Why I’m Voting for President Obama

Tex “Red Tipped Arrow” Hall

Like most Native Americans, I jumped at the chance to throw my support behind President Obama in his 2008 campaign. Four years later, although some of my friends complain that President Obama has been unable to lift the economy out from the crater he inherited, I've decided that I am sticking with Obama in 2012. Here are the three reasons why:

1) Obama has kept his promises to us.

The year he took office, President Obama gathered tribal leaders to a historic White House meeting. When he told us, “You will not be forgotten as long as I'm in this White House,” I knew that those of us who had backed Obama in the election had made the right choice. I told my friends that they could count on him.

It’s safe to say, he has proven me right. President Obama has signed two of the most important tribal bills in a generation. First, he signed the Tribal Law and Order Act which gives tribes more authority to put criminals away, provides training and assistance to fight domestic violence and sexual assault, and opens a new path for tribes to regain jurisdiction they lost under Public Law 280. Second, he signed the Indian Health Care Improvement Act which finally made the law permanent and improves medical care, expands Medicaid coverage, and delivers assisted living and long-term care for 2 million Native Americans.

Over the past four years, President Obama has directed an unprecedented $3 billion in direct funding and bond authority to Indian country in order to create jobs, build new schools, hospitals and clinics, repair roads, start new energy projects, and strengthen tribal law enforcement. When he took office, President Obama reversed the Bush Administration’s longstanding opposition to the claims of Native American trust account holders, farmers and ranchers and settled both the Cobell and Keepseagle class-action lawsuits as well as individual tribal trust funds cases. And under Obama’s leadership, the United States endorsed the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the past four years have been some of the best that Indian country has ever experienced. His record alone is enough to convince me to say that we should stick with Obama for another term, but there’s more.

2) President Obama shares our values.

President Obama understands better than Governor Romney, who is a multimillionaire, where most of us come from. Obama understands that in Indian country, we still struggle with poverty, low life-expectancy, and dilapidated schools. He understands that many of us still have to drive dozens of miles for groceries, that our families live paycheck to paycheck, that we worry if we can afford to send our kids to college, and that we struggle everyday to put an end to intergenerational trauma.

Things are finally improving for us as a nation. While Romney’s agenda focuses on tax breaks for the rich, Obama’s agenda is focused on the middle class. But Obama has not forgotten the less fortunate and the people who believe that success is within reach for anyone who is willing to work hard for it. Obama has made the largest investments in history in Indian country’s education and health care. He has gone on the record and acknowledged the importance of our treaties and the power of self-determination.

President Obama understands the Indian trust relationship that the U.S. government has with tribal nations and Governor Romney is new to this game.

3) Indian country cannot afford to risk its future with Governor Romney.

Governor Romney says that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act on his first day in office. Not only would his actions jeopardize health care coverage for all Americans, it would also mean the end of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. And while President Obama supports reauthorizing a Violence Against Women Act bill that would allow Indian tribes to prosecute non-Indians who assault our Indian women, Governor Romney has said he will not support expanded protections for Indian women, LGBT persons, and immigrants.

As President, Romney would also have the power to appoint new conservative Supreme Court Justices. Indian country has already been battered by the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts. The future of our tribal sovereignty depends on who gets appointed to the Court. Only President Obama is going to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand and support Indian Country like Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic to serve on the Court. She not only wrote the majority opinion in the Ramah Navajo case, holding that the U.S. government must honor its contracts with Indian tribes, but she also met with high school students from Albuquerque’s Native American Community Academy and Native American law students from the University of New Mexico.

Finally, Governor Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, has a budget proposal that would cut the Indian Health Service’s budget by $637 million and the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ budget by $375 million. Indian country simply cannot afford budget cuts of these magnitudes. Cuts like these could devastate our tribal services to Indian families, elders, and our youth.

This is one of the most important elections in our lifetime. We now know how Governor Romney feels about the 47 percent of Americans whom he says are not responsible Americans. It makes me wonder what he really thinks about Indian country? I believe that Indian country has a clear choice. Indian Country is as strong today as it’s ever been. We can be proud of what President Obama has already accomplished. But the job is not done. I ask you to join me and vote for President Barack Obama.

