Sanders visits Comanche Nation, vows to fight for Native American communities
Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign
Senator Sanders yesterday addressed the 28th annual Comanche Nation Fair Powwow in Lawton, Oklahoma. Sanders is the first presidential candidate to visit the Comanche Nation since Theodore Roosevelt.
At the Powwow, Sanders spoke about the broken criminal justice system that disproportionately affects Native American communities, the high poverty rates in Native American communities, and the long and painful history of broken treaties and lies to the Native American community.
“The pain, the lies, and the broken treaties that have fallen upon the American Indian people has got to end. It should have ended hundreds of years ago; it should have never happened,” Sanders said. “Our job is to end those sins, those terrible things, and bring our people together and treat our Native American people with the respect and dignity that God knows they are entitled to.”
Before the event, Sanders met with tribal citizens and discussed the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women. At the Powwow, Sanders pledged to appoint an Attorney General that will work with Native communities to solve these murders and put an end to this crisis.
As president, Sanders would reverse Republican efforts to suppress voting rights in Native communities and Trump’s budget cuts to the Department of Interior, which oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians--instead providing resources to protect and revitalize indigenous languages, religions, cultures, and traditions. Sanders would also call for representation of Native peoples in the highest levels of government in Washington and expand protections for tribal lands.
Additionally, Sanders would enact criminal justice reform in Indian Country to ensure tribal nations have the autonomy and authority to protect their own peoples by prosecuting criminal offenders for violent crimes that occur within tribal borders, regardless of the criminal’s race.
Sanders has a long record of fighting for tribal rights including addressing the wealth gap that is plaguing Native American communities through Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and much bigger investments in K-12 education in low-income communities. He fought to save Oak Flat by repealing a giveaway to a foreign-owned mining company and has stood alongside advocates fighting against the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, and the construction of a nuclear storage site on Yucca Mountain.