Governor Bullock, tribal leaders from across Montana discuss systemic problems facing Indian Country on Indigenous Peoples Day
Office of Montana Governor Steve Bullock
Yesterday evening, on Indigenous Peoples Day, Governor Bullock held a virtual town hall with Councilwoman Patricia Iron Cloud of Fort Peck, President Andy Werk Jr. of Fort Belknap, Chairman Tim Davis of the Blackfeet Tribe, Rep. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy of the Crow Tribe, and President Rynalea Whiteman-Pena of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. During the event, Governor Bullock and the Tribal leaders discussed how to address the systemic problems facing Indian Country, Bullock’s record of working alongside Native leaders and legislators to get real things done for the Indigenous people of Montana, and his plans to continue standing up for tribal communities in the Senate.
“Today, we recognize and pay homage to the Indigenous communities and culture that certainly has been damaged at times throughout history due to historical injustices,” said Governor Steve Bullock. “The fabric of our state is so deeply woven with the contributions of our First Nations people ... As your next Senator, I’m committed to tackling the existing health and economic disparities in our Native communities.”
Throughout his time in office, Governor Bullock worked side-by-side with Native leaders and legislators to stand up for the Indigenous people of Montana. When Governor Bullock expanded Medicaid, he brought affordable, accessible healthcare to more than 15,000 Native Americans across tribal and urban communities. Governor Bullock hosts annual Tribal Leaders summits to listen to the concerns of Native Americans, tribal leaders, elected officials, and staff and work together to find real solutions. Governor Bullock has worked alongside Native legislators and leaders in Montana to invest in tribal colleges, fund Native language preservation, address the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and provide funding for Native Americans who own a small business.
Governor Bullock personally visited community testing events at the seven reservation communities in the spring and has continued to work hand in hand with Tribal leaders to ensure they have the resources they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Senate, Governor Bullock will make sure the federal government upholds its commitment to tribal sovereignty and will continue to work in consultation with Native people to tackle the challenges facing Indian Country.
While Governor Bullock was working shoulder-to-shoulder with Tribal leaders to ensure they had the support and resources needed to protect vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Daines was pushing for a pandemic response package without funding for tribal governments in Washington. During initial negotiations on the CARES Act, Daines pushed for a package that prioritized his corporate backers, but provided nothing in direct relief for tribal communities. Daines also remained silent as critical funding allocated for tribal governments was delayed over claims from for-profit corporations.
Native Americans in tribal and urban communities deserve a Senator who will be a true advocate and ally for Indian Country — Governor Bullock will be that Senator.