Sen. John McCain
(R-Arizona) surprised the nation by announcing little-known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
(R) as his running mate on Friday.
Palin is under investigation in Alaska for her abrupt firing of Walt Monegan, the state's first Alaska Native public safety commissioner. He said he was repeatedly pressured by Palin's aides and members of her family -- including her husband, Todd, who is Alaska Native -- to fire a state trooper who was married to Palin's younger sister.
Sarah Palin has denied wrongdoing and Todd Palin said he never asked Monegan to fire the trooper.
Having served as governor for less than two years, Palin does not have a major record on Alaska Native issues. Earlier this year, she failed to re-appoint the only Native on the state Board of Game
and instead chose someone who opposed Native subsistence rights.
Alaska Natives protested the move and Palin ended up appointing another Native when her original pick dropped out.
Palin's administration is suing the Interior Department
for its decision
to list the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered
. Alaska Natives link climate change to the loss of habitat for animals like the polar bear.
Palin supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
, where Arctic Slope Regional Corp.
, an Alaska Native regional corporation, owns mineral rights. ASRC supports development but the Gwich'in Nation is opposed out of fear it will hurt caribou in the refuge.
Palin is the first woman to run on the Republican presidential ticket though she was preceded by Geraldine Ferraro, who ran for vice president for the Democrats in 1984, and Winona LaDuke
(Ojibwe), who ran for vice president for the Green Party
in 1996 and 2000. Sen Hillary Clinton
(D-New York) ran for president this year.
Get the Story:
Democrats Say Palin Initially Backed Bridge
(The Washington Post 9/1)
Account of a Bridge’s Death Slightly Exaggerated
(The New York Times 8/31)
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