Back in June I wrote a Blog post about how many of the Democratic Presidential candidates included Tribal Nations or Indigenous communities in their platforms and which issues were they covering? I was prompted to do some research due to the fact that in the first round of Democratic debates there was no mention of Tribal Nations or Indigenous communities on the stage. Since the first debate there have been some updates to candidate platforms and new information located. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren even mentioned Native people during the second round of debates. Now, on Monday and Tuesday of this week there will be an entire forum dedicated to Native issues. Four Directions and Native Organizers Alliance will be hosting the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Form in Sioux City, Iowa. The forum is dedicated to Frank LaMere who was a prominent Native American activist that passed in June of this year. Candidates who have confirmed their attendance are: Steve Bullock, Julián Castro, Mark Charles, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie sanders, Joe Sestak, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williams. Ahead of this forum I wanted to update the information I previously compiled so that it’s easily accessible for Natives and our allies to find, to become more informed on candidate positions.
Who did not Include Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities in their Platform?
Out of the twenty-three candidates running in the democratic primary, I could not find direct written references to Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities in the platforms of four candidates.
|Democratic Presidential Primary Candidates who do not include Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities in their Written Platforms|
Which Candidates have stand-alone platforms for Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities?
Out of twenty-three candidates running in the Democratic Presidential Primary five candidates have stand-alone platforms for Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities.
|Candidate||Stand Alone Platform||Highlights|
|Julián Castro||People First Indigenous Communities||
|Amy Klobuchar||Amy Klobuchar Campaign Announces Endorsements of Native American Leaders||
|Bernie Sanders||Empower Tribal Nations||
|Elizabeth Warren||Honoring and Empowering Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples||
|Marianne Williamson||Native American Justice||
Which Candidates Included Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities within other platforms?
Out of twenty-three candidates running in the Democratic Presidential Primary, nineteen candidates included direct written references to Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous Communities within platforms that were not stand alone platforms for Tribal Nations/Indigenous Communities. The Table below has the candidates in alphabetical order and the issues are hyperlinked to go to the candidate’s page for more information.
|Democratic Presidential Primary Candidate who Include Direct Written References to Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous within other platforms||Issue(s)|
Finally, after I categorized the Tribal Nation and/or Indigenous community issues that were addressed in written candidate platforms, I counted the number of times they were brought up by candidates, to see which ones dominated. The bar graph below presents the issues and the number of candidates who included them in their platform. Note these numbers are strong estimates, it’s possible that I missed a few, but I hope this will at least give a look into the types of issues candidates are focusing on and which ones are brought up the most. Additionally, the categorization of the issues is my interpretation, you may find as you review the information that another category for one issue may be appropriate or that further breakdown of the issues is justified (e.g., pipelines vs environment or opioids vs health).
I’m hopeful that this information will be helpful for those who want to do a little more research into where candidates stand with Tribal Nations and/or Indigenous communities. Please give credit where credit is due and share freely. I will update the information if and when corrections are identified or brought to my attention.
By Opal Boyer (Yavapai-Apache Nation)