Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence at the Republican National Convention in July 2016. Photo: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.
National | Politics

Donald Trump touts Indian Country supporters but offers no policy





With just days left before the November 8 election and more than 16 months after launching his campaign, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has finally lined up some Indian Country supporters.

But while the Native American Coalition vowed to help the real estate mogul secure victory next week, Trump did not say what he would actually do for Indian Country if he wins. Instead, supporters spoke in general terms of the need to ease federal regulations.

"The daily flood of new federal regulations keep Indian Country from becoming self-sufficient," said Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Cherokee Nation who is chairing the new group. "Local tribal decisions, not federal bureaucrats, are the best way to improve our communities."

"As both an enrolled member of Cherokee Nation and a Member of Congress, I will stand with Donald Trump in supporting tribal sovereignty and reining in federal overregulation," Mullin added.

The lack of any goals, promises or policies in the announcement stands in contrast to that of Trump's Democratic rival. Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton offered a much more concrete vision of the steps she would take to respect and promote tribal sovereignty.

And the new coalition pales in comparison to the list of prominent tribal leaders, activists and citizens who are supporting Clinton. Besides Mullin -- who has acknowledged playing down his Indian heritage during his Congressional campaigns -- Trump's group consists of only a few recognizable names.

And not all of the names inspire confidence. One of the co-chairs is Ross Swimmer, another Cherokee citizen who endures widespread scorn throughout Indian Country because of his tenure at the Bureau of Indian Affairs during the Reagan administration and his work at the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians during the Bush years.

Another co-chair is Eddie Tullis, the treasurer and former chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. While he is generally respected among his peers, his defense of a huge casino expansion on sacred ground in Alabama has undermined his influence and hurt his stature.

And even though Mullin, who is running for re-election, insisted that he would "stand with Donald Trump in supporting tribal sovereignty" he voted against the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. The historic law recognizes the "inherent" authority of tribes to prosecute non-Indians who abuse their domestic partners.

The final co-chair of Trump's Native American Coalition is Sharon Clachischillage, a member of the Navajo Nation who serves as a lawmaker in New Mexico. The honorary co-chair is Fleming Begaye, Sr., who served as a Navajo Code Talker during World War II.

“Native Americans need a federal government that gets out of the way of small business," Begaye said in the announcement. "As an independent and a successful small businessman, I crossed the line this week and voted for Mr. Trump.”

The list of Donald Trump's Native American supporters, with more promised in the coming days, follows:
Native American Coalition:
Chair: U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee), Oklahoma
Honorary Chair: Fleming Begaye, Sr., Navajo Code Talker (Navajo), Arizona

Co-Chairs:
New Mexico State Representative Sharon Clachischillage (Navajo), New Mexico
The Honorable Ross Swimmer(Cherokee), Oklahoma
Former Poarch Band of Creek Indian Chairman Eddie Tullis (Poarch Band Creek), Alabama

Members of the Coalition:
Debra Kilgore, Alabama
Amy Begay, Arizona
Gloria Esquerra, Arizona
Trenton Nez, Arizona
Tanya Yazzie, Arizona
Laurie Everidge, California
Dawn Ishcomer, California
Rene Keener, California
Gregory Licht, California
Jody (Everidge) Robison, California
Darrick Woolever, California
Diane Woolever, California
Charles “Charlie” Cheek, Florida
Michael Harrison, Florida
Joann Whitaker, Florida
Billy Kirkland, Georgia
Aaron Barnard, Indiana
Anita Henry, Michigan
Steven Morello, Michigan
Tom Yazzie, Minnesota
Laurel Eckert, Missouri
Danny Nez, New Mexico
Megan Tsosie, New Mexico
Alice Mae Yazzie, New Mexico
Martin Graves, New York
McDuffie Cummings, North Carolina
James Sherbaugh, Jr., Ohio
Samuel “Dutch” Hillenburg, Virginia
Lynn Armitage, Wisconsin