Tex Hall is chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page




gerry's picture
I had to share this comment. The comment was posted on CNN Politics October 28, 2012. Obama will lie, lie and lie again. He sounds like a desperate man. The American Indians trust him? Obama has done some good for the American Indian, but first we must look towards the future of America. Which includes the generations of Indian people to come. Don’t let them say, “Why did you vote for the evil man?” Comment by Dan Schaefer: The evidence shows that notwithstanding his denial, President Obama has in fact apologized for America and done so repeatedly. At the last debate he claimed: "Nothing Governor Romney just said is true, starting with this notion of me apologizing." But here is the record: 1) In Cairo in June, 2009, he asserted that after 9/11, America "acted contrary to our ideals" by using torture-which slandered our own country and our defenders. (Michael Goodwin, NY Post, 9/16/12, p. 9). 2) In the same speech he also suggested American anti-Moslem bigotry, stating: "We cannot disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism." This was another slander, while at the same time not mentioning the slaughter of Christians in Arab lands. (Michael Goodwin, NY Post, 9/16/12, p. 9). 3) In Trinidad and Tobago in April, 2009, he stated: "We have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms." (Kimberly A. Strassel, Wall St. Journal, 10/26/12, p. A11). 4) In April, 2009, in France, he claimed "there have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." (Kimberly A. Strassel, Wall St. Journal, 10/26/12, p. A11). Thus he has in fact apologized for America, which could embolden our enemies. Second, in denying "this notion of me apologizing," he has not told the truth. How can we believe him on anything else?
gerry's picture
The Bible reveals what is going to happen very soon. We and our families need to be prepared. I believe the bible describes Obama. Obama will lie, lie and tell more lies to cover his previous lies. I keep track of Obama and I find him very deceptive. He knows a lot more about the FEMA camps and the very many coffins that have already been prepared. I believe non-compliant Americans and their families will be sent to these FEMA camps in 2013 in order to punish them. Why do the American Indians trust him? Although Obama has done some good for the American Indian, he is really just after the Indian vote. After the elections, he will all of a sudden forget the Indian problem. Remember he is a deceptive liar. We must look towards the future of our people, our children and future generations. Don’t let our children and grandchildren say to our present generation, “WHY did you vote for this evil man?” In his last presidential debate, Obama promised that he'd pursue "the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one." I believe Obama’s pursuit of the FDR plan is the soon coming of the RFID chip to control the American people. Controlling the people will allow him to have more control over the financial institutions of America. A research of the RFID chip will make it a very strong possibility that Obama will implement it in his PLAN. Do you want this plan implemented? The president will be able to monitor and to control all of your activities, your children, their children and the rest of America. The bible calls it “The Mark of the Beast”. God is in complete control of the problems facing our country and the rest of the world. We are praying that a righteous man will lead our country. The bible tells us to pray for our enemies, I’m praying for Obama’s salvation in Jesus name. You should start praying for your family to be under God’s protection against the soon coming tribulation.
gsevalikova's picture
If only Obama was the actual problem. Things are so much more complex that this !! Some dislike Obama because he isn't white, and THEY hate black people in general. Some will vote for a Romney/Ryan ticket because they are white, not because their policies are any good. The world has wondered for decades, "What's wrong with the United States?" A weak,fragmented US tempts attack from other countries,and a civil war may inspire peacekeeper units from foreign coaltions. If one doubts this, all you need is to go on Google and see overseas news sites, and it becomes clear that bad stuff is builing up fast, like Sandy. Obama vs. Romney is the least of this land's problems-sorry, but the Native community must start fielding canidates before elections themselves cease. Googling treaties between the US and say, the EU is very sobering. Bush made some in 2007 that gave this country to them again, like the TEC agreement, or later, the TTP, SPP(N.American Union)so now you know, however you vote-and yes, there IS an RFID chip that law enforcement agencies would love to implant into all citizens, IF they/we tolerate that. Oathkeepers.org is a group of military/police officers who refuse to go along with dictatorship,martial laws,suspending the Constitution/Bill of Rights.By all means, Google them,too.
mamabear0106's picture
You do watch a lot of Fox News, don't you?
mamabear0106's picture
Gerry, that RFID chip plan has been talked about years before President Obama got into the White House. what about Governor Romney's promises? People have been asking him for weeks what plans does he have if he was elected President? You know what he said? The same thing that President Obama said, only with different words. Romney is not very detailed with his plans during the debates either. How is he going to create 12 million jobs in four years? I can answer that question: by putting the American people back in war!