Donald Trump releases vision for Indian Country

Donald Trump Jr. talks to supporters Oct. 15 at a rally in Williams, Arizona, that marked the launch of a Native Americans for Trump coalition. (Photo by Carina Dominguez, Indian Country Today)

Election 2020

The president's plan emphasizes business development and free enterprise #NativeVote20

Mary Annette Pember
Indian Country Today 

President Donald Trump released his policy vision for Native Americans on Wednesday via the White House Twitter account.

In the three-page “Putting America’s First People’s First: Forgotten No More!” document, Trump champions developing free enterprise, encouraging business development, reducing regulations on developing natural resources and energy, as well as empowering tribes to manage their own lands through self-governance programs.

The core principles of Trump’s plan are listed as:

  • Respecting tribal sovereignty and self-determination
  • Promoting safe communities
  • Building a thriving economy with improved infrastructure
  • Honoring Native American heritage and improving education and delivering health care.

Trump paints his vision in broad strokes with little detail about funding his plans, creating and developing ongoing tribal consultation or ways that his administration would address meeting existing federal treaty and trust obligations.

A Trump media adviser did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.

The plan does, however, promise to create 51,000 Native American-owned businesses and 196,000 jobs for tribal communities, invest $10 million to support creation of new tribally operated charter schools, double federal support for developing tribal education agencies, increase funding for language and cultural programming by 25 percent, prioritize enforcement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, improve delivery of and coordination throughout the Indian Health Service, invest in mental and behavioral health, support funding for better water infrastructure in tribal communities, continued work of Operation Lady Justice and the president’s task force on missing and murdered Indigenous women, and continued investment in opioids and drug treatment.

(Related: Donald Trump Jr. launches 'Natives for Trump')

Trump also promised to host a national tribal leader meeting and establish a national week of consultation. 

Trump’s deputy national press secretary Courtney Parella previously told Indian Country Today that the president is a strong supporter of the Native American community. Parella noted that Trump provided $8 billion in coronavirus aid for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.

Both parties have touted the relief money, which was whittled down in negotiations and delayed by lawsuits. 

President Donald J. Trump participates in a roundtable discussion on supporting Native Americans Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at Honeywell International Inc. in Phoenix. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
President Donald J. Trump participates in a roundtable discussion on supporting Native Americans on May 5 in Phoenix. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead, File)
Vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, and Cindy McCain visit at Heard Museum in Phoenix, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cindy McCain visit the Heard Museum in Phoenix on Oct. 8. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris released their plan for Native Americans, “Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations,” on Oct. 8 prior to a meeting with tribal leaders in Arizona. In the 15-page document, Biden and Harris begin by committing their administration to upholding the U.S.’s trust responsibility to tribal nations.

Notably, they promise to ensure fulfillment of federal trust and treaty obligations, address chronic underfunding of unmet federal obligations and call for making funding to the Indian Health Service mandatory rather than discretionary as it is now.

(Related: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris meet with tribal leaders in Phoenix)  

The Biden-Harris plan offers specifics on reducing suicide through collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, increasing health data collection, expanding access to mental health and substance abuse disorder through the Affordable Care Act and addressing the epidemic of violence against Native women by strengthening the Tribal Law and Order Act, finding solutions to address the Supreme Court’s decision in Oliphant v. Suquamish that has prevented tribes from prosecuting non-Native offenders and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

It also promises to reinstate the annual White House Tribal Relations Conference.

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Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Ojibwe tribe, is a national correspondent for Indian Country Today.

Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. And we have hired more Native journalists in the past year than any news organization ─ and with your help we will continue to grow and create career paths for our people. Support Indian Country Today for as little as $10.

Comments (29)
No. 1-8
WSullivan
WSullivan

Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations:

BetterRedThanDead
BetterRedThanDead

Trump has done a lot for Native people already. Four more years and he will do even more. He has my vote.

8 Replies

me1957
me1957

You ment to say he has done a lot TO Native Americans. He is the one that allowed the Dakota Pipe line go through!

