August 23, 2008

What has McCain done lately?

Is McCain's history with Indians a mixed blessing?As a senator from Arizona, a state with more than 20 federally recognized tribes, McCain has spent two decades on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, including two stints as chairman. But some Native Americans are angry over McCain's attempts while chairman from 2005 to 2006 to put more regulations on Indian casinos. They say he should have been more focused on Indian health care and other needs.

Some also resent McCain's decision to refuse campaign donations from tribal governments.
And:McCain "couldn't claim any major legislative victories during his tenure as chairman concerning Indian country," said J. Kurt Luger, executive director of the Great Plains Indian Gaming Association in Bismarck, N.D. "He put forward a piece of legislation that would have added more burdensome regulation to our gaming industry at a time when our federal funding was at its lowest point."

To counter McCain's long history, Obama has met eight times with tribal leaders, opened campaign offices on reservations, run a radio ad in the Navajo language and released an Indian policy platform more than a year ago.

It's making an impression.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see McCain vs. Indians.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
And such an impression might amount to a hill of chili beans: 1. IF Barrack O'Bama were Native or even part-Native. 2. IF Natives counted for more than their 1/4 of 1 per cent of the American population, as there are more Vietnamese in the US than there are Native Americans. 3. IF Native American voters nationwide were greater in number than 3/4 of 1 million. And, 5. IF it were not a fact that over 60% of Native American voters are Republicans...
There is a story behind such a fact (No. 5.): when at last the 'blanket law' of the early 1920s was ratified and honored in Indian Country states, few Natives could read or write well enough to grasp the ballots. BUT -- they could place their marks at the top of the Ballot page to vote strictly party line. The symbol for Democrats was a rooster crowing on a fence at the crack of dawn. And the symbol for Republicans was an eagle spread akimbo with a ribbon in its mouth. Three guesses, and the first two don't count: where did the majority of new Native voters place their marks? Ah, history...
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

I don't know where you got your facts and figures from. I'm guessing you made them up. In any case, let's review:

1) Obama was made an honorary member of the Crow Nation and his mother was part Cherokee.

2) 4.5 million Americans identify themselves as Native or part Native. That's 1.5% of the nation's population, not 0.25%.

You're also dead wrong about there being more Vietnamese Americans than Native Americans. The 2006 estimated population for the former group is 1,475,798. (Source: Wikipedia.) That's less than a third of the Native population.

3) Since Indians historically have had low rates of voter registration and turnout, this is one fact you may have gotten right. Congratulations.

You skipped 4), bright boy.

5) Thanks for the cute anecdote from 85 years ago. At that time, Indians weren't US citizens and tribes didn't have constitutional governments. Can you say "out of date" and "irrelevant"?

Rob said...

For more on your last point, see Most Indians Are Democrats.