Editor’s Note: This story had been modified to reflect the fact that this is the second time ICTMN has received credentials to a national convention; the first was in 2008.
Today marks the start of the Republican National Convention, and Indian Country Today Media Network will post coverage from inside and outside the convention center. Correspondent Suzette Brewer will report from both conventions; Charles Kader will monitor event outside the hall in Cleveland.
This is only the second time that ICTMN, or Indian Country Today, has been granted security clearance and access to a national convention floor. In the past, ICTMN’s applications for media passes had been denied, typically on the grounds that the Secret Service guidelines for the conventions followed White House permanent media credential requirements. However, in 2008 Washington DC Bureau Chief Rob Capriccioso, then Staff Reporter, received credentials by using a DC city police-approved media credential. Under those rules, as best we understand the explanations offered to us, ICTMN has been denied permanent White House passes because its parent company, Oneida Nation Enterprises, is owned by a ‘foreign government,’ the Oneida Indian Nation of New York.
Whether or not Native readers choose to vote in U.S. elections, much is at stake in the days ahead. The next administration may be Democratic or Republican, but leaders of sovereign Native nations will still have to negotiate with whomever sits on the other side of the table as part of their government-to-government relationship. There will be many Native delegates attending the conventions, and their efforts to bring their respective parties to pay heed to critical issues in Indian country will be closely observed.
The conventions will also set the stage for the final approach to the November elections for many Native politicians on both sides of the ticket running for office at the state and local levels. The Indian vote in key battleground states of the northern plains and southwest will play a critical part in Senate and House races. These efforts by Native activists, and news reports about them, will help further the awareness for Native needs, concerns and treaty rights regardless of the outcome of any particular campaign.
Republican National Convention Press Kit