John McCain on Native American Policy
Over the years John McCain has received the support and friendship of many people from Indian Country, and he is committed to ensuring that they are treated justly and fairly. As president, John McCain will continue to build on his record of achieving results for Indian Country, and will continue to do so through close consultation with the tribes.
John McCain believes in protecting tribal sovereignty and recognizes the unique government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes and the trust responsibility. He has twice proudly served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (1995-1997 and 2005-2007) and continues to be a member of the Committee. John McCain has been a leader in Congress by sponsoring legislation and enacting laws that help improve conditions on Indian reservations and strengthen the ability of tribal governments to provide essential programs and services.
Everything McCain says sounds good on the surface. You have to read what he says carefully and wonder what it means. In particular, he doesn't say one word about increasing funding for Indian services, a key indicator of his beliefs.
Consider what he does say. "Downsize bureaucracy"...and reduce funding? "Prioritize and simplify"...and reduce funding? "Reform the system"...and reduce funding? "Reauthorize" and "continue" programs...but reduce funding?
Note that McCain doesn't say anything that really goes against the wishes of his conservative base. Protect natural resources from development? No. Protect sacred sites from development? No. Appoint pro-Indian judges and reverse anti-Indian court decisions? No.
Note also that he doesn't mention gaming, which is obviously a huge issue in Indian country. That's because he's tried to "reform" (i.e., weaken) the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and thus reduce the tribes' ability to exercise their sovereignty and pursue economic self-sufficiency. Thanks but no thanks, John.