Bernie Sanders discusses Indian issues at rally on Navajo Nation

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses supporters on the Navajo Nation on March 17, 2016. Courtesy photo

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his campaign to the Navajo Nation on Thursday and promised to address tribal issues if he wins the November election.

Sanders drew a large crowd to the town hall at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort in Flagstaff. He addressed supporters outside and inside because the room wasn't able to accommodate everyone, according to news reports.

“Native American people have been lied to, cheated, and negotiated treaties have been broken,” Sanders said, The Arizona Daily Sun reported. “Often, Native American people have not been heard on issues that affect their communities. They have been told what to do, they have not been involved in the process.”

Sanders and rival Hillary Clinton have been reaching out to Native voters. Both Sanders and Clinton have developed Indian platforms and have hired Native staff and Native advisors. Many of their ideas are similar in that they promise to continue the gains made during the Obama administration.

Sanders, though, is the only one so far who has visited Indian Country during the campaign. But he's trailing Clinton in the pledged delegate count, according to The New York Times, and is banking on wins in states like Arizona to come from behind. Clinton's campaign has said it is working to bring the candidate to Indian Country.

Native Americans represent 5.3 percent of the population in Arizona, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Flagstaff is located in Arizona's 1st Congressional district, which is home to more Native Americans than any other in the country. Flagstaff is also the seat of Coconino County, where Native Americans represent 27.3 percent of the population.

The Democratic primary in Arizona is on Tuesday.

Get the Story:
In Arizona, Sanders woos Native Americans (AP 3/18)
Bernie Sanders talks Native American issues, minimum wage at Twin Arrows rally (The Arizona Daily Sun 3/18)
Bernie Sanders accuses an Arizona sheriff of ‘un-American’ tactics (The Washington Post 3/18)
Bernie Sanders, in Arizona, Takes On Sheriff Joe Arpaio (The New York Times 3/18)

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