Obama, our Brother

Peace! The following article was actually released on Monday. However, I think it's still very relative.

Obama touts Indian policy ahead of Super Tuesday vote "From Monday, January 28, 2008"

Fresh from a big win in the South Carolina primary,
Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinoia) on Sunday said he would respect tribal
sovereignty and empower Indian communities as president.

Obama, a first-term senator, is promising to meet with
tribal leaders on a regular basis. He said he will hold a yearly
summit with them to develop and implement a national Indian policy.

"Washington' s 'one size fits all' solutions don't work
in Indian Country," Obama said. "Tribal communities should be
empowered to address their own problems, and that will be an
important goal of my presidency."

If he wins the November election, Obama plans to
appoint an Indian policy advisor at the White House. Currently, there
is no position set aside for Indian Country, so tribal governments
must compete with state and local governments for attention.

On specific issues, Obama supports "full" funding of
the Indian Health Service. During debate last week on the Indian
Health Care Improvement Act, Senate Democrats said the agency only
meets 60 percent of the health care needs of American Indians and
Alaska Natives.

Obama, who is a co-sponsor of the IHCIA, is vowing to
continue funding for urban Indian health centers. President Bush has
repeatedly tried to eliminate the $33 million program -- just last
week, he threatened to veto the bill, citing concerns over urban
Indians, who make up the majority of the Native population.

Indian school construction, tribal colleges, tribal law
enforcement, tribal courts and Indian housing deserve more funding,
according to Obama. He said he would work to change federal law in
order to patch up "jurisdictional gaps" in Indian Country.

Finally, Obama said he would work to protect sacred
sites and reform the Indian trust. Keith Harper, a member of the
Cherokee Nation who is an attorney for the Cobell trust fund lawsuit,
works for the senator's campaign.

"I may not have been in Washington long, but I have
been there long enough to know that things in Washington must
change," Obama said. "And nowhere is that more true than in national
Indian policy."

The pledges came a day after Obama won the South
Carolina primary with 55 percent of the vote. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-
New York) came in second with 27 percent and former Sen. John Edwards
(D-North Carolina) was third with 18 percent.

Among the Democratic candidates, Obama and Clinton, who
is also co-sponsoring the IHCIA, each have two wins on their side.
Edwards has yet to score a victory in the race.

The next big test comes a week from tomorrow. On
February 5, also known as Super Tuesday, Democrats will head to the
polls in 22 states for their primaries.

The roster includes Alaska, Arizona, California,
Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and Oklahoma.
All are states with significant percentages of Native Americans.

Obama will visit New Mexico before the primary, The
Santa Fe New Mexican reported. A campaign organizer told the paper
that some Indian leaders plan to endorse Obama at a press conference

After Alaska, New Mexico has the highest percentage of
American Indians and Alaska Natives, according to the U.S. Census
Bureau. During the 2004 presidential election, the state narrowly
went to Republican George W. Bush.


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