Ron Andrade in Native Condition. Discussion »
Now that the election is over, it is time for American Indian people to remember the living conditions that never seem to change despite which party is in power.
Ron Andrade La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians
American Indian issues are non-partisan.
These living conditions will become worse as the whole issue of deficit reductions fall on the Indian reservations and other programs serving urban Indian people. These programs that American Indian people have relied on to help ameliorate the poverty and hunger in many American Indian communities are in danger as the white political structure continues to fight the election campaign.
It is very hard to discuss a "fiscal cliff" in 2013 when most American Indians will argue that we have faced that "cliff" for over two hundred years.
A recent article on the Washington Post stated: "Any agreement is likely to result in less than the $1.6 trillion in new taxes over the next decade that Obama requested in his initial offer to House Republicans, and White House aides are signaling to allies that any new money from taxes would be used almost entirely for deficit reduction - not for ambitious, new spending programs or government expansions."
American Indians need President Obama to focus and live up to the promises he made at all the White House sessions he has held with tribal leaders. And, it is time for Indian people to quit fighting the political election and stop being led around by the Democrats who blame the bogey-man Republicans. It seems ironic that many Indian Democrats want Obama to live up to the standard set by President Nixon in dealing with Indian people.
There is much that President Obama should immediately do to protect the American Indian community.
During the budget negotiation last year, the President offered to reduce the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant program (CSBG) by 50 percent. As winter deepens many tribal communities rely on LIHEAP and CSBG for basic heating and low cost food. This is a basic living issue not a fiscal "cliff" issue. And Democrats should remember these programs were created under President Reagan.
The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act is due to expire. Someone needs to ask President Obama and the national Indian organizations why a national call for support was delayed until December 2012. The bill was originally entitled "To amend the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide for the revitalization of Native American languages through Native American language immersion programs; and for other purposes." It was introduced by Representative Heather Wilson, a Republican from New Mexico.
President Obama needs to restate his promise to many Tribal leaders that he will oppose the Keystone project unless it is designed to not negatively impact tribal lands and Indian communities.
President Obama needs to introduce a "Carcieri" fix legislative bill. This case was decided in 2009 and it is not reasonable that President Obama hasn't introduced a bill in over four years. So many Democrats have fixed the blame on the bogey-man Republicans but even the Democrats have to admit that one of the strongest opponents of a "Carcieri fix" is Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein. And, why hasn't Obama spoken out against the Supreme Court for ruling that tribes wanting to reclaim land had to be recognized in 1934? Obama should know and his American Indian aides should know that all tribes were under the federal government's jurisdiction long before 1934. Some may not have been federally recognized but all tribes were under the jurisdiction of the US government by 1934.
There are so many other issues that need to be addressed instead of continuing to try to win the election and continue the Democrats versus Republicans debate.
I have tried to provide examples of friends from both Democrats and Republicans. But most Indians know that neither party seems to be able to find a reservation except in election years.
American Indian issues are non-partisan.
Ron Andrade is a tribal citizen of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians located in the county of San Diego and previously served on the tribal council. He is the executive director of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission. He served as the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, which is the largest and oldest tribal organization in the country. He has served as a specialist on Indian Affairs at the Department of Agriculture, Energy, Interior, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
posted December 11, 2012 7:40 am est