders where the president and cabinet members held a town hall. Immediately after the meeting the Office of Management and Budget was charged with the task of improving the government-to-government consultation process;

• Enactment of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act as a permanent statue;

• A significant number of key appointments of Native Americans at the White House, cabinet agencies, even the Interior Department’s chief legal counsel;

• Increased budgets at the Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs plus a sizeable slice – some $3 billion – of stimulus fund money that were directed at Indian Country.

I could go on and on with the real results from this administration.  (If you need a contrast, remember the frozen glare of President Bush when I asked him about tribal sovereignty or what it was like when the entire budget for urban Indian health programs was to be “zeroed out.”)

As Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk said at Taos Pueblo this past weekend: The president has been communicating to Indian Country with his heart and soul. He quoted Candidate Obama saying: “I promise you, as long as I serve as President of the United States, you will not be forgotten.”

That promise has exceeded expectations. So with this kind of record you would think the election ahead would be exciting. Indian Country has a stake – a huge stake – in the success of President Obama and that means supporting and electing candidates that will back his agenda.

Indian Country ought to have the president’s back.

Two years ago there was a massive effort to educate, register, and get American Indian and Alaska Native voters to the poll. In states like Montana there were speakers, special dances at powwows and a sustained effort to win. That same sort of effort is needed more than ever if the candidates who support the president are to have any chance of at all.

Kalyn Free, president and founder of the Indigenous Democratic Network – or INDN’s List – says tribes and individuals are not coming up with enough money. She sees great opportunities during this election cycle, with 29 Native American candidates in 11 states representing, 18 tribes. “Put a $100,000 into INDN’s List and we could change the world,” Free says.

Consider the statewide candidates: Navajo Chris Deschene, the Democratic Party nominee for Secretary of State for Arizona. This is the state’s stepping-stone to governor. In Alaska, Diane Benson is the party’s nominee for Lt. Gov. And, in Oklahoma, Steve Burrage, a Choctaw, is running for election as state auditor.

Then this election is not just about gains, but it’s also about mitigating losses. It would be all too easy to watch so much recent progress evaporate. One race that captures the essence of that concern is in Washington state. Sen. Claudia Kauffman, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe, is the number one target of the state Republican Party.  She has demonstrated (also in a short period of time) what it means to have Native Americans in elective office with such successes as an education reform bill that was signed into law by the governor or significant work on behalf of American Indian foster children.

The national story about this off-year election has already been about the Tea Party and the voter anger that’s demanding a different kind of government. But there is another story; the one about how the Obama administration has done what it said it would do for the nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native communities. It would be a shame for that story to drift off without an ending because not enough people organized, invested money in candidates or voted.

Indian Country needs to step up and protect the president’s back.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

Posted in Uncategorized

Do Indian Country Voters have the president’s back?

( – promoted by navajo)

Trahant Reports

================================================

================================================

By Mark Trahant

By any objective measure Barack Obama has been the most engaged and effective president on American Indian issues since at least since Richard Nixon. You could even make the case that Obama is better than Nixon because there has been so much successful legislation and Executive Branch action in less than two years.

A quick review of the Obama record:

[bullet points continued below]

  • A significant number of key appointments of Native Americans at the White House, cabinet agencies, even the Interior Department’s chief legal counsel;
  • Increased budgets at the Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs plus a sizeable slice – some $3 billion – of stimulus fund money that were directed at Indian Country.

I could go on and on with the real results from this administration.  (If you need a contrast, remember the frozen glare of President Bush when I asked him about tribal sovereignty or what it was like when the entire budget for urban Indian health programs was to be “zeroed out.”)

As Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk said at Taos Pueblo this past weekend: The president has been communicating to Indian Country with his heart and soul. He quoted Candidate Obama saying: “I promise you, as long as I serve as President of the United States, you will not be forgotten.”

That promise has exceeded expectations. So with this kind of record you would think the election ahead would be exciting. Indian Country has a stake – a huge stake – in the success of President Obama and that means supporting and electing candidates that will back his agenda.

Indian Country ought to have the president’s back.

Two years ago there was a massive effort to educate, register, and get American Indian and Alaska Native voters to the poll. In states like Montana there were speakers, special dances at powwows and a sustained effort to win. That same sort of effort is needed more than ever if the candidates who support the president are to have any chance of at all.

Kalyn Free, president and founder of the Indigenous Democratic Network – or INDN’s List – says tribes and individuals are not coming up with enough money. She sees great opportunities during this election cycle, with 29 Native American candidates in 11 states representing, 18 tribes. “Put a $100,000 into INDN’s List and we could change the world,” Free says.

Consider the statewide candidates: Navajo Chris Deschene, the Democratic Party nominee for Secretary of State for Arizona. This is the state’s stepping-stone to governor. In Alaska, Diane Benson is the party’s nominee for Lt. Gov. And, in Oklahoma, Steve Burrage, a Choctaw, is running for election as state auditor.

Then this election is not just about gains, but it’s also about mitigating losses. It would be all too easy to watch so much recent progress evaporate. One race that captures the essence of that concern is in Washington state. Sen. Claudia Kauffman, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe, is the number one target of the state Republican Party.  She has demonstrated (also in a short period of time) what it means to have Native Americans in elective office with such successes as an education reform bill that was signed into law by the governor or significant work on behalf of American Indian foster children.

The national story about this off-year election has already been about the Tea Party and the voter anger that’s demanding a different kind of government. But there is another story; the one about how the Obama administration has done what it said it would do for the nation’s American Indian and Alaska Native communities. It would be a shame for that story to drift off without an ending because not enough people organized, invested money in candidates or voted.

Indian Country needs to step up and protect the president’s back.

================================================

================================================

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s new book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

A note to editors & bloggers that repurpose or repackage this copy: I file regular Monday commentary on a variety of topics under “Trahant Reports.” The material is free for you to use in any form that is helpful. It is not copyrighted.

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 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

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