Column: Native voters play role in national election
"Wealth means political influence in the United States, and the new wealth coming in from the gaming industry is making some tribes wealthy.

While small in numbers, the influence of Native Americans is being felt with increasing strength as we head into the U.S. presidential election.

Republican candidate Jon McCain has a long history with Native Americans.

He sat on the U.S. Senate's Indian Affairs committee for about two decades and served as its chair in 2005-06. According to some leaders, McCain spent more time on regulations for Indian casinos and not enough on health care and other pressing social issues.

According to J. Kurt Luger, executive director of the Great Plains Indian gaming association, McCain had no major victories to claim during his tenure as its chair. "He put forward a piece of legislation that would have added more burdensome regulation to our gaming industry at a time when our federal funding was at its lowest point," notes Luger.

But McCain has refused to accept campaign donations from tribal governments, saying they should be spending their money on meeting the needs of Native Americans, not those of politicians.

The Barack Obama campaign, however, is accepting tribal donations."

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Doug Cuthand: Natives play role in U.S. election (The Regina Leader-Post 9/2)