Kevin Abourezk: Obama and McCain on Indians

"As the Democratic nomination race edges closer to a conclusion, Native people are increasingly faced with a new question.

Should they support Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. John McCain ?

It's widely accepted that Native people vote Democratic. Most state and national Democratic politicians, from former President Bill Clinton to Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota, have enjoyed strong Native support.

That's especially true in states with significant Native populations like Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota, where Indians have often provided the swing vote for Democratic politicians seeking higher office.

Then there's McCain, an Arizona senator who has consistently defied the odds, having served as chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and proven himself a powerful voice for Native causes during his time in the Senate.

When he ran for president in 2000, McCain enjoyed significant support from tribal leaders for making Indian issues a priority in his campaign.

Impossible to dismiss as a potential White House ally to Indians, McCain will force many tribal leaders in the coming months to question exactly what Democrats have done for Native people.

For some, the answer will be simple: plenty."

Get the Story:
Kevin Abourezk: Obama, McCain Fight Will Test Indian Ideals (RezNet News 5/9)

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