Category Archives: Politics

Natives Ask: What Is A Tariff and How Does It Affect Indian Country?

” Trump has launched a campaign to fight a trade imbalance against China because ‘China and other nations trade unfairly with the United States.’ The goal is to use tariffs (or the threat of tariffs since they have not yet occurred) to get China to back down on other trade issues. What does this mean? And, how will Indian Country be impacted?” M. Trahaunt, ICTMN

Photo depicting international trade. ICTMN

 

Excerpt:  What Is A Tariff? And How Does A Campaign Against China Affect Indian Country? By Mark Trahaunt, ICTMN

“It’s important to say over and over again that a tariff is fancy word for a tax. A tariff affects how much corporate consumers are charged for, say, steel from China that is used to make a car.

And in response to such a tariff — China will levy a similar tax on its consumers when they buy pork, making that meat more expensive in China…Each side will tax products and the result will cost consumers more. And the producers of those products will make less money.

That’s where Indian Country comes in.

The tax bill will be paid every time someone buys a product that’s on the list, such as a car. And, on the other side of the ledger, Native American consumers will benefit as the price of pork (and its competitor, beef and chicken) drop because there will be more supply on the market. But the producers, the farmers, will make less.

According to the National Congress of American Indians: ‘Agriculture is increasingly important to Native economies, representing the economic backbone of more than 200 tribal communities and witnessing an 88 percent increase in the number of American Indian farmers between 2002 and 2007. According to the Census of Agriculture, in 2007 annual Indian agriculture production exceeded $1.4 billion in raw agriculture products.’

This is the trade deficit — and the Trump administration’s goal is to shrink it. And there is evidence that this trade deficit impacts wages and job creation, especially in manufacturing jobs.”

Category: Business, Politics

Tribal Leaders: Infrastructure Bill Should Include Indian Country

“Native American leaders are once again pushing for a seat at the decision-making table, saying this week that tribal nations have been overlooked for ‘too often and too long.’ Their latest concern comes with Trump’s proposed infrastructure plan…That same day, President Jefferson Keel of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) told the annual gathering of tribal leaders that, in 2018, no infrastructure bill should pass unless it includes Indian Country’s priorities.”  A. St. Clair, NPR

President Jefferson Keel of the National Congress of American Indians gives the annual State of the Indian Nations address.

Excerpt:  Tribal Leaders: Infrastructure Bill Should Include Indian Country Priorities — Andrienne St. Clair, NPR

“Trump urged Congress to act quickly on an infrastructure bill that would stimulate the economy, shorten the process to approve building projects and address continuing infrastructure needs in rural areas. The proposed bill would also give more power to state and local authorities and provide training for the younger American workforce.

Trump’s proposal reiterates points he outlined in the State of the Union last month, when he described America as ‘a nation of builders.’Keel used a similar phrase in his State of the Indian Nations address on Monday.

Native peoples are also builders and managers of roads and bridges and other essential infrastructure,’ he said. Keel said that a 2018 infrastructure bill should ensure that all communities — including native communities — have the framework needed to succeed. He emphasized that Congress should give tribes the same opportunities that state and local governments have to raise money, invest sufficient funding in basic building needs, remove barriers for tribes to make decisions and support tribal right to consent to developments that affect tribes and tribal lands…Keel is on board with the president’s proposal.

‘It’s not that we disagree with his priorities,’ Keel told NPR on Thursday. ‘We just want to be included in any of those plans for development of plans or policies that affect Indian Country in a way that we can not only protect our lands, but we can improve the relationship.’

And, from what Trump said in his State of the Union address, he seems to be on board with the entire country working together to improve the country’s interior:

‘Together, we can reclaim our building heritage,’ he said. ‘We will build gleaming new roads, bridges,    highways, railways, and waterways across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.’

But then, it may come down to semantics and how Trump defines ‘together,’ ‘we,’ and ‘American.”

Category: Politics

Exactly Who’s Running for Navajo President This Year?

“Just six months out from the primary election, only two candidates — Rex Lee Jim and Dineh Benally — have formally announced their intention to run for the Navajo Nation’s highest office. But several more seem to be warming up their campaign muscles — including the incumbent.” A. Bencenti and C. Yurth, Navajo Times

Dineh Benally.

