As 2012 rolls around and the spotlight is on the Republican race for President, news broke December 15 of one of the first groups to endorse President Barack Obama for re-election.
The All Indian Pueblo Council (AIPC), a consortium of 19 Pueblos of New Mexico and one Pueblo in Texas that has been in existence since the late 1500s made the announcement at a ceremony on the Sandia Pueblo in New Mexico. Jim Messina, Obama for America National Campaign manager, accepted the endorsement and met with tribal leaders following the ceremony.
“In 2008, efforts of the Native American community were important in helping elect President Obama and usher in a new era of leadership in America, one that fights to protect the middle class and believes in a fair playing field for everyone. This time, the voices of Native Peoples will be even more important,” said Messina. “The President has consistently supported economic development and tribal sovereignty for Native American communities, leading to historic levels of cooperation between tribal governments and the federal government. I’m honored to accept the endorsement of the All Indian Pueblo Council today on his behalf.”
“The President has kept his word to Indian Tribes,” said Isleta Pueblo Governor Frank Lujan. “He has engaged our Pueblo through yearly consultations. The Recovery Act in particular provided funding for our infrastructure and created jobs for our tribal members. We will do whatever we can to ensure President Barack Obama is re-elected.”
Obama just finished the third White House Tribal Nations Conference on December 2 where he announced efforts to working on Native education, continuing to improve government-to-government relations while continuing to show efforts toward the betterment of Indian country. As the election season moves forward and the Republican race weeds itself through potential candidates – current frontrunners are Newt Gingrich, leading by 10.5 in the latest Real Clear Politics polls as of December 14, and Mitt Romney.
“This endorsement is recognition of the President’s sincerity and longing to address the needs of the Indian people,” said Taos Pueblo Governor Nelson Cordova. "He’s the one we put our trust in to assist our tribes in addressing the problems we see from Indian communities. That’s why we’re supporting him.”
The AIPC includes the Pueblos of Acoma, Cochiti, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, Sandia, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Kewa (Santo Domingo), Taos, Tesuque, Zia, and Zuni, as well as the Texas Pueblo Ysleta del Sur. The consortium is the voice for the Pueblos with state, local, and national governments on important issues, including the environment, water rights, health care and education.