June 02, 2008

Giago vs. Gray on the candidates

Putting All of Your Eggs in One Basket[F]or the first time as far back as I can recall, a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, visited the Pine Ridge Reservation and actually stopped off in my hometown of Kyle, the heart of this large Indian reservation. The Clintons realized that the Indian vote could make the difference and Bill and Chelsea visited some of the other Indian reservations in the state. Barack Obama did not stop at any of the Indian reservations.

For those elected tribal leaders so eager to jump on political bandwagons, let me insert the name of John McCain here. Please recall that McCain served on the old Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs and spent many hours protecting the rights of the Indian people. When he resigned from that Committee he wrote an editorial for my then newspaper, Indian Country Today, to explain why he was resigning. Coming from a state with a very large Indian population, Arizona, McCain is acutely aware of the many problems in Indian country as he has witnessed them firsthand.
Response to Giago column

Obama Still the One I can’t lose my breath because Hillary Clinton visited Pine Ridge this election. When her husband as President once visited Pine Ridge and saw with his own eyes the poorest place in America with some of the most devastating social problems ever suffered by any U.S. citizen. He saw the face of abject poverty and was so moved by what he saw he ran back to Washington and did nothing. That has stuck in the crawl of many in Indian Country. Clinton did later bring Indian leaders to the White House, but again after all the photo opps nothing was done for Indian country. It might not be fair to assume Hillary would be as craven as her husband, but if she can receive the benefit of his good deeds she can also answer for his insensitive sins.

I can’t really believe anyone in Indian Country would be evoking the legislative history of McCain. Roll out the impressive list of legislative victories for Indian country he won while as a sitting senator in an Indian state or his role on the Indian Affairs Committee. Last I heard he was trying to short change Indian people on the trust fund settlement. And he was openly rude to tribal leaders making a case for a more accurate settlement amount. He indeed has a history; it’s just not the kind anyone would want to run on.
Comment:  Obama may not have visited any reservations in South Dakota, but he spent significant time on reservations in Montana.

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