Excerpt: Who’s running? Lineup still unclear for NN president campaign By A. Bencenti and C. Yurth, Navajo Times

“Filing is late this year — it doesn’t even start until May 17 — so keep in mind there are no official candidates as of yet. Still, the rumor mill is grinding away as usual, so the Times tracked down some of the usual suspects to see if it could get a straight answer out of anybody.

Rex Lee Jim

Responding to a request for comment with a written statement, President Russell Begaye declared ‘we” are “seriously considering’ going for a second term, accompanied by a list of accomplishments along with works in progress he would like to continue.

President Russell Begaye

Vice President Jonathan Nez,

Unless the president of the Navajo Nation gets to use the “royal we,” one could assume he’s referring to Vice President Jonathan Nez, which would seem to quell rumors that Nez is preparing to run against his current boss.”

 

Category: Politics

2018: Native Nations Will Have Stronger Voting Power!

“[San Juan County, Utah] In this county of desert and sagebrush, Wilfred Jones has spent a lifetime angered by what his people are missing. Running water, for one. Electricity, for another. But worst of all, in his view, is that the Navajo people here lack adequate political representation. So Mr. Jones sued, and in late December, after a federal judge ruled that San Juan County’s longtime practice of packing Navajo voters into one voting district violated the United States Constitution, the county was ordered to draw new district lines for local elections.” J. Turkewitz, The New York Times

BMH and UNHS Board member Wilfred Jones in front of Hogan at Blue Mountain Hospital.

Excerpt: For Native Americans, a ‘Historic Moment’ on the Path to Power at the Ballot Box, By Julie Turkewitz, The New York Times

“The move could allow Navajo people to win two of three county commission seats for the first time, overturning more than a century of political domination by white residents. And the shift here is part of an escalating battle over Native American enfranchisement, one that comes amid a larger wave of voting rights movements spreading across the country. ‘It’s a historic moment for us,’ said Mr. Jones, during a drive on the county’s roller coaster dirt roads… The county is challenging the decision, arguing that the maps ordered by Judge Robert J. Shelby unconstitutionally consider race, and so discriminate against white voters.

Top, San Juan County commissioners at a meeting in the north; below, a Navajo meeting in the south.Credit B. Rasmussen for The New York Times

‘In one of the poorest counties in the nation, the last thing we need is to be constantly sued by these predatory attorneys,’ said Phil Lyman, a county commissioner. ‘Outside people try to put this into a racial divide that simply doesn’t exist in San Juan County.’

Top, the San Juan County Wellness Center in the northern part of the county; below, the closed swimming pool in the south. Credit Benjamin Rasmussen for NYT.

Fights over indigenous voting rights are playing out in the West and the Midwest, a trend that has the potential to tip tight races in states with large native populations, like Alaska and Arizona, and to influence matters of national importance, like the future of Bears Ears National Monument, a conservation area in this county that is at the center of a fierce debate over public lands.

Today, Native Americans are suing over a new voter identification law in North Dakota, where lawyers say there is not a single driver’s license site on a reservation in a state that requires identification to vote. The outcome of the lawsuit could influence this year’s congressional election, helping to secure or flip the seat of Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat with wide Native American support.

In the battleground state of Nevada, the Pyramid Lake and Walker River Paiutes won a lawsuit in late 2016 that charged that tribal citizens had to travel as many as 100 miles to vote. The suit forced officials to open new polling stations in tribal areas and spurred nine other tribes to request their own election sites.

First voting on Paiute reservation. USA Today

And in Alaska, where native people make up a fifth of the population, officials recently rolled out election materials in the Yup’ik, Inupiaq and Gwich’in languages, following federal rulings that found the state had failed to provide materials equivalent to those used by English speakers.

Yup’ik Voters Give Ballot Translation

Voters receive stickers in Yup’ik and English. (Lisa Demer : Alaska)

After those changes, turnout in villages rose by as much as 20 percent, increasing the political power of the state’s native residents.

Other native voting cases are proceeding or have been recently settled in Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming.

