The Indianapolis Star interviews Wilma Mankiller, the first woman to serve as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, about the presidential campaign and Indian issues.
"Question: In your endorsement of Sen. Hillary Clinton earlier this year, you mentioned her stances on health care and tribal sovereignty as things that impressed you. How would you assess each of the current candidates' stances on those issues?
Answer: Senator Obama's health proposals are fairly similar to Hillary Clinton's, so I'm much more comfortable with what he's proposing for health care. On tribal issues, he has consulted with a number of tribal advisers that I think will give him good policy advice . . . and has reaffirmed his support for tribal governments.
Senator McCain is a strong advocate for tribal sovereignty, as well. He has a very good position on tribal sovereignty -- on health care, not so much.
Q: Do you think Native Americans' concerns -- tribal sovereignty, health care, business development, education -- are things that the candidates have addressed adequately?
A: They're just now beginning to focus more on the economy and the large question of what needs to be done to generally stimulate the economy. I think we'll see more discussion from this point forward, given the current crisis. But, to me, a lot of the presidential campaign has been a lot about nonsense -- you know, who's the real maverick and that sort of thing. And the country has so many serious, deep and abiding problems that it seems like an incredible waste of time and talent to spend time on silly things like that."
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Q & A: Wilma Mankiller
(The Indianapolis Star 9/28)