David Wilkins: Obama's support in Indian Country
"eing trained in the art, not science, of politics I was transfixed at the recent election of Barack Obama. I studied the campaigns of both major parties during the last two long years of America’s highly partisan politics, and I observed and sought to comprehend the import of the ever increasing involvement of Native nations and Native individuals in American politics. Obama’s unprecedented rise and striking defeat of John McCain, aided and abetted by the indigenous vote, begs for critical analysis.

The incendiary race between Obama and McCain, each of whom had shown a spirited interest (in the past if not always the present) in Native issues, notwithstanding our paltry numbers and ambivalent status as extra-constitutional sovereigns whose citizens are also American citizens, was a sight to behold for America and much of the world as well.

As the original nations of the Americas, whose citizens only gradually and usually under undue pressure, were extended the federal and state franchise, I was fascinated to see how many native political leaders, commentators, academics, and regular “Joe the ‘tribal officials’” openly, emotionally and emphatically embraced – and in the Crow Nation’s case, actually adopted – one of the candidates.

I have been closely examining the campaign and election results in an effort to identify and comprehend the factors that compelled so many Native nations and individual Indians to vest their political fortunes with either McCain or Obama, and figure out why Obama received the lion’s share of indigenous political support"

Get the Story:
David E. Wilkins: The how and why of Obama’s Native support (Indian Country Today 11/24)

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