Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's Promises to Indian Country

Indian Country Today ran an article of promises made by Obama to Indian Country in his own words....Oct 29, 2008 page 5 in part one on the page below...

1. A Nation to Nation relationship;
2. he will appoint an American Indian policy adviser to his senior staff (Remember DC is far removed from Indian Country - unless this is going to be a travelling adviser);
3. an annual gathering at the White House (White House PowWow?);
4. End mismanagement of trust funds;
5. Settle unresolved cases - (hmm, the only way to settle the Freedmen vs Cherokee Nation case is to let us be a Tribe of Cherokee - our people have spoken by the way - however, the Congressional Black Caucus continues in a mean spirit to promote the Freedmen - the Cobell Trust Fund case has been ruled on by the courts, is he suggesting he's not going to follow it? Another Jackson here? Although probably would benefit these trust account holders if he didn't and raised the settlement);
6. Deal with tribes in a Fair and Honest way - (those are earned via action and depend on fulfilling the rest of his promises);
7. Adequate funding of Indian Health Care - now, the US Treaty obligations don't include the merger of Federal Medicare with Indian Health Services and that in this writer's opinion is just plain going to not work - I could be wrong but both of these health care systems are in serious need of adequate funding - lumping the two together puts the tribes in competition with seniors on Health Care - not a good idea - not to mention most seniors in the Fed Medicare program require what is called supplemental insurance - apparently Medicare doesn't cover hospital stays or drugs thus the need for a supplemental *insurance policy* to cover this, which seniors must pay for - these supplemental policies then pay physicians a set amount for each docs appointment etc - which a few years back created real problems - docs were complaining that they needed to see an overwhelming number of patients to meet expenses and then could only spend about 5 minutes per visit with each patient, hardly enough time to make even a diagnosis - many docs at the time closed their doors - Indian Health care is a treaty right and thus mandatory on the Federal Government - so will we get the same health care that the DC Congress folks get i.e. the Congressional Black Caucus in particular - I really doubt it - since a lot of this would be probably contract health care for Indians and the IHS has long used the excuse they don't have funding - so although some congress folks believe Indians don't have *friends* on the right congressional committees - Listen Up congress, we don't need friends - we got treaty rights!;
8. So lofty promises on Indian Education - not sure where he's going to get the money for this but who knows, I guess the printing presses at Treasury are running pretty good;
9. a general promise of help to Indian Country communities - again, if the funding is there, more government dependence? again just general promises;
10. promise to Native American Vets - anyone remember Walter Reed Hospital?;
11. A promise to never forget us. (well, this one is interesting - maybe he can do an update column each month in Indian Country Today, so we can all remain informed on exactly what he's doing and/or has in mind for Indian Country)

Well, I guess we will see - trust is based on conduct and let's face it, political promises do not amount to action on his part - so we will see. One promise he didn't make was to leave us alone to develop our own identity and preserve our own culture or to develop our own economic communities without strings attached to any federal funds that may come down the road - so we will see, we will see.

Hope for the Native Nations does not lie with Obama, it lies with each and every Native American to make inroads into the US political process - Rep Tom Cole has been alone far to long in Congress and needs lots of company.

So we will see!