Ernie Stevens, Jr., Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association. Photo by Levi Rickert
Published July 17, 2019
WASHINGTON — National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., issued the following statement after the passage of House Resolution 489, regarding President Trump’s divisive comments directed at Members of Congress.
“The National Indian Gaming Association denounces the comments directed towards respected female Members of Congress. They are American citizens, duly elected by their fellow citizens, and they deserve better treatment from the Office of the President. Coming off of a historic election where the first two female Native Americans were elected to the Congress, we should be honoring the strength of this Country represented by one of the most diverse Congress’ in this Nation’s history.
The idea of America would not have been possible if it weren’t for the fact that Native Nations welcomed the first European settlers fleeing their home countries for a better life. The original sin of slavery and hatred directed at groups of immigrants stunted our growth.
For Indian Country, the violation of treaties, theft of lands, and devastating genocide against Native peoples left an indelible stain on the Nation’s honor. The xenophobic federal policies of forced assimilation authorized the government-sanctioned separation of Native children from their families where they were forbidden from speaking their language or practicing their religion.
Urging certain groups to return to their countries of origin conjures up the dark images of this Nation’s past injustices and intolerance.
Tuesday’s United States of America is better than our past. We are a Nation of diverse and multi-racial citizens who seek the common goal of Equality and Dignity as a united people.
While our government has not always adhered to it, the foundation of the United States rests on a notion that all people are created equal with the ability to determine our own destiny. We owe it to all of our ancestors, indigenous and immigrant, to strive every day to live up to the inherent promise of our Nation’s foundation: The United States is a home for all who strive for equality regardless of color, sex, or ethnicity. May the Creator bless the United States of America and its enduring principles shared by all citizens of this great Nation.”