McCain knows Indian issues and wouldn’t be a bad president for tribes, he said. But he won’t bring the reform agenda Sampsel considers essential if tribes are to protect their sovereignty and their resources.
“You can’t get there without recognizing that tribes are sovereign and have their own resources to protect along with the federal government. ... I just really believe that Obama is the person we [tribes] need in there in terms of making significant change in the way programs and resources are treated at the presidential level of the federal government.”
Obama isn’t simply the alternative, she said. “He’s shown me a difference.” She traces the difference to an educational and pedagogical background steeped in constitutional law. If Obama is elected, she added, “America will get an open mind as to what is right. The Republican Party is more like, ‘No, this is right.’ It’s about winning. ... If you believe in following the law, then we have a chance to be a great country again.” Civil rights for the races, women and have-nots, tolerance of other religious views and other nations will follow from the observance of constitutional law, Gardner is confident.
He believes the time has come for talk, diplomacy and statesmanship among nations. The stare-downs of the past won’t work now, if they ever worked then-–which, he adds for good measure, they didn’t. “The problems of the past will not necessarily be solved by the experiences or ... the processes of the past.”
[L]ong before Obama announced his presidential candidacy, Mills felt that Obama could understand why American Indians are frustrated with all of the above. “I think it was the first time in my adult life that I could feel proud to be an American without a flashback to the shame and the wrongs of our past.”