your internet resource on facebook on twitter on Google+ on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
The University of Tulsa College of Law - Master's in Indian Law
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Obama addresses minority journalists at UNITY
Monday, July 28, 2008
Filed Under: Politics

Addressing a crowd of minority journalists on Sunday, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) promised to help tribes create a "better life" for their people if he is elected president.

Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, told attendees of the UNITY convention in Chicago that Native Americans are "doing worse than any other population" in the United States. He cited a lack of health care, housing, education and employment opportunities in Indian Country.

"I have to confess that I'm more concerned about delivering a better life and creating a better relationship with the Native American peoples than anything else," Obama said. "And that's what I want to engage tribal leaders in making sure happens."

Obama said he wants the federal government to acknowledge the "tragic history" of Native Americans. He said he would consult with tribes to determine what an apology might look like.

"You know, what an official apology would look like, how it would be shaped, that's something that I would want to consult with Native American tribes and councils to talk about, and -- because, obviously, as sovereign nations, they also have a whole host of other issues that they're concerned about and that they've prioritized," said Obama.

In February, the Senate passed the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which contains an official apology to Native peoples for their treatment by the government. Obama, however, was not present for the vote.

Neither was Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the presumptive Republican nominee. McCain, the former chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, also skipped the UNITY convention, citing scheduling conflicts.

More recently, Obama and McCain failed to show up for a July 16 vote on a $50 billion global health bill that includes $2 billion for Indian Country. The package awaits President Bush's signature.

Since the start of their campaigns, Obama and McCain have reached out to Indian voters. Although McCain has more experience due to his years in the Senate, Obama has won endorsements from a significant number of tribal leaders and was the first candidate to visit a reservation during the presidential cycle.

McCain and Obama share similar views on tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship. But Obama's platform goes further on a number of issues, including support for restoration of tribal jurisdiction over non-Indians, which McCain has called "too controversial" to be considered.

The candidates also differ on affirmative action. On Sunday, McCain said he supported a proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution that would ban "preferential treatment" on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

"I do not believe in quotas," McCain said on the ABC News program This Week With George Stephanopoulos. "But I have not seen the details of some of these proposals. But I've always opposed quotas."

ABC News called McCain's stance a reversal of one he took in 1998 and Obama said his rival "flipped and changed his position" on the issue. "I am a strong supporter of affirmative action when properly structured so that it is not just a quota," Obama said at UNITY when he was asked about McCain's views.

The Arizona proposal has been criticized by Indian educators because it could eliminate programs at public universities that benefit Indian students.

The UNITY convention is held every four years and draws upwards of 10,000 Native American, African-American, Asian and Hispanic journalists. During the 2004 conference, President Bush elicited laughter when he was unable to articulate the meaning of tribal sovereignty.

Relevant Documents:
Transcript: Sen. Obama at UNITY | Transcript: Sen. Mcain on This Week

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments:
S.1200 | H.R.1328

Apology Resolution:
S.J.Res.4 | H.J.Res.3

Related Stories:
Slade Gorton raising money for Sen. McCain (7/18)
Senate approves $2B in funding for Indian Country (7/17)
Opinion: Sen. McCain doomed sacred Mount Graham (7/17)
Sen. Brownback hopeful for U.S. apology this year (7/3)
Indian Affairs Committee takes up law bill (6/16)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Indigenous activists reclaim nation's capital in defiance of Trump (4/28)
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe ends appeal in Dakota Access lawsuit (4/28)
Ute Tribe demands 'voice' as Trump orders review of Bears Ears (4/28)
Senate panel takes up bill to bring AMBER Alert funding to tribes (4/28)
Gun Lake Tribe prepares for grand opening of casino expansion (4/28)
Arne Vainio: We lost a fluent Ojibwe speaker in Larry Smallwood (4/28)
Native Sun News Today: Runners from Standing Rock head to Ohio (4/28)
James Giago Davies: People tell me it's better to read about pets (4/28)
Harold Monteau: Supreme Court stirs smelly pot of fish head stew (4/28)
Steven Newcomb: 'Picking Fights' book is a must-read for Natives (4/28)
Whiteclay liquor stores must close temporarily amid court battle (4/28)
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by Supreme Court decision (4/27)
Indigenous activists make presence known for climate march in DC (4/27)
Interior Department announces $5.7M in tribal preservation grants (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Senate candidate cites Standing Rock as 'awakening' (4/27)
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today? (4/27)
Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses (4/27)
Dakota Access firm faces fines for two spills of drilling fluid in Ohio (4/27)
Gathering of Nations gets ready for annual powwow in new venue (4/27)
Secretary Zinke lacks leadership team more than a month into job (4/27)
Republicans seek to avoid shutdown with temporary spending bill (4/27)
Supreme Court ruling seen as benefit to casino bus crash lawsuit (4/27)
Mashantucket Tribe charges off-duty officer for assault at casino (4/27)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.