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




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!
andre's picture
I have difficulty with Mr. Obama, the true distance between him and Indian country is enormous. He talks about nation to nation relations, but were still tethered to a feudal 18th century policy of asking and begging and not receiving. I have not seen Obama visiting any of the federally recognized tribes, nor the unrecognized ones. For a candidate who said he sympathized with the struggles of people of affliction, I would have expected a bit more. For all the people in Indian country still living in single-wide trailers, no-plumbing, hauling around water in the back of trucks, some of the most primitive roads in North America, courtesy of BIA roads. Lack of adequate public safety services. I find it suspect that he can relate to the Navajo Nation or the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, I have not seen him there. If he can support spending $2 billion a day on national defense and yet the whole BIA budget is only $2.4 billion for over 500 tribes. I have a problem with that reasoning. I would not support Mr. Obama, I think Romney is an even worse choice. I would support Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. New Mexico, home of 22 Indian tribes was fertile ground and a good relationship existed between then Governor Johnson and state government. A relationship I think he would further if elected. Both mainstream party's talk a good game, none deliver to Indian country.
curtj's picture
Who to vote for? The lesser of 2 evils is Obama. To vote Republican is to send us back into stoneage. Dem or Repub, their aim is to finish stealing what their illegal European immigrant forefathers didn't steal.
gerry's picture
I would like to share my concern about the elections. A greater concern, than our Indian problems, is where Obama is taking our country. I researched the presidential candidates and came to the following conclusions. Think about it, do you want to vote for a president that supports the murder of defenseless babies and same sex marriages? Muslim religion over Christianity? Obama’s closet senior adviser is Valerie Jarrett. Neither Michelle nor Barack do anything without consulting her first. She's an Iranian Muslim and hates America as much as Obama does. Do you want another 4 years of his bad economic policies? More government control of health care. He is planning a RFID chip to be implanted in individuals. Without it, you cannot receive health care. The RFID chip will be used by Obama to have complete control over the American people. The bible has prophesied such a man. Only God can change America's destiny for the better ( 2 Chronicles 7:14 - If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.) Remember, voting for an Independent or not voting at all is a vote for Obama. Vote for Romney. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Don't be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed; the one who brings destruction.
rubystargoats's picture
"Both mainstream parties talk a good game, none deliver to Indian Country." I have to add "or anywhere else..." I have no idea about Indian Country, but Obama has failed to deliver on any of his promises other than the vague "Change" promise, rather his office has not even gone very far from the Bush policies, if you really look at them. He said he was going to push for GMO labeling...instead he put a Monsanto big wig into the Ag agencies. As a future supplier of Real Food, that's a threat to me as a producer, and anyone who wants to eat Real Food. (Real Food being non-GMO, sustainably/humanely grown/raised and actually has flavor and nutritional benefits) All either party will do is to bring the rest of us down. Democrats by giving away my hard earned paycheck, the Republicans by building roadblocks for me to succeed outside of the corporate norms.
ribluebird's picture
Where did you get that Valarie Jarrett is a Muslim? Also says in good Book if without sin cast the first stone. Also that the truth will set you free. Seems like you arewatching too much Fox news. Seems he also has a number of Native Americans working in high places like Dr. Robidieu(sp) in Indian Health. In my 77 years of life have not seen anything like this happen. I guess it how you judge the good and the bad?
ribluebird's picture
You said it there is over 500 tribes. I seems to me ever since he has been in office he has invited the tribes to his house. Granted it is a load of money to spend on defense, but your people have the if I'm not wrong, serve for our country and are the greatest warriors going.
gerry's picture
I do not judge but I hope to let our people have an idea who Obama is. This presidential election is very important that will affect you, your children, grandchildren. I backup my statements with research. Obama’s leadership is destroying America. So far, Obama is responsible for the following: The Libyan embassy murder cover up. Fast and Furious cover up. Billions of dollars wasted on Green Energy fiasco. Arab Spring disaster. Sending Billions to countries that want us dead. Apologizing to terrorists. Screwing over our allies. Free rides to millions of Illegal’s. Record numbers of people below the Poverty Line. Violence on the rise across the country. Failure to attend security meetings. Giving out info on Seal Team 6. Passing the buck on everything. Too much time golfing and vacationing. And the list goes ON. Below are the sources I used to make my statements. All you do is copy and paste to the address bar. 1.Libyan embassy murder cover up: Mark Levin: Obama Is in Full-Fledged Cover-Up Mode Over Murder of Ambassador in Libya - US Embassy Attack - Fox Nation 2.Fast and Furious cover up: Boehner: Privilege claim implies White House cover-up - POLITICO.com and Holder: No cover-up in 'Fast and Furious,' no effort to hide details of the operation | Fox News 3.Billions of dollars wasted on Green Energy fiasco: Obama Fundraisers Receive Billions for Green-Energy Projects - Yahoo! News 4.Arab Spring disaster: Seymour Hersh on the Arab Spring, "Disaster" U.S. Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the Looming Crisis in Iraq 5.Sending Billions to countries that want us dead: Tracking Your Taxes: Sending Billions in Aid to Despots and Wealthy Nations | Fox News 6.Apologizing to terrorists. Screwing over our allies: Amazing! Obama Apologizes to Slain Terrorist’s Family 7.Free rides to millions of Illegal’s: Shady's Perspective: Illegal Immigration = "Free Ride in America- Come One, Come All" 8.Record numbers of people below the Poverty Line: More Americans living in poverty - MSN.com 9.Violence on the rise across the country: A look at concealed weapons, violence | Minnesota Public Radio News 10.Failure to attend security meetings: Obama Missing Daily Intelligence Meetings Regularly - By Katrina Trinko - The Corner - National Review Online 11.Giving out info on Seal Team 6: Navy SEAL Team 6: Congressman Peter King demands investigation into access granted to film about Osama bin Laden hunters | Mail Online 12.Passing the buck on everything: Obama Does Nothing But Pass The Buck Somewhere Else Remember, voting for an Independent or not voting at all is a vote for Obama. Vote for Romney. Right now, all we can do is pray that God will chose a righteous president TO lead our country and to be a strong ally to Israel. "Lets Put our heads together and see what life we will make for our children" Tatankalotanks (Sitting Bull- Lakota)
jaydokie's picture
@ andre leonard. Sorry, but, Pres. Obama is running the biggest job in the world. Besides, the gov't has come to us for a long time with promises and carrots in front of us, but never delivered. Pres. Obama has delivered. He probably hasn't gotten around much because he's been busy pushing Native purposes around D.C.'s true political bed. Everything that Chairman Hall identified and more has or is being delivered to us. If Pres. Obama does not get reelected, expect that Indian Country will not get anything for at least the next 8 years and probably longer. You say we only see $2.4 billion in funding each year. Well, under Pres. Obama, just this year, has provide $1.4 Bil for Cobell, $1.02 Bil for tribal trust settlement cases, $760 Mil for Keepseagle Settlement, and other hundreds of millions for various initiatives and special funding. So, before Obama, nothing. With Obama, $5 Bil plus. That's not fuzzy math, that's good math!