Jodi Rave: Montana tribal leaders back Obama

"Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign in Montana kicked up its outreach efforts in Indian Country on Wednesday, with the announcement of its newly unveiled Montana Native Americans for Obama steering committee.

Tribal chairmen from the Crow Nation and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are co-chairing the committee, as well as a tribal councilman from the Chippewa Cree Tribe.

The steering committee includes members from all seven reservations in Montana, urban areas and the Little Shell band.

“Federal prisoners of this country receive better health care than Indians,” said Crow Nation Chairman Carl Venne. “That's not right.”

Venne said two of the greatest concerns in tribal communities are affordable health care and education. He noted that Obama co-sponsored the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to provide an additional $1 billion for the Indian Health Service to address problems facing Native communities.

“Obama also understands that quality education is the key to empowering tribal nations to build a better future. ... We cannot survive as Indian tribes if we're not educated,” said Venne.

He is among two tribal chairmen in Montana to endorse Obama. Chairman James Steele of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has also pledged his support."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Obama campaign unveils Native committee (The Missoulian 4/24)

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