Joe Biden Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tours the American Indian Veterans Memorial at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, with tribal leaders on October 8, 2020. Photo by Adam Schultz / Biden for President
Rodney Bordeaux: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for Indian Country
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Indianz.Com

The following is the text of an October 15, 2020, endorsement letter from President Rodney Bordeaux of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

Re: Rosebud Sioux Tribe Endorsement of Biden—Harris; Native American Issues

Dear Joe and Kamala:

On behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I write to endorse you as America’s next President and Vice President. From the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, we are counting on you to win the election for President and Vice President and we will do all we can to support you!

We must Restore American Values. For us, that means America must be a True Democracy with Voting Rights for all Americans, including Native Americans. For too many years, our Native American people have suffered violations of our voting rights. We trust you to stand up for American voting rights, including Native American voting rights!

We must restore Environmental Justice. For too long, environmental polluters have degraded our Sioux Nation treaty lands and waterways. We thank you for pledging to stop the KXL Pipeline. We call upon you to review the DAPL Pipeline, which evaded the requisite legal reviews for environmental protection and threatens our drinking water. We will join with you to protect Grandmother Earth, address Climate Change, and build a Green Energy industry and stop the extinction of Native plants, birds and animals.

Rodney M. Bordeaux serves as president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, an Indian nation based in South Dakota. Photo: State Farm

We trust you to restore the White House Council on Native American Affairs and we call upon you to raise up the White House Council on Native Nations by codifying the Council, with the Vice President as Chair, the full Cabinet as Council Members, quarterly meetings among the Council and Bi-Annual Meetings with the President. The White House Native Nations Council should have equal dignity with the Council of Economic Advisors and Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. We also need to stop the Trump BIA and IHS Reorganization and elevate our Federal positions to Deputy Secretary for Indian Nations at Interior, Deputy Secretary for Native American Health at HHS, Associate Deputy Attorney General for Indian Country Law Enforcement, Assistant Secretary for Finance, Trade, and Tax Policy at Treasury, and Associate Deputy Director at OMB for Tribal Budgets.

We must restore Tribal Lands. Forty years ago, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the U.S. taking of our 1851 and 1868 Treaty Lands in the Black Hills violated the U.S. Constitution and our Treaties. In short, the United States broke the law, yet there has been no real effort to meet with our Sioux Nation tribes to discuss the return of our lands in the Black Hills. As our next President, we ask you to issue an Executive Order to:

• Direct the Secretary of the Interior and USDA to identify surplus lands that can be immediately returned to the Sioux Nation; and

• Contract with the Sioux Nation to administer Wind Cave National Park, our Sacred Place of Origin, Black Elk Wilderness through Public Law 93-638 Contracts, and other sacred sites; and

• Appoint our Sioux Nation people to Administrative Posts to Oversee the Protection of Our Black Hills lands; and

• Establish a Blue Ribbon Presidential Commission composed of our Elected Tribal Leaders, Traditional Leaders, and Experts to address our Black Hills Treaty Rights to work out a Full, Fair, and Mutually Agreed Approach to Address the Supreme Court Judgment for the Sioux Nation;

We know you are committed to ending the National COVID-19 Pandemic and Economic Crisis through a National Plan, including Masks, PPE, innovative medicines, and Health Care support. Among our Indian nations, our Indian Health Service has for decades been funded at 25% of the annual Medicaid and Medicare per patient health care expenditures. You know our Indian nations need better health care, and you have pledged to support us. We call upon you to provide infrastructure funding for new Hospitals and Health Clinics.

We pledge to work with you to restore Tribal Law Enforcement, Justice, and Public Safety to national standards, with necessary reforms. For us, Police Reform includes Traditional Akicita Peace-Keepers and Restorative Justice. As Native Peoples, with our Community Justice Traditions, we can assist you as you seek to replace current police practices with community peace-makers.

We need a complete overhaul of Indian Education. Our Schools have not been properly maintained or replaced for generations, and we need a Marshall program for Indian students. We need your help to give our Native children an equal education opportunity.

Vice President Biden, Senator Harris, we know that you have True Hearts and Good Minds to Restore the Soul of America. We must all come together as Americans, and we pledge to work with you to do so when you are elected.

You have the full endorsement of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

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