Opinion | Politics

Mark Trahant: Recalling George W. Bush's 'sovereignty' moment

"A dozen years ago the Unity Journalists of Color convention was held in Seattle. There were some 6,000 journalists in town, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Hispanic Journalists Association and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Two Republican presidential candidates – George W. Bush and John McCain – both declined an invitation to speak. But at the last moment they showed up anyway. Bush spent about 15 minutes walking around, shaking hands with what he said were “old friends.”

McCain cancelled an event in Ohio and flew to Seattle and to the meeting as well. He said in The Washington Post: “I picked up the L.A. Times and saw that GOP candidates … had decided not be here. So I rearranged my schedule.”

Meanwhile then Vice President Al Gore had a town hall on technology. I was asked to represent the NAJA and ask him a question. I think it was about access on reservations, but I can’t be sure. It went by quick.

But the encounter with presidential candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, stuck. Five years later the same Unity convention was held in Washington, D.C. And both major presidential candidates – then President George W. Bush and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry agreed to speak."

Get the Story:
Mark Trahant: My Sovereign Debate, Recalling George W. Bush’s Sovereignty Speech (Indian Country Today 10/2)

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