White House wonders why Indians not receptive

The White House and the Bush administration don't think Indian Country likes them, a prominent tribal leader and Republican tells Native reporter Jodi Rave Lee.

"I've heard over the last four years the question from the White House: ‘Why is it the Indians don't like us, or don't seem to be responsive to what we're doing for them?'" Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe in Washington, says.

Allen say one explanation can be found in how the Republican Party treats American Indians and Alaska Natives. "We try to keep telling them because you're not reaching out to them. You're not doing anything. You're providing us rhetoric," he says.

That's one reason why Allen has endorsed the Democratic ticket of Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards. "The Democratic Party has made a few of those opportunities available. The Republican Party hasn't," he says. "So we as tribal leaders need to challenge both parties to gear those staffs up."

John Gonzales, former governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico and former president of the National Congress of American Indians, doesn't see it that way. He says the party has been supportive of Indians. Gonzales is running for public office this year.

"You've never had an Indian person run for a statewide office on the Democratic Party. Why is that? The Republican Party was the first to put a candidate forward, that was two years ago," he says.

Get the Story:
Native people still struggling to reach upper echelon in mainstream politics (Lee Enterprises 10/23)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave Lee - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave