DNC Joint Statement on Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. DNC Chair Tom Perez and Native American Caucus Chair Rion Ramirez released the following joint statement:

“Native American Heritage Month is a time to honor the cultures, traditions, and contributions of Native Americans to our country. From veterans and business owners to tribal leaders and civil rights activists, American Indians and Alaska Natives continue to shape our future every day. But while we pay tribute to the profound impact Native Americans have had on our country, we also reflect on the centuries of cruelty, violence, and suffering the community has experienced, often at the hands of our nation’s own government. We must never forget these darks chapters in our history, and we must continue to strengthen Tribal sovereignty and the self-determination of Tribal Nations.

“Sadly, the Trump administration has shown a profound disregard for the sovereign rights of Native Americans. The president has proposed a border wall that would cut through Native lands, a budget that called for more than $300 million in cuts to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Indian Affairs budget, and his advisors have repeatedly pushed for the privatization of Indian lands and resources.

“Democrats are committed to honoring, fulfilling, and strengthening the federal government’s trust responsibility to American Indians and Alaska Natives. We take this responsibility seriously. That’s why President Obama worked to restore over half a million acres of tribal trust lands, established the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference and passed the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization that gives tribal courts the jurisdiction to try non-Indians for domestic abuse against tribal citizens. Tribal communities have grown stronger because of Democrats’ deep commitment to nation-to-nation relationships. And the DNC has continued to build on President Obama’s progress. We’ve doubled the number of Native American at-large DNC members and created the committee’s first Native American Caucus. As we resist Trump’s disastrous agenda, Democrats will continue to stand with Indian Country and fight to expand opportunity for Native Americans.”