The 2016 Election Cycle has been quite a wild ride. News Networks kept saying this election cycle is like nothing they’ve ever seen before. The election definitely lived up to that hype.
We came to the point where the two main nominees in the bi-partisan style presidential race were a woman with 30 years of experience in the political arena, arguably the most qualified candidate to date, and a business man with no political background, a brazen reality television star billionaire. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are very polarizing figures in politics, both posting the high unfavorable ratings even within their own parties, yet the final two candidates in the presidential race. (Sorry, Third party candidates there just isn’t enough support for a multiparty system) As the election came and went the virtual landslide for Clinton never happened and the Electoral College essentially gave Trump the election. The popular votes tally today with Clinton ahead nearly 2.5 Million votes. As I reflect on the Election it is almost surreal to comprehend how America got to this point.
As a Native American Woman I saw a lot of flaws in the President- Elect Donald Trump. I did not see his vision of America. In fact I still do not understand how he was elected, because as I reread all his campaign promises and positions on key issues I was baffled by the ideas he put forward. Overall I thought of all the reasons why I was not in the Trump camp and why I did not vote for him. There were quite a lot of reasons from his stances on key issues and the rhetoric and tone his campaign displayed throughout the election cycle.
As a Woman, as a millennial, as a Native American, and all the other labels I consider myself there were too many reasons to count why I would not vote for Trump. As the election is over I wanted to point out issues, specifically for Native Americans, which would be affecting my community. These are issues that I think are the most important to watch over the course of a Trump Presidency, because Native Americans are at high risk of losing many rights that were guaranteed through the constitution, Treaties, and laws written over the last century.
5 Issues Native Americans Will Face Under Trump:
1. Invalidating Native American Identity
In 1993 Trump stated in a Senate Subcommittee Meeting on Gaming that some Natives did not look native to him and alleged that Native Gaming was a front to organized crime organizations. His shameless attempt to knock down Native owned casinos as his casinos filed for bankruptcy, was just the beginning of his disdain for Native Americans as he questions the Native Gaming Commission and even falsely stated that Native Americans do not have to pay taxes. His testimony called into question the recognition of Native American tribes and their rights granted by the government under treaties, bills, and court cases in the Supreme Court. As Trump becomes the President he will have the power to end treaties and negate all Native American laws and bills. This would be detrimental to Native Communities.
2. His Investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline
Donald Trump has $500,000 tied to the parent company of the pipeline Energy Transfer Partners. As so many tribes and nations came together to protest the building of the pipeline that would in directly violate a current treaty with the United States, this is something dear to all native nations who are looking to preserve their sovereignty. The CEO of Energy Transfer Partners fully believes that a President Trump will allow his Pipeline to be built and will allow the company to break treaty rights of hundreds to do so.
3. Donald Trump is for Privatizing Native Reservations
If it wasn’t enough that the government have been continuously taking pieces of land granted to Native Americans through treaties, Donald Trump wants Native Nations to privatize so tribes can sell off the land to companies for development, including oil companies. Privatization will “allow” tribes to sell land back to the government to sell to companies. Basically buying land granted to Native Americans in treaties for pennies on the dollar to make the government a profit without violating treaties.
4. Privatizing Medicare and Repealing Obamacare
For all its flaws the Affordable Care Act did allow for the government to add funding to Indian Health Service (HIS) Hospitals and Clinics to better serve Native American Communities. With a repeal and privatization of Medicare, Funding for IHS could very well be cut in order to fund the new system leaving thousands of natives without healthcare.
5. Invading Tribal Sovereignty
One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises boasted a wall that would be built along our southern border. Not only is this plan absurd, but it would directly cross the Tohono O’odham Nation Land. In order for Trump’s wall to be put up he would have to get the Nation to cooperate or force the Nation to leave its land to build his wall.