indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
McCain and Obama deliver video messages to NCAI
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Filed Under: Politics

Sen. Barack Obama at National Congress of American Indians 65th annual convention. Phoenix, Arizona. October 21, 2008.
With just two weeks before the November 4 presidential election, John McCain and Barack Obama made an appeal to Indian voters on Tuesday as they head into final stretch of the campaign.

Both candidates were invited to attend the 65th annual National Congress of American Indians convention, held in McCain's base state of Arizona. Neither appeared in person but they sent video messages and colleagues to Phoenix to press thousands of tribal leaders and tribal members for support.

Though their campaigns have taken great steps to outline their differences, McCain and Obama promised the same thing: a high-level Indian position at the White House. Currently, tribes must deal with an official who also works with state and local governments.

"We must never again get in the situation where the federal government dictates solutions to the problems you confront," McCain said in his message. "I will create a tribal government position in intergovernmental affairs."

"I'll make sure tribal nations have a voice in the White House," said Obama. "I'll appoint an American Indian policy advisor to my senior White House staff to work with tribes and will host an annual summit at the White House with tribal leaders to come up with an agenda that works for tribal communities."

Both candidates have stressed their respect for tribal sovereignty and support for self-determination but Indian Country has come out in larger forces for Obama despite McCain's two terms as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. More than 100 tribal leaders from South Dakota to New Mexico to Alabama have endorsed Obama while only a few have come out publicly for McCain.

Obama racked up some more endorsements yesterday with the passage of a resolution by the Navajo Nation Council. Delegates voted 59 to 21 to support the freshman senator from Illinois and his running mate, Joe Biden of Delaware.

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. previously endorsed Obama and Biden, giving the duo the backing of the largest tribe in the country. Shirley and other Navajo Nation leaders are hosting a press conference in Phoenix today to discuss their support.

"Joe Biden and I look forward to working with the Navajo Nation and all of Indian Country to bring about the change we need," Obama said today.

The message from McCain at NCAI was the first time he has talked about Indian issues on the campaign trail except for a brief mention of tribes during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Though he is no stranger to American Indians and Alaska Natives, due to his 25 years of service in the House and the Senate, he has not visited any reservations during the race or disclosed meetings with tribal leaders.

The American Indians for McCain Coalition finally got off the ground in September, during the RNC, with some high-profile names. The group's honorary co-chairs are Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma who is the only Native American in Congress, and former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana who retired in 2004.

By that time, however, Obama had developed a bigger base in Indian Country with First Americans for Obama. He took his campaign to the Crow Reservation in Montana -- a first during the presidential race -- and had already met with tribal leaders across the nation long before he claimed the Democratic nomination in June.

Obama met with even more tribal leaders only a month ago in New Mexico, after formally accepting his party's nod. And while he failed to live up to a pledge to appear at a tribal event that prominent Democratic activist Kalyn Free, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, tried to organize, he has maintained his position as the candidate of choice for Indian voters.

In contrast, McCain has largely remained invisible to tribes. In recent interviews with Indian Country Today, Campbell lamented McCain's failure to organize a tribal event and said Republican organizers failed to contact him in time to discuss Indian issues at the RNC.

But even if McCain hasn't spent much time with tribes during the race, Campbell and other supporters are hoping Indian voters will remember the candidate for sponsoring nearly every major piece of Indian legislation during the late 1980s and 1990s. The list includes the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 and a number of self-determination and self-governance measures in the mid-1990s, along with laws affecting tribal colleges, education and Native languages.

His second stint as chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee from January 2005 through December 2006 saw a lot of media attention due to his focus on the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal and controversial issues associated with Indian gaming. But no major pieces of legislation passed Congress during that time and McCain didn't lend any support to two big ticket items on the agenda this year -- the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act, only the latter of which became law.

McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), whose husband Todd is part Yup'ik, as his running generated a lot of initial interest but it fizzled after reports of her less than close relationship with Alaska Natives spread throughout Indian Country. Julie Kitka, the president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, accused McCain's campaign of smearing a well-respected Native official in a recent opinion piece. Palin is due to speak at AFN's annual convention later this week.

Related Stories:
Deron Marquez: McCain's actions matter more (10/22)
Village 'ticked off' with Gov. Palin over mine (10/22)
NCAI opens 65th annual convention in Arizona (10/21)
Gov. Palin on schedule for AFN annual convention (10/21)
Todd Palin's grandmother happy to campaign (10/20)
Alaska Natives feel neglected by their governor (10/20)
Indian 'Obamacans' ditch GOP for Sen. Obama (10/17)
Backers cite Sen. McCain's Indian Country history (10/17)
Sen. McCain to deliver video message at NCAI (10/15)



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

Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
Ho-Chunk Nation extends agreement for off-reservation casino (3/27)
Indiana lawmakers seek role in Pokagon Band gaming compact (3/27)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
House panel backs bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (3/26)
Quapaw Tribe did not include casino on land-into-trust request (3/26)
Chumash Tribe never got apology for diplomat's casino remark (3/26)
Governor won't sign casino compact with Fort Sill Apache Tribe (3/26)
Cherokee Nation approves $6.9M renovation project for casino (3/26)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux veteran training for Paralympics (3/25)
Alaska Native musher Chuck Schaeffer completes 2015 Iditarod (3/25)
LTBB News: Michigan tribes come together for historic meeting (3/25)
Lecture focuses on repatriation of tribal intellectual properties (3/25)
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
Sen. Barrasso to chair field hearing on drugs in Indian Country (3/25)
Bill for tribal marijuana compacts up for hearing in Washington (3/25)
Choctaw Nation chief hopes to travel to Ireland for monument (3/25)
HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (3/25)
Eastern Cherokees work to teach language to new generations (3/25)
Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
Man from Crow Tribe cites self-defense in fatal casino shooting (3/25)
Shawnee Tribe sees opposition to off-reservation gaming plan (3/25)
Navajo Nation signs Class III casino compact with New Mexico (3/25)
Quapaw Tribe insists a casino isn't focus of Arkansas land plan (3/25)
Suquamish Tribe reaches deal to allow highway work at casino (3/25)
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.