BetterRedThanDead
BetterRedThanDead

Haha, no.
Why not blame the tribal councilmen or people involved who negotiated the deal in the first place? Stop blaming Trump for everything.

caniscandida
caniscandida

What in the world can you possibly have in mind? Whenever people have been in trouble, or have found themselves in need, Donald Trump has done all he can to make their situation worse. The only people he has helped are himself and his family, with lots of corrupt dealings, and also the rich people who support him. Nobody else.

afroindio
afroindio

Shame on you. trump is a racist white supremacist, hate filled liar & inciter of racial hatred. "Stand by " he told the Proud Boys. What a messed up state we are in to have people like you actively hurting our cause. We used to have heroes like Anna Mae Aquash, AIM & John Trudell. Now we have trump bootlickers and sellouts.

GalonvYu
GalonvYu

Yeah, he freed 100,000 slaves, most of who are Native American. Under biden there were 500,000 slaves and the dems ignored it, as they always do to us. I may not kiss his bootie, but neither do I snarl at a man who has tried to help and been mocked by people with their hands in dnc pockets.

GalonvYu
GalonvYu

that must be why he frees Native American slaves where dems ignore it. Yeah, I'm a white supremist by dnc standards, just like Reverend King and Malcom X were and the Proud Boys are, especially the Hispanics and blacks and all those metis among them. More dnc nazi propaganda is all it is.

1613Nelson
1613Nelson

Native American Indians who are still on their knees begging the bloated centralized federal government for a "hand out" will never learn the idea of grabbing hold of the "hand up" opportunities America's free-market economy system offers. Big centralized government is the enemy of personal freedoms of every citizen, to include tribal sovereignty. Native American Indians are not just another minority group, we possess dual citizenship and should stop letting political parties promise the world just for a vote and then forget about them as the Democrat Party has done for generations. Don't forget it was the Democrat President, Andrew Jackson, who carried out the "Trail of Tears" massacre.

I'm a Native American Indian, veteran, college graduate and business owner; I hate to say this, but "it's easier to fool someone than to convince them they have been fooled". Wake up Native Americans it's time to collectively use our human, land and natural resources to the fullest extent possible to become a viable economic force in America versus staying on our knees as big government victims. Tribes should be directly profiting from their reservation lands and natural resources in lieu of letting the federal government control the royalty income and/or regulating legitimate for-profit businesses away from tribal lands. Why can't tribes attract manufacturing industries to their tribal lands offering reduced ground leases and taxes, in exchange for hiring tribal members and possible ownership options?

Bottom line, with conservative free-market economy leaders in control who understand business, tribes could negotiate such deals; whereas, a career Democrat politician(s) is only there to insure government control and to extract as much tax as possible to support an ever expanding government.

It's time we demand the use our lands and natural resources as we see fit for our own benefit, tax free! That's being a true advocate of the Native American Indian and would go along way in addressing the inherent Native American injustice.

NotSheeple
NotSheeple

Wonder if Trump will side with tribes making a new push to shut down Dakota Access Pipeline. Nah, didn't think so. He doesn't care about us and he will take and flush our land, water, other natural resources down the drain if he can.

Turtlemoon
Turtlemoon

Please, please, do NOT vote for Trump this election. What has he done for the Navaho Rez and the Coronavirus pandemic?? He does not have your back. Wake up people!!

afroindio
afroindio

Okay, Why? & where is Joe Biden's plan? Why are you reprinting his lies and his campaign link??? This is NOT journalism & this election is important for the world, not just Natives! Armed fascist dictatorship, anyone?

Little White Owl
Little White Owl

Sooo nobody noticed all the horrible things he did to so many tribes over the last 4 years? This announcement is BS. All he has done over the last 4 years is to undermine our sovereignty. Incase you are unaware of the betrayal, over and over again, over the last 4 years FACT: The Trump administration has expressed views that challenge the unique legal status of Tribes and has attempted to remove Tribal lands from federal trust, while consistently desecrating sacred Tribal land on behalf of corporate polluters. BUT wait! there's more...

READ THIS fact check

LewisN
LewisN

It is easy to make promises, it's harder to live up to them.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Therefore, it would be insane to vote for Trump once more.

Lewis
www.basingstoke-electrician-service.com

Arrowdave
Arrowdave

I don't trust either one


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