Obama has had a wealth of endorsements from so many Native people and Native organizations, that it might not be surprising, but I'm still glad they did it. Indian Country Today makes a point in the article to point out that McCain has, in the past, supported Native issues, but has not decided to make Native people an important part of his plans for the next four years.
In contrast, they praise Obama as having "redefined American politics:"
"American Indian voters, especially those who support Obama, seized their right to vote like never before and have embraced political participation as a new ethic. We are certain that Native voters will make a noticeable difference in the presidential race and in local ones as well... Throughout this long campaign, Obama did not just talk about Indian issues; he talked with Native peoples and brought their messages to the national stage."
What was a little surprising to me is that Indian Country Today came out strongly criticizing Palin's recent moves in the endorsement:
"Palin is both embraced and criticized by Native people. Much of the praise for Palin stems from her husband’s Yup’ik heritage and the inference that she will be sympathetic to Indian rights as vice president. Her detractors point to a record of opposing the subsistence rights of Alaska Natives. Palin’s involvement in a state ethics investigations and her willingness to exploit xenophobic conservative themes at campaign appearances add more reason for concern. If McCain’s selection of Palin was an attempt to attract Clinton supporters, it was an alarming miscalculation and an insult to that educated, open-minded voting bloc."
Some may not be surprised - it is, after all, quite true. But I didn't expect them to come out so strongly on the vice-presidential candidate. Such is the nature of Palin's inaction and stands against Native issues. It is also one of many in a line of endorsements (one of the more notable being Colin Powell) that come out strongly against Sarah Palin.
Mudflats recently posted on the Alaska Federation of Natives convention - the biggest Native gathering of the year in Alaska. She does a good job of giving a face to some of the attitudes behind Alaska Native people right now and Sarah Palin.
Obama himself actually wrote a nice piece in Indian Country Today, talking more about his Native American policies.
Another Indian Country Today Obama piece (they've had some good ones lately) about "real reason" Indians support Obama (don't know if I really agree with this one, but it is thought-provoking, nontheless.)
If you are wondering about more positions on the candidates and Native policies, check out my earlier posts for starters. There are opinions, but also a lot of links to their official statements (include to the side.)
In any case, the Native vote will be an important one in this election, and winds seem to be blowing in the direction of change.