Forum Columnist Answers Trump’s Question on What Native Americans Have to Lose by Voting against Sen. Heitkamp

Senator Heidi Heitkamp is a member of the U.S. Senate Commitee on Indian Affairs. – Photo courtesy of Senate Indian Affair


Published September 11, 2018

FARGO, N.D.  — On Monday, Forum columnist Mike McFeely spotlighted the president’s misleading attack regarding U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s record on Native American issues. In the Senate, Heidi has been a fierce advocate f0r Native Americans – successfully pushing for a commission to address challenges facing Native children, passing legislation to expand AMBER Alerts and raising awareness about the epidemic of murdered and missing indigenous women. Read more below:

Forum: McFeely: What do Native Americans have to lose with Cramer? A lot

  • “What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump asked Native American voters in North Dakota at a brief stump stop for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Cramer.
  • And like 2016, Trump framed his question in fatalistic, bleak terms. He essentially told Native Americans that their lives are so terrible—drugs, crime, poverty, poor education—that they might as well vote for Cramer because things couldn’t get any worse. Except that, they can. And likely will if Cramer is elected.
  • What the hell do they have to lose? An advocate in the Senate for starters. A voice. An ally. Somebody who has made Native American issues one of the centerpieces of her stay in the Senate.
  • While Cramer has taken a dismissive, at best, and sometimes confrontational stance with North Dakota’s tribes—he issued a sort-of apology after a condescending, accusatory discussion with tribal members about domestic violence on the Spirit Lake Reservation several years ago—Heitkamp has kept Native American issues at the forefront.
  • She’s a member of the Indian Affairs Committee, an assignment she’s held since shortly after being elected in 2012. The first bill Heitkamp introduced, a bipartisan one, called for a commission on Native children.
  • She worked with Republican Sen. John McCain to expand AMBER Alerts to reservations. She recently introduced Savanna’s Act to protect missing and murdered Native women in the wake of the horrific murder of Fargo’s Savanna Greywind. Heitkamp supported greater protections for Native American women in the Violence Against Women Act. She’s fought for better federal law enforcement presence in Indian Country.
  • And Cramer? He’s so sympathetic to Native Americans that he told a gathering at Spirit Lake he didn’t feel safe on the reservation because he’s white, in the midst of lecturing a domestic abuse survivor on the constitutionality of tribal provisions in the Violence Against Women Act.
  • What the hell do Native Americans have to lose by voting for Cramer? A hell of a lot.

Related: Trump Panders for Native American Votes in North Dakota

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