Indian Country Today
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer opened Night Two of the Republican National Convention, endorsing President Donald Trump for the 2020 election.
Speaking in pre-recorded remarks from Shiprock, New Mexico, Lizer ran through a list of accomplishments the president has achieved for Indian Country in his first term. The Navajo Nation second-in-command said it wasn’t until Trump came into office that Indian Country had a true seat at the table.
“Our people have never been invited into the American dream,” Lizer said Tuesday. “We, for years, fought congressional battles with past congressmen and senators that were part of a broken system that ignored us.”
Lizer said Trump has made it a priority to repair the federal government's relationship with the Navajo Nation and credited Trump with delivering the “largest financial funding package ever to Indian Country” with the CARES Act.
The Trump administration sided with Alaska Native corporations in a dispute over how the coronavirus relief money would be divided.
Lizer praised the president for the establishment of “Operation Lady Justice,” a White House task force addressing missing and slain American Indians and Alaska Natives, as well as for funding to improve public safety and support crime victims in Native communities.
Lizer was present in the Oval Office at the signing of the executive order establishing the task force.
Lizer also applauded Trump for reactivating the White House Council on Native American Affairs and for his judicial appointments.
“President Trump also strengthened the Supreme Court by nominating strong conservative judges like Neil Gorsuch, who supports Native American rights,” Lizer said.
Also making brief taped remarks Tuesday night was Nick Sandmann, the former Covington Catholic High School student who gained national attention for his interaction with Nathan Phillips, Omaha, at the Lincoln Memorial last year.
Sandmann shared his story behind what transpired and said he “found myself face to face with Nathan Phillips and other professional protestors looking to turn me into the latest poster child showing why Trump is bad.”
Sandmann asserted that the simple act of wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap made him the target of network and cable news.
Both Sandmann and Phillips later said they were trying to defuse tensions among three separate groups participating in both demonstrations. Video of the encounter showed Sandmann and Phillips standing very close to each other, with Sandmann staring, and at times smiling, at Phillips as Phillips sang and played a drum.
Sandmann later settled lawsuits against CNN and other media outlets
Being the lone Native voice thus far at the convention, Lizer closed his remarks with a ringing endorsement for the president in the upcoming election.
“Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight. I'm excited to endorse President Trump's reelection. And, Mr. President, we look forward to hosting you very soon.”
Last week, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez appeared with several other Democrats in a virtual keynote address at the Democratic convention.
“There’s no secret we are a split ticket,” Lizer said during a Navajo town hall Tuesday with Nez. “We are working both sides, and we are well represented in Washington.”
Kolby KickingWoman, Blackfeet/A'aniih is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is from the great state of Montana and currently reports for the Washington Bureau. For hot sports takes and too many Lakers tweets, follow him on Twitter - @KDKW_406. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Associated Press and Cronkite News contributed to this report.
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.