Gov. Palin too busy to meet with tribal leaders
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) has been in office nearly two years but still hasn't met with the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, Chairman Mike Williams said.

Williams, who is Yup'ik, said he's been asking Palin for a meeting since December 2006. "She's so busy that she doesn't have time for the tribes. There needs to be respect and a dialogue," Williams told the Associated Press.

Palin has made several missteps on Native issues since taking office. In February, she failed to re-appoint a Native to an important state board and instead chose a non-Native who opposed Native subsistence rights.

The Alaska Federation of Natives said three candidates it recommended were never considered by Palin. She eventually appointed a Native person after tribal leaders complained.

"In a state like Alaska, how can you not be aware of how not reappointing a Native is going to play? At best, she's naive," Duke University political science professor Paula McClain, who went to high school in Alaska, told the AP.

In July, Palin fired Walt Monegan, who was the first Native to serve as the state's public safety commissioner. She replaced him with a non-Native who had to step down because he had been accused of sexual harassment. She ended up appointing a Native person for the post.

Palin also continued to challenge Native subsistence rights but lost a case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

Palin is the Republican vice presidential nominee. Native supporters have played up her husband's Native heritage.

Get the Story:
Alaska Natives question Palin's support (AP 9/29)

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