‘I think there is retribution,’ Mr. Adams said. ‘We’re tired of being the scapegoat, saying we’re doing everything wrong, when we try to abide by the law.”

Category: Politics

Tohono O’odham Tribe Will Reject Border Wall in Arizona!

“Donald Trump’s proposed border wall could face a major obstacle in Arizona, where an indigenous tribe has vowed to oppose construction on its land…The Tohono O’odham Nation, a federally recognized tribe with a reservation that spans 75 miles of the US-Mexico border, announced on Thursday that it does not support the wall and criticized the White House for signing an executive order without consulting the tribe.” S. Levin, The Guardian

Excerpt: ‘Over my dead body’: tribe aims to block Trump’s border wall  on Arizona land, By Sam Levin, The Guardian

Verlon Jose Chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation

“The Tohono O’odham’s statement calls for a meeting with the president and comes after a tribal vice-chairman declared the government would build the wall ‘over my dead body’. Earlier in his first week in office, Trump also promised to push forward with the the Dakota Access pipeline, which last year attracted an unprecedented gathering of indigenous groups to back the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in its fight against the oil project.

The Tohono O’odham tribe, which has roughly 28,000 members and controls 2.8m acres of a reservation in south-western Arizona, has long struggled with the militarized international border that was drawn through the middle of its traditional lands.

The O’odham people historically inhabited lands that stretched south to Sonora, Mexico, and just north of Phoenix, Arizona, and there are tribe members who still live in Mexico. The tribe today has the second largest Native American land base in the country, and indigenous people say the US Border Patrol has for decades significantly disrupted tribal communities and their day-to-day life.

The tribe has said that Border Patrol agents in the past have detained and deported Tohono O’odham people who were simply traveling through their own traditional lands, practicing migratory traditions essential to their religion, economy and culture.

An effigy of Donald Trump stands on a symbolic wall built by protesters outside the US embassy in Mexico City. Photograph- Edgard Garrido:Reuters

Trump would face numerous legal hurdles if he attempted to build a wall on Tohono O’odham land, which functions under law as an autonomous government…if the government moved to start construction, large demonstrations like Standing Rock could emerge.”

Category: Politics

Natives Need to Ready Themselves for BATTLE!

Hope is a beautiful thing – but this is no time for idle hope. This is no time for simply hoping Donald Trump will suddenly become moderate and responsible and sober and less vicious when he slithers onto the American throne this winter. Don’t be fooled, folks. Trump doesn’t only believe he WON on Tuesday, bullwhipping the Democratic party and Hillary Clinton into whimpering hippies, he also believes he BOUGHT the presidency.” S.Moya-Smith,ICTMN

war-paint-by-steven-judd

war-paint-by-steven-judd

 

Excerpt: Small Hands On Deck. Donald Will Be ‘The Donald’ As POTUS By Simon Moya-smith

“The biggest mistake any of us could can make going forward into the bleak unknown would be to think ‘the Donald’ won’t be the racist, fleecing shill and sham he was all along the campaign trail. He’s a snake. And snakes bite, and this fanged f**ker has venom, jack. Watch your ankles. You heard it here.

donald-snake trump

donald-snake trump

Two months, folks. That’s it. Two months before President Barack Obama zips off in a helli’, calling it eight years and a presidency. Two months before the Orange creature lockjaws on your rights and freedoms. Two months of semi-sanity (all has changed now, overnight).

Obama has just a little more than eight weeks to kill the Dakota Access Pipeline and free Leonard Peltier. In the meantime, water protectors mend and ready themselves for the next rabid attack by Morton County Sheriffs – the REAL foaming dogs of Energy Transfer Partners…So it is.

artist-steven-judd

artist-steven-judd

Two months, and then it begins. Round 1 in a four-round bout. It could be an eight rounder. Whose to say? This is, after all, the nation that elected George Dubya two times. Frightened yet?

apache-tribe-gets-ready

apache-tribe-gets-ready

Awake yet? Well you damn well should be. Either way, put on your gloves.  Spar with friends. Toughen your core. Because there’s no question now – a battle’s coming.”

“I am, awake. I am, ready. How about you?” ~ Simon Moya-Smith~

Category: Politics