Republican Party Platform on Native Americans

The following is the section on Native Americans included in the 2004 Republican Party Platform.

Native Americans

The federal government has a special responsibility, ethical and legal, to make the American dream accessible to Native Americans. Unfortunately, the resources that the United States holds in trust for them, financial and otherwise, have been misused and abused. While many tribes have become energetic participants in the mainstream of American life, the serious social ills afflicting some reservations have been worsened by decades of mismanagement from Washington. In its place, we offer these guiding principles:

• Tribal governments are best situated to gauge the needs of their communities and members.
• Political self-determination and economic self-sufficiency are twin pillars of an effective Indian policy.
• Private sector initiatives, rather than public assistance, can best improve material conditions in Indian communities.
• High taxes and unreasonable regulations stifle new and expanded businesses and thwart the creation of job opportunities and prosperity.

We will continue to work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make the tribal recognition process more transparent. We will strengthen Native American self-determination by respecting tribal sovereignty, encouraging economic development on Native lands, and working with them to reorganize the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service. We applaud President Bush for keeping his promise to eliminate within five years the maintenance and repairs backlog afflicting Indian schools. This promise will be achieved in only four years with funding in the 2005 budget. We support efforts to provide higher quality health care through the Indian Health Service. We uphold the unique government-to-government relationship between the tribes and the United States and honor our nation’s trust obligations to them. We support efforts to ensure equitable participation in federal programs by Native Americans, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians and to preserve their cultures and languages.

In an age of new threats, we recognize the critical role tribes play in securing our homeland and contributing to our national defense. We honor the sacrifices made by Native Americans serving in the military today. They are upholding the high ideal of service on behalf of liberty. We will ensure that Indian veterans receive the care and respect they have earned through their service to America.