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In The Hoop
APRIL 23, 2001

Welcome to In The Hoop, Indianz.Com's occasional column about assorted Indian issues.

Bruce Babbitt: 2004
In the halls of his alma mater Harvard University, Former Secretary of Interior Bruce Babbitt said on Sunday he wasn't interested in being a politician any more, ruling out a run for the Presidency in 2004.

But judging by his Earth Day lecture, received enthusiastically by the mostly White crowd, it doesn't look like he ever stopped being one. "I'm not running for anything, but I feel like I need to work the crowd," Babbitt told the VIPs in the front row as he proceeded to work the crowd.

(The seat reserved for Babbitt's son, a Harvard student, was conspicuously absent.)

In fact, the former Arizona Governor did everything but kiss babies. Had there been any in the audience, In The Hoop wouldn't have been surprised if he reached out and touched them.

The politicking didn't stop at the private reception held in Babbitt's honor after his lecture, either. He accepted gushing praise from one attendee who told him "that thing you did on roads in forests was the greatest" (it was USDA's doing) and eagerly welcomed inquiries to him at Latham & Walkins, the Washington, DC, law firm he now calls home.

No word yet on who Babbitt will be representing, but In The Hoop doubts many tribes can afford his services.

Calling all Republicans
Native America Calling host Harlan McKosato last week made an impassioned plea to the Republican Party, lamenting on the fact that the GOP continually rebuffs his show's attempt to solicit their views.

Given the GOPs apparent lack of knowledge about Indian Country, In The Hoop isn't surprised by their reluctance to go on air. We called up the GOP last week to ask about an April 16 press release, which said the party was trying to "sharpen focus" on minority voters.

Yet for some odd reason, no American Indians or Alaska Native had been invited to participate in a national meeting on the issue, the first of its kind for the party. A GOP spokesperson denied the lack of Indian presence was insensitive to the only group with a special legal relationship to the US government.

"The party and the chairman, [Virginia] Governor [Jim] Gilmore, are very committed to broadening the party amongst all minority groups," said Kevin Sheridan. "We are certainly looking to reach out to Native Americans."

"It just so happens that at this event, none of the panel guests happen to be Native American," he said.

Sheridan couldn't say when or how the GOP will reach out to Indian Country, saying the GOP is just beginning its new minority outreach effort, some four decades after American Indians in most states won the right to vote. (He also repeatedly referred to Alaska Natives as "Alaska Americans," but In The Hoop will leave that alone for now.)

As for NAC, a number of prominent Indian GOPers have indeed expressed their views on the show. It just so happens that the last one who did left halfway through the program because he said he had more important business to attend to.

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