Kolby KickingWoman

Indian Country Today

It may lack the traditional fanfare of conventions from years past or a pre-pandemic Trump rally, but the Republican National Convention is set to nominate President Donald Trump for re-election as the Republican candidate Monday night.

In the months leading up to the convention, the Republican National Committee did all it could to maintain some semblance of the usual event. The organization switched convention locations, from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, before nixing that idea due to health and safety precautions.

The originally planned 2,500 delegates who planned to attend in person has been reduced to about 336 who will be in Charlotte.

It wasn’t until last week that it was announced that Trump would be giving his nomination acceptance speech Thursday evening from the South Lawn at the White House, a decision which has drawn criticism.

While the convention kicks off tomorrow, details about the four day event were still emerging late into last week.

The overall theme of the convention is, “Honoring the Great American Story,” with each day also carrying an individual moniker under that umbrella as well. Monday and subsequent days are as follows: “Land of Heroes,” “Land of Promise,” “Land of Opportunity,” and “Land of Greatness.”

Indigenous people were prominently featured last week during the Democrat National Convention with multiple appearances in the nationwide roll call and a primetime speech from New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland, Laguna and Jemez Pueblo.

The GOP will hear from Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer on Tuesday. 

The office of Oklahoma House Representative Tom Cole, Chickasaw, told Indian Country Today that he will be participating in the convention virtually but is not an evening speaker.

Fellow Oklahoma Representative Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, did not respond to an inquiry about his participation in the convention.

Also in contrast to the party across the aisle, the Republican party does not have a Native American caucus. Although Donna Bergstrom, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, said on a recent Indian Country Today newscast that just because there isn’t an official Native caucus doesn’t mean that tribes and Native individuals won’t be participating in some fashion.

“A lot of times people focus on their local level,” Bergstrom said. “So I'm confident that the Republican National Convention will be a good one and that they'll have a lot of good conversations behind the scenes when they're working on the issues that they need to get done. Then also really present a story next week for the American public to look at.”

Some of that behind the scenes work at conventions is usually adopting a new platform for the party. The platform is the set of principles that guide and portray the party’s vision on a variety or topics and issues.

According to reports, the platform committee will not be meeting at this year’s convention and the Republican party plans to move forward with the 2016 platform.

In the document, Republicans say that trust and treaty obligations have not been sufficiently honored and seek to reverse the social and economic problems that have plagued Indian Country for decades.

The plan calls for self sufficiency, the right of tribal consultation, a rejection of a one-size-fits-all approach to Indian Country; among other items.

“Our approach is to empower American Indians, through tribal self-determination and self-governance policies, to develop their greatest assets, human resources and the rich natural resources on their lands, without undue federal interference,” the platform says.

Trump is set to be formally nominated Monday night and give his acceptance speech Thursday night, though it is reported he will participate nightly.

There is a who’s who of the Republican party and members of Trump’s family expected to make speeches throughout the week. Perhaps the two that have made headlines in Indian Country are South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann.

In recent months, Noem has clashed with tribes in her state, specifically the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, over checkpoints that were set up to slow travel through its reservation and combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Sandmann is most well known for the viral video of a standoff with Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial back in January 2019. Sandmann filed lawsuits against multiple media organizations for their coverage of the incident and has since reached settlements with CNN and the Washington Post for undisclosed amounts.

In the swing state of Arizona, a billboard with the words “Navajos for Trump” recently popped up on Interstate 40 near Sanders, Arizona. The ad campaign was paid for by a group called Rally Forge LLC, according to a report in the Navajo Times.

In the story, no Navajo individuals come forward and put their name on a statement of support for Trump but the reporter, Cindy Yurth, says that doesn't mean there aren’t any.

“There is no doubt Navajo Republicans exist,” Yurth writes.

The Democratic Party made their pitch to the American people last week why their vision for the nation is the one people should vote for, now it is the Republicans' turn.

Stay tuned to indiancountrytoday.com for updates on the convention throughout the week. 

Complete list of speakers

Monday speakers include:
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA-01)
Representative Matt Gaetz (FL-01)
Representative Jim Jordan (OH-04)
Former Ambassador Nikki Haley
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel
Georgia State Representative Vernon Jones
Amy Johnson Ford
Kimberly Guilfoyle
Natalie Harp
Charlie Kirk
Kim Klacik
Mark and Patricia McCloskey
Sean Parnell
Andrew Pollack
Donald Trump, Jr.
Tanya Weinreis

Tuesday speakers include:
First Lady Melania Trump
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron
Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi
Abby Johnson
Jason Joyce
Myron Lizer
Mary Ann Mendoza
Megan Pauley
Cris Peterson
John Peterson
Nicholas Sandmann
Eric Trump
Tiffany Trump

Wednesday speakers include:
Vice President Mike Pence
Second Lady Karen Pence
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem
Representative Dan Crenshaw (TX-02)
Representative Elise Stefanik (NY-21)
Representative Lee Zeldin (NY-01)
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell
The Honorable Kellyanne Conway
The Honorable Keith Kellogg
Jack Brewer
Sister Dede Byrne
Madison Cawthorn
Scott Dane
Clarence Henderson
Ryan Holets
Michael McHale
Burgess Owens
Lara Trump

Thursday speakers include:
President Donald J. Trump
The Honorable Ben Carson
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23)
Representative Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02)
The Honorable Ivanka Trump
The Honorable Ja'Ron Smith
Ann Dorn
Debbie Flood
Rudy Giuliani
Franklin Graham
Alice Johnson
Wade Mayfield
Carl and Marsha Mueller
Dana White