McCain May get the Native American Vote

Speaking in Missoula Montana on April 5th, Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama promised “to appoint a high-level adviser on American Indian issues if elected president.”

This may be too little too late, however, as John Ruberry of the Marathon Pundit writes:

John McCain has been doing that for over twenty years. Who is the one ‘reaching across the aisle’ to build a consensus? As for Indians, it appears to be McCain.

Ruberry also points out that the only Native American currently serving in Congress is Tom Cole, a Chickasaw, is Republican.

American Indian activist Kayln Free is quoted by The Oklahoman:

Sen. McCain [a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs] has a record with Indian country. He has carried a lot of water for tribes over the years. I think it is a grave mistake for the Democratic nominee or these two candidates to think that Indian Country will be there for them just because they are the Democratic nominee.

[…]

Tribal leaders have a different standing. We are sovereign nations and there is a government-to-government relationship. The Democratic candidates vying for our support should meet with tribal leaders and hear our concerns…Republicans are reaching out to tribal leaders because of the new economic power that the wield. Tribes are playing at a different level than they were even a decade ago.

“UnitedNative,” a senior member on the Indianz.com discussion forum, points out that although Native Americans largely have a problem with the policies of the Republican Party, John McCain has stood up to member of his own party to defend Indian rights:

As president, John McCain would be the eight hundred-pound political gorilla against anti Native American groups.

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