Democrats Release Pro-Tribal Platform

Rob Capriccioso

The Democratic Party has released a pro-tribal platform as part of the ongoing Democratic National Convention, taking place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The main American Indian-focused part of the platform centers on supporting tribal sovereignty.

“American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are sovereign self-governing communities, with a unique government-to-government relationship with the United States,” the platform states. “President Obama and Democrats in Congress, working with tribes, have taken unprecedented steps to resolve long-standing conflicts, finally coming to a resolution on litigation—some dating back nearly 100 years—related to management of Indian trust resources, administration of loan programs, and water rights.”

The platform also lists several Obama administration achievements on behalf of Indians: “The President worked with Democrats to pass the HEARTH Act [Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act] to promote greater tribal self-determination and create jobs in Indian country. The Affordable Care Act permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to improve care for Native Americans. Democrats enacted the Tribal Law and Order Act, support expansion of the Violence Against Women Act to include greater protection for women on tribal lands, and oppose versions of the Violence Against Women Act that do not include these critical provisions.”

It promises: "We will continue to honor our treaty and trust obligations and respect cultural rights, including greater support for American Indian and Alaska Native languages. Democrats support maximizing tribal self-governance, including efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of Native Hawaiians.”

Tribes are mentioned in other parts of the document beyond the tribal sovereignty section, including the small business and education sections, although there is less mention of tribes and Indians throughout the 2012 platform as compared to the 2008 Democratic platform.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) members did not respond to questions on how the Indian-specific portions of the platform were drafted.

Several Indians say the platform is strong and admirable.

“The Democratic platform highlights a list of successes that is unparalleled for any administration—from the settlement of the Cobell litigation to the president's signing of the TLOA (Tribal Law and Order Act) and his unprecedented veto threat over his support of the tribal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act,” said Holly Cook Macarro, a partner with Ietan Consulting, a tribal lobbying firm. “Obamacare meant the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and the modernization of health care delivery in tribal communities. These accomplishments could not have happened without the help of the many Native Americans the president appointed to real positions of influence within his administration.”

Macarro, a Red Lake Ojibwe citizen who is attending the convention, said Indians are better off than they were four years ago.

Gyasi Ross, a Blackfeet citizen and lawyer with the Crowell Law Office, makes the case that the Indian-focused platform is actually stronger than past ones released by the Democratic Party “because you realize, based upon the past four years, that this president has the moral and political will to do what he says. Previous administrations made promises to tribes but, by and large, those promises did not happen There's no blowing smoke here—the president accomplished a good deal of what he said that he would accomplish back in 2008; he definitely didn't do everything he said that he would, but his shooting percentage is quite a bit higher than any other president in history.”

Ross also said that the platform could be stronger: “There's been no movement on the preserving Native languages front or the sacred sites front. The Keystone Pipeline is still hanging over Native peoples' heads. Our homelands are still impoverished and hurting. It is crucial that these issues arise to the forefront…these items are matter of cultural survival. Still, in the same breath that we point out the shortcomings, we have to acknowledge that this president has been the most progressive for Native people ever and celebrate the victories.”

The Republicans released their own American Indian platform last week, and it has been viewed favorably by some Natives, but many, like Ross, believe that actions speak louder than words: “A platform is important, of course—yet, the political and moral will to see that platform through is much more important,” he said.

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kickapoocandy's picture
Submitted by kickapoocandy on
They'll have to show me. I'll believe it when I see it. >>===>Kickapoocandy<==<<

wanbli's picture
Submitted by wanbli on
BIA and IRA U.S. supporters of genocide! What kind of Mushrooms are these slime balls on? We are not authentically and genuinely "Free or Sovereign" under U.S. Department of Interiors BIA and IRA Tribal Phony SO-CALLED Sovereign Governments Bureaucrats, that stand by and help in the last Physical, Spiritual, Economically and Environmental Massacre of First Nation People.s So-called Traditional Tribal People who are brainwash and just U.S. sponsored gatekeepers of oppression and disorder. BIA and IRA adulterers, greed lead crooks, thief, lairs, swindlers, drunks, rapist and wife's beaters, Activist just like this Empire made them, "Colonized" and cursed! them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's the issue! The U.S. must do something to maintain their dominance no matter, who die's, for authentic freedom as genuine sovereign red nationhood's. Its' about national treasure, that don't belong to them, including this continent we "Red" Traditional People called, Turtle Island. He's got a problem with the color Red that symbolizes our blood that was shed by the gallons for nothing connection and consecration by the Creator and to our Earth, Mother. Obama might see only one America, but God, see all nationhood's of mankind free from all form of empire's tyranny's and denials and excuses that dominant life and kills it, not releases it. A so-called sane, reasonable, honorable, with self respect as a humane free society who policies of War against the Poor of Earth whose action speak loudest: A disingenuous, ungrateful and prideful and hateful racist government that will not stop the genocide of my red peoples, but prides itself in its genocidal Indian laws and polices and broken trust and promises. Why does this so called, white nation persist by their unnatural existence and unnatural nature in killing innocent indigenous people and nationhood's, "Red" Nation's he appointed, and consecrated upon our red indigenous inherit divine homeland's. Which this President, and everyone else is incapable to do! African American and this President need to come to understand, you do not have original homelands here in America. That's why its easy for you to destroy Indian people and our relationship with our homelands and our relationship and responsibilities to God and his love for his and our Red Earth, within the dominance your white supremacist homeland, called America. Any President in a authentic and free democratic society does not support torture and assassinations of any governmental leaders around the world. Does God need to dominate anyone or anything? These BIA and IRA articular is just as disingenuous as they're maker: MAN! America, serves only one God and has always served that God, himself!!!! The God of War and Death!!!!! Is it Obama or the crow name, black feather...he has already offended that name and dishonored it, when he steal our lands with mining and oil corporation! That's who he is, that's why we would vote for anyone! He has no Indigenous honor to the human families of Earth Mother!!!! Wanbli 2012