Related Stories:
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe moves to cut ties with pipeline investors (11/02)
Interior Department highlights achievements of Cobell buy-back program (11/01)
Trump avoided paying taxes on hundreds of millions in casino debt (11/1)
Republican Donald Trump invested in Dakota Access Pipeline (10/27)
Steve Russell: The magic of Donald Trump's 'plan' for America (10/26)
Dakota Access Pipeline CEO is a top donor to Republican Donald Trump (10/25)
Mark Trahant: Native candidates benefit from Clinton landslide (10/25)
Donald Trump embraces big energy projects like Dakota Access Pipeline (10/24)
John Leguizamo: Who was 'mistreating indigenous people' first? (10/21)
Utah group aims to elevate Native issues in an unusual election (10/20)
Editorial: Republicans in South Dakota embrace Monster Trump (10/19)
Delphine Red Shirt: Women face dangers in this world every day (10/18)
Mark Trahant: A Democratic House isn't a long shot thanks to Donald Trump (10/17)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump continues to grope for more votes (10/17)
Lynn Armitage: Why this Native woman supports Donald Trump (10/17)
Mark Trahant: Native Republican won't abandon Donald Trump (10/14)
Republicans in South Dakota change their tune on Donald Trump (10/13)
APTN ties Donald Trump's 1993 smear to rebuff by California tribe (10/12)
Tribal leaders and advocates slam Donald Trump as NCAI opens annual convention (10/11)
Sen. John McCain doesn't want more 'liberal' justices on Supreme Court (10/11)
Top GOP lawmaker abandons Donald Trump ahead of election (10/11)
Native Republicans in Congress silent as party abandons Trump (10/10)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump is disqualified from the presidency (10/10)
Robin Annette LaDue: The ugly truth of Republican Donald Trump (10/10)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Donald Trump brings racism out into the open (10/06)
School district on reservation in Montana condemns racist pro-Trump tshirts (10/03)
Ryan Winn: Donald Trump owes an apology to the first Americans (09/12)
Steve Russell: Getting into the White House is still political science (09/02)
Donald Trump picks Navajo man for agriculture advisory committee (08/22)
Indian Country advocate heads up Hillary Clinton's transition team (8/17)
Republican vice presidential pick Mike Pence hosts town hall at Sandia Pueblo (08/16)
Steve Russell: Donald Trump will hurt Indian Country on purpose (08/16)
Tribes left out of Republican effort to transfer public land to states (8/16)
Mark Trahant: Are there even any Republicans in Indian Country? (08/15)
Opinion: The media ignores another 'off the reservation' comment (08/15)
Charles Trimble: Tough women like Hillary Clinton deserve a chance (08/11)
End of an era nears with final White House Tribal Nations Conference (08/09)
Charles Trimble: Tribal nations must join together for Hillary Clinton (08/02)
Editorial: Donald Trump would force Black Hills settlement on tribes (08/02)
John McCain denounces Donald Trump but won't withdraw support (08/01)
Bryan Newland: Donald Trump's radical view of federal Indian law (07/29)
Tim Giago: Questioning the motto of GOP candidate Donald Trump (07/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Donald Trump and his campaign of hatred (07/25)
Mark Charles: The entire nation's problem with Donald Trump (07/22)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump promises a world with no treaties (07/22)
Donald Trump closes Republican convention that left out Indian Country (07/22)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump's Republican convention is one big failure (07/21)
Tribal lobbyist not buying Donald Trump's message of change (07/21)
Donald Trump officially named Republican presidential nominee (07/20)
Republicans unveil platform and project inclusion at convention (7/19)
Mark Trahant: Trump Republicans carry the banner for more coal (7/18)
Navajo artist Vanessa Bowen takes on Donald Trump with 'Make America Native Again' (07/12)
Democrats embrace tribal sovereignty in platform for convention (07/08)
Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation slams Donald Trump for 'bigoted' attacks (07/07)
Mark Trahant: Republican candidates play hide the stick with Donald Trump on the ticket (07/06)
Ramapough Lunaape Nation blames Donald Trump for lack of federal status (07/05)
Mainstream media tunes into Trump's attacks on Indian gaming (7/4)
Donald Trump approved Indian gaming attack ads in New York (6/30)
Donald Trump rehashes 'Pocahontas' slur as Elizabeth Warren hits road for Hillary Clinton (06/28)
Donald Trump fares poorly against Hillary Clinton in national poll (06/27)
Leaders of three tribes meet Donald Trump during Arizona stop (06/20)
Navajo Republicans divided on Donald Trump's 'Pocahontas' slur (06/17)
Republicans slam Trump's 'racist' comments but still support him (06/08)
Sen. Barrasso to chair platform committee for GOP convention (05/25)
Donald Trump claims 'Jack Abrahamoff scandal' proves he was right about tribes (05/23)
Donald Trump's long and strained relationship with Indian gaming (05/19)
Donald Trump releases list of potential Supreme Court nominees (05/18)
Mark Trahant: Indian Republican Tom Cole backs Donald Trump (05/18)
Sen. Warren stands up to Donald Trump despite his 'Indian' insults (05/10)
Mark Trahant: Donald Trump brings good news to Native candidates (05/09)
Cowlitz Tribe hosted Donald Trump to discuss his interest in casino (05/09)
Donald Trump advisor filed lawsuit to stop transfer of dam to tribe (04/20)
Donald Trump tried to bully his way into New York tribe's casino bid (04/18)
Backer of Republican Donald Trump described Indians as 'filthy' (04/12)
Donald Trump again derides Sen. Elizabeth Warren as 'the Indian' (03/22)
Donald Trump once claimed IGRA and tribal casinos were illegal (01/29)
Cowlitz Tribe turned down Donald Trump for gaming partnership (10/05)
Donald Trump not shy with invoking race when it comes to tribes (07/31)