US Senator Barack Obama is the choice of the Native American Times to become the next president of the United States. This choice made before the all important super Tuesday election to get as many Native Americans to the polls as possible to push Obama to victory. This is not an anti-Hillary vote but a decision based on what is best for Native Americans.
Alaska will be caucusing; Colorado with the Ute Nation and large Native urban populations will have a primary; the Nez Perce will be voting in the all Democratic caucuses; The Kickapoo, and Prairie Band Potawatomi will be voting in the Kansas Caucuses; The Dakota and Ojibwa people will be voting in Minnesota’s Primaries; Republican Crows, Northern Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Cree and others will be voting in Montana’s caucuses; the Pueblos, Navajos, and Apaches will be voting in New Mexico Primaries; the Seneca, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga and other tribes will voting in New York’s primaries; In North Dakota the three Affiliated tribes, Devil’s Lake Sioux, Standing Rock Sioux and Turtle Mountain Chippewa will be voting in their caucuses; Oklahoma with their over 300,000 Indians and over 30 federally recognized tribes will be heading to the polls for their primary; in Utah the Navajo, Ute’s, Shoshone, Paiutes and Goshute tribes will vote in their primaries. Over 1 million Indians will be voting on Super Tuesday and they can have a deciding say in who is the next president of the United States. And one man seems to know and care about that fact.
Obama has started to aggressively reach out to Native Americans in word and deed. In his words he has put together a policy which truly addresses Native problems. In his deeds he has actually gone to Indian reservations to seek our votes. He is also the co-sponsor of the all important Indian Health Care Improvement Act. And he continues to seek the Native vote.
As he explains it, he says he understands to be treated differently and unfairly. Part of the change he proposes is one of justice and equality. He is also proposing sweeping changes in health care for Native Americans that include mental health. While the economy is the driving issue on the national stage its ‘Health Stupid,’ in Indian Country. People are dying too soon, babies are not making it to adulthood, and diabetes is robbing our way of life in ways never imagined. It’s hard to worry about the paycheck when you are too sick to go anyway.
According to his advisors on Indian issues, he will address the nagging problem of criminal jurisdiction on Indian land. From runaway meth use to domestic violence to murder the problems on Indian land should be the providence of Indian governments where they are able. It is a significant distinction because it is clear some in the federal government doesn’t believe Indian governments are legitimate or evolved enough to handle a more expansive role in criminal jurisdiction. It is part of the change this campaign has represented.
Sen. Hillary Clinton is a force of nature and has been a voice for justice in her deliberations. She has become a polarizing figure in national politics and the republican party is licking its chops to get a shot at her. She also represents the past. And while I believe she is worthy of National office she is not the best choice.
Perhaps more than anything, Obama inspires us to want and dream of more. Indian Country has been waiting for someone like Barack for a long time. Now is the time for positive change and now is the time to vote Barack Obama on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 for President of the United States. Native Americans can make history next week if we all pull together and get behind the man who actually wants our vote.