Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain Natives push back on Palin smearing

In response to the document and Kendall-Miller’s statements, a member of the American Indians for McCain Coalition told ICT that Kendall-Miller “obviously has an axe to grind.”

“She’s playing a bit of a political game with a popular governor,” said the Republican political observer, who asked not to be identified. “And she’s misleading American Indians, trying to make them believe that Palin is some kind of she-devil.”

Other Republican Natives said it was interesting that the Kendall-Miller document was released unsigned to blogs, news outlets and e-mail.

They wondered whether the Native American Rights Fund, the legal organization for which Kendall-Miller works, had any hand in the production of the document, which they said could be a violation of the governmental rules surrounding its nonprofit status.

Kendall-Miller was adamant that NARF had nothing to do with the production of the document. In fact, she said “bring it on” to criticisms from Republicans about her research and writings.

“I have to be careful because I work for a nonprofit – I don’t want to mix what I do, in any way. That’s the kind of dirty tricks the Republicans do – they come back and try to shut down my employer.” (although the cases linked to their article at one site, was via the Pacer system, I suspect that's a NARF Pacer account, which is a subscription account and the average Native who doesn't have a subscription, will be unable to check on the cases - so that would place more reliance on the document and you'd not be able to see the source documents - or perhaps that was their intent - shame on NARF lawyers for doing this! )

Beyond the partisan squabbles surrounding the document, Jacqueline Johnson, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, said there are many Alaska Natives who have counterpoints to the arguments brought up by Native Obama critics of Palin.

“There are two sides to the coin,” she said, adding that its NCAI’s position to stay neutral on the candidates, since the organization will have to work closely with whatever administration is ultimately elected.

The governor proclaimed June 10 – 13, 2007, as “National Congress of American Indians Days” in recognition of a conference held by NCAI in Anchorage and has attended some of the organization’s events, according to Johnson.

Ken Johns, president of the Ahtna Inc. Alaska Native Corporation, said that many Alaska Natives with whom he has spoken since Palin became the GOP’s vice presidential pick are strongly supportive of her candidacy.

“Most of these attacks have come from known Democrats who really are having a hard time with her popularity,” Johns said. “But that’s no reason to play dirty with her family. Get out of the mud. As Natives, we should be better than that garbage.”

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