Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where Were the Questions from Native America?

Once again, I am disappointed. I sat down after a 12 + hour day at work and eagerly anticipated finally having a chance to hear a question from Indian Country posed to the Democratic candidates, and I was let down again. I can only imagine how the original inhabitants of this land must have felt when they saw the white settlers come over the rise onto land that the federal government had so recently promised would be theirs as long as the grass grows and the rivers run. It is a disappointment that runs so deep in a people, that it is almost expected, it is certainly the norm. I am ashamed of the history of mistreatment of the people who were here when our forebears first arrived on these shores. I am ashamed that even today, treaty responsibilities are dishonored, legal obligations are ignored, and proud communities across this country survive in poverty without the means to provide for their families.

Last night I thought, well. at least Native Americans will have a small voice in a big conversation - a chance to ask a question at a nationally-televised debate, the focus of which was African-Americans and Hispanics. No mention was made of the over two dozen tribes that make their homes in Nevada. The candidates mentioned absent African-American fathers, Hispanic workers and even made a few passing references to Asian-Americans, but not once did I hear a mention of the Western Shoshone people (on whose traditional homeland the much-discussed Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository is located) nor any other Native nation that has been a part of this country since before we were a country. Tonight I am disappointed, angry, and sad, but it makes me vow to fight even harder for Natives' voices to be heard in the political arena. Indeed, When Indians Vote, America Wins!

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