ST. PAUL — On a virtual campaign round-table with the Democratic National Committee's Native American Caucus, Jill Biden said that should her husband Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden win in November, he will commit to increasing Native representation in Washington, upholding tribal sovereignty and meeting treaty obligations.
Joining Biden and DNC members at the Tuesday, July 21 virtual event was Minnesota's U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, as well as U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, who is one of two Native women serving in Congress today. DNC Native American Caucus Chair Rion Ramirez stressed the importance of the Native vote come November, urging listeners to get to the polls (or mail absentee ballots), and Biden asserted her husband's commitment to Indian Country.
Should Joe Biden win the presidency in November, Jill Biden said he will commit to preserving natural landmarks and sites of cultural and spiritual significance, increasing efforts to combat the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women crisis and increasing treaty-obligated resources for Native people's health care and children's education. She also said he will "ensure that tribal nations have a strong voice" in federal government, from the Department of Interior to the Department of Justice.
"Tribal nations and communities have shown their power time and time again, and our government should be your partner in this struggle for justice, not your adversary," Biden said Tuesday.
She pointed at the current administration, saying that President Donald Trump's White House "has betrayed your (Native American) community" by "excluding tribal voices from shaping policy, to abandoning tribal nations during the world’s worst pandemic in a lifetime, leaving Indian Country with the highest COVID rates in the nation."
On the other hand, she asserted, "Joe Biden stands with Indian Country," stressing a need to uphold tribal sovereignty and fulfill treaty obligations.
"He knows that fulfilling the promises and treaties that we have made is decency," she said. "That’s a starting point. Tribal nations should govern Native communities. Our government should be a partner to you and a source of support. We should actively be working to empower you with the resources you need."
Ramirez concluded the call with a push to both urban Native Americans and those on reservations: "Make sure that Indian Country is heard from up and down the ticket in your state."
"We are going to change the dynamic of this election," Ramirez said. "Vice President Biden is going to win because of the Native American vote. So let’s get out. Let’s vote."