Ron Allen: No longer endorsing Sen. McCain
The following was released by the Barack Obama campaign today.
To My Friends in Indian Country:
For the past 30 years, I have had the privilege to serve as the Tribal Chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and for the past 25, I have served as their Executive Director. I have been committed to several of our national and regional organizations and over the years it has been by honor to serve as President and as Treasurer for the National Congress of American Indians.
Throughout all of this, I have been a member of the Republican party. I was honored to serve as a member of John McCain’s advisory committee for Native American issues. While I remain a personal friend to John McCain, my commitment to Indian Country must guide my actions.
As a result, I will not be voting for my party’s nominee on November 4th. I have engaged in a great deal of heartfelt deliberation with respect to who would be the best leader for our nation including their platforms, campaigns, position statements and commitments. I have decided to endorse Senator Barack Obama. I believe he does represent true, sincere and positive change for Indian Country.
I have informed the McCain campaign of my decision. I strongly believe that Senator Obama has shown leadership and foresight on issues impacting tribal communities and an unprecedented commitment to working with tribal nations. It is truly rare that a candidate comes along who shuns the status quo and is dedicated to fundamentally changing federal Indian law and policy for the betterment of tribal communities. Senator Obama is that candidate.
I have always been driven to do what is best for my Tribe and for Indian Country. The last eight years have been a deep disappointment regarding its impact on our rights and our interests, including the decisions of the Supreme Court. President Bush has failed to act with our interests in mind and Senator McCain has not engaged Indian Country nor prioritized our issues within his campaign.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, has been actively engaging our community from the beginning. He respects tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, noting that our relationships must be on a “nation to nation” to basis. Those words reflect a fundamental respect for Indian Country that has been missing for the last eight years.
And we must look at what is happening throughout this great country. Our economy is in state of disarray, our international allies look at us with distrust, and we have failed to protect our environment. On issue after issue, it is clear that Barack Obama will best lead Indian Country and America, and bring us the change we all need.
W. “Ron” Allen