Democrat Elizabeth Warren floats plan to empower Native Americans
Send a link to a friend
[August 17, 2019]
By Valerie Volcovici
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Democratic
presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Friday unveiled her latest
policy plan, which aims to empower Native American tribes through land
protection and law enforcement reforms and boost financial support for
chronically underfunded health and education programs.
The Massachusetts senator, who faced criticism before launching her
presidential campaign for claiming Native American heritage, said the
United States has failed to honor its legal and moral responsibility to
protect tribal nations and indigenous people.
"Washington owes Native communities a fighting chance to build stronger
communities and a brighter future," she said in a Medium post outlining
her plan ahead of a Native American presidential forum next week.
Warren's Cherokee Nation heritage claims have dogged her since her since
her first Senate run in 2012 - and intensified after President Donald
Trump seized on the criticism and repeatedly called her "Pocahontas." In
February she apologized to Cherokee leaders and took a DNA test in a
widely criticized effort to prove her Native American ancestry.
Earlier this month Warren won a key endorsement from New Mexico
Representative Deb Haaland, one of two Native American women in
Part of Warren's plan includes a legislative proposal, which she will
introduce with Haaland in Congress later this year. It would guarantee
federal funds for Indian health, education, roads and other programs
that are usually at the mercy of annual Congressional budget fights and
elevate tribal affairs to a Cabinet-level priority.
It also aims to strengthen tribal sovereignty by reversing actions taken
by the Trump administration to allow energy development over tribal
concerns and strengthening the ability of tribes to block projects.
[to top of second column]
2020 Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) walks over to voters during a town hall
meeting in Franconia, New Hampshire, U.S., August 14, 2019. REUTERS/
She said she would revoke the presidential permits that have allowed
the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines to proceed, reverse
Trump's reduction of national monuments, including Bears Ears -
which had been formed by a consortium of southwestern tribes, and
protect sacred tribal areas like New Mexico's Chaco Canyon from
Warren's plan would also boost federal funding to help tribal
governments buy back land and hold it in federal trust.
Her plan also aims to boost tribal sovereignty by reforming the
tribal justice system. Her plan would give tribes - not the federal
government - jurisdiction over crimes committed on their land by
non-Native citizens and funding to strengthen tribal legal systems.
She also announced on Friday she would create a nationwide Missing
Indigenous Woman Alert System modeled after the Amber Alert for
missing children to tackle the crisis of missing indigenous women.
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.