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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Ted Kennedy steps aside for health


"Sen. Edward M. Kennedy jumped into American Indian issues with zeal after his brother, Bobby, was assassinated. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy had used the Indian Education Subcommittee as his platform during his extensive travels across Indian Country with the anti-poverty tour.

A young Ted Kennedy wrote in Look Magazine that RFK “saw, as I have seen, the resilience of the Indian way of life, a way of life that has for many generations resisted destruction despite government blunders that almost seem designed to stamp it out.”

In October 1969 Kennedy attended the National Congress of American Indians meeting in Albuquerque and called for the establishment of Select Committee on Human Needs of the American Indians in the U.S. Senate. The young senator blasted away at the Nixon administration. “We need no more presidential task forces. We need no more buck passing; we know where the blame lies,” the Albuquerque Journal quoted him telling the delegates. “We need no more empty promises; we know they are empty.”

A few months later Kennedy joined Bobby’s widow, Ethel, at an NCAI banquet. He promised to champion the native cause and to turn to American Indians because self-determination is the best solution."

Get the Story:
When a step aside was ‘a godsend’ (Mark Trahant 8/31)

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