One in four Native Americans is living in poverty and the high school graduation rate is 67 percent, the lowest of any racial group. The second leading cause of death for Native Americans between the ages of 15–24 is suicide. One in three Native women will be raped in her lifetime; most of the offenders are non-Native. Most federal programs for tribal nations are underfunded, which has led to inadequate housing, healthcare, education, and law enforcement. I will fight for the following policies to support Native Tribes:
Support Tribal Sovereignty and Tribal Jurisdiction: Tribes must have the ability to prosecute non-Native people who commit crimes on tribal land, and have greater jurisdiction over prosecuting all crimes, including family disputes. We need to encourage the continual development of the U.S. Department of Justice Tribal Access Program for National Crime Information to provide tribes with access to national crime information systems for both civil and criminal purposes.
Uphold the Trust Responsibility: We must honor the treaties and federal statutes that are the foundation of the trust relationship. We need to maintain a White House Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs to ensure that tribal issues are consistently addressed and coordinated throughout the federal government.
Improve Housing: I will fight for increased local control over the administration and operation of tribal housing programs and for full funding of the Indian Housing Block Grant Program.
Strengthen Education: In order to create economic opportunities, we must invest in education from early childhood through higher education. We must fight to fully fund the Bureau of Indian Education and strengthen self-determination to enable culturally tailored learning unique to each tribal nation and help to retain qualified teachers for Native youth. We should build upon the integrated work of the Generation Indigenous Initiative to ensure that every Native American child can reach their full potential. We should fight for plans that allow students to refinance federal debt, lower interest rates, triple federal work-study jobs, and provide for free tuition at all public colleges and universities.
Improve Healthcare: Healthcare is a human right. We should support a Medicare-for-all system that would complement the healthcare provided by the Indian Health Service. We need to work to fully fund the Indian Health Service, strengthen regional management and recruitment of committed IHS health care personnel, demand audits of IHS operations, and ensure that Native Americans have adequate, safe, and affordable access to primary care providers, including oral health and mental health practitioners as well as substance abuse treatment options.
Restore Tribal Lands: All tribes must have the right to protect and restore their lands. I support streamlining the land-trust transfer process and will work to reverse the Carcieri Supreme Court decision that resulted in an unjust two-tier system of tribes.
Advance Economic Development: I believe we should invest in upgrading our roads and bridges, drinking water and wastewater, freight and passenger rail, and electric, telecommunications and broadband networks, creating millions of good-paying jobs across the country. Such investment will help address the “digital divide,” where lack of internet access means that Native American communities are at risk of falling even further behind in their ability to access employment, educational, and assorted opportunities made available by modern information technology. Lastly, all federal grants open to state and local governments will also be open to tribes.
Protect Sacred Places and Native American Cultures: Native Americans must be empowered to maintain and pass on traditional religious beliefs, languages and social practices without fear of discrimination or suppression. Native children are the future of tribal nations; the Indian Child Welfare Act is critical to survival and must be enforced with the original intent of the law. Furthermore, tribal cultures, sacred places, religious practices, and landscapes must be federally protected.
Expand Consultation: Examine the Executive Order 13175 “Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments” to ensure that consultation means more than mere listening sessions. Moreover, all voices — tribal leadership and grassroots alike — must be heard. Expand the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference that brings tribal leaders, cabinet members and the White House together to find solutions to common problems.
Promote Voting Rights: stand with Native Americans to fight for Indian voting rights, and defend the enfranchisement of minority communities across the country.
Fight Racism: end the scourge of bias and discrimination against Native peoples in federally funded institutions. Eliminate offensive public school mascots that reflect outdated stereotypes and perpetuate racism against Native Americans.