Editorial Board of the Native American Times 12/30/2003
A strong belief in tribes as sovereign governments must be first and foremost in the mind of our country’s top leader to understand the complex relationship Indian Country has with our federal government. Treaty obligations with tribes are seldom understood by most political leaders, which can lead to a deterioration of this relationship and dire circumstances for Indian Country. There is one candidate running for President who not only understands it, he has enforced treaty agreements and sovereign rights of other nations around the world. As the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations (NATO) Supreme Commander, Wesley Clark put his own safety at risk while supporting treaty agreements between nations around the world. This is one of many reasons why the Native American Times endorses Wesley Clark for President of the United States.
While death loomed close to him, General Wesley Clark helped save 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, all without losing one American soldier. He is proven to be a remarkable leader. If words are a person’s bond and actions even more telling, then Clark is the clear choice from a Native and non-Native American perspective. If our country truly seeks peace, it will need a proven peacemaker. Only Clark fills that role.
Indian people share a common ground with Clark and his military service. Native Americans have volunteered for service, during peacetime and wartime, in greater numbers than any other racial group. Most of us know someone in our community or have a Native friend or relative currently in the armed forces. Clark appreciates the commitment Native Americans have displayed in defending their country and has expressed it on numerous occasions.
Like most United States citizens we want a leader who takes serious consideration before sending our young men and women to war. Clark has a deep understanding of the dangerous world we live in and is best prepared to win the war and win the peace. Sometimes it takes more courage to negotiate, than to simply fire your weapon. It was clearly evident during Clark’s management of the crisis in Kosovo.
The United States’ obligation to Indian country covers many areas that are essential for the well-being of Indian country. Clark is solid on health issues and shares our views on increased funding for the Indian Health Service and stands for increasing the quality of education in Indian Country. Clark has a plan that includes working directly with tribes on these issues because he believes they have the best understanding of how to help their people.
Clark has talked in poignant detail about the depressing statistics facing Indian people on crime. He understands the unique and shameful way Native American men, women and children are victimized in Indian communities. With overlapping jurisdictions and a critical gap in understanding by federal and state authorities, tribal courts and police officers must live with an unfunded mandate that neither acknowledges the source of the problem in Indian country nor the solution.
If Clark brings that same respect for international sovereignty to the sovereign Indian nations, he is not only the best candidate for Indian people; he is the best candidate for all Americans.
Four states (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and North Dakota) with huge Native American populations will hold their primary elections on February 3rd. Indian people have been the margin of victory for many high profile races across this country and this race promises to be close. This time, Indian voters can literally help determine who will be the next President of the United States.
This is a historic opportunity to make a difference for yourselves and your children.
The Native American Times without hesitation endorses the candidacy
of Wesley Clark.
NTN Article#: 3445
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Copyright © 2003 Oklahoma Indian Times, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted by Permission of Louis Gray.
Liz Gray, Native American
Times' founder and publisher
Louis Gray, Managing Editor