Elizabeth Warren addresses the Native American Caucus during the Democratic Convention

The push is on to unify Native Americans with promises that a Biden administration will listen to Indian Country.

Published: August 18, 2020 7:22pm

Updated: April 27, 2021 3:02pm

On the second day of the Democratic Convention, Joe Biden's presidential rival, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has had to flip flop on her Native American heritage, and even apologized when she kicked off her presidential campaign, addressed the Democratic Native American Caucus.

Before she took the stage, the chat room for the DNC remote-video event warned viewers to not criticize Warren over her heritage.

Warren pledged to the Native American Caucus that a Biden administration will "listen" to them and they will have a voice in a Biden White House. 

"Joe Biden always tells you where he stands and he has told us he stands with Indian Country," Warren told the caucus. 

The 2020 Democratic Platform lays out those numerous promises.  

"Democrats are committed to honoring, upholding, and strengthening the United States’ trust obligations to Tribal Nations and communities, as enshrined in the Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, and case law," reads the platform. 

"Democrats recognize and support the sovereignty of Tribal Nations and pledge to work on a nation-to-nation basis to empower Indigenous peoples, increase economic development in Tribal Nations, and protect Tribal lands, assets, resources, and treaty rights."

Warren argued that the Trump administration challenged the promises made to the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe. And she vowed Biden would honor is stated platform that says, "We honor and support the great Indigenous traditions all across the country. We stand with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and all Tribal Nations in rejecting the Trump administration’s efforts to remove land that had been put into trust by the Obama-Biden Administration."

Warren was joined by the only two Native American women serving in the House – Democrat Deborah Haaland, of New Mexico, and Sharice Davids, of Kansas, both of whom Warren praised for their efforts on behalf of Native Americans.

"Sharice has steadfastly championed in Congress" on behalf of Native Americans, Warren said. 

Haaland served as Warren's 2020 presidential campaign co-chairperson. 

Warren called out the Trump administration for what she considers "failing" Native Americans. 

Some tribal leaders in the caucus accused the administration of bulldozing their sacred burial site on the U.S. southern border to build the border wall. 

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Corey Booker and California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris joined the caucus. Each ran against Biden in the 2020 party presidential primary, and Harris is now Biden's presumptive vice-presidential candidate.  

"Biden is a reliable light," said Booker, while blaming President Trump for "the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous, black and brown communities." 

All elected officials encouraged an "Indian Country" grassroots support for the Biden-Harris ticket. 

Congresswomen Haaland noted the "land acknowledgement" section of their platform, calling it the "most progressive" and saying she voted for the platform. 

Haaland promised the Native American caucus that under a Biden it would see relief from COVID-19, noting that their community has been hit especially hard while reminding them that "Obama was heartfelt with Indian history and culture." 

Davids told the audience that  Biden will "re-establish the Tribal Nation Conference and restore decency to the White House" calling this election "the most consequential for long overdue systemic racism and a conversation on justice and injustice." 

Late in the program, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) claimed Trump had "deep rooted hate for Native Americans." 

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

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