I would to one day see an Native American run for President of the United States. The only noteworthy person of Indian descent whom you have probably never heard of was the 31st Vice-President of the United States, Charles Curtis. Curtis served as a U.S. Representative and elected as a United States Senator born in Kansas territory rather than the state. His mother was of the Kaw Nation, and he is the only embodiment of a Native American making their way up the political ladder. Why is this group not more represented in the political system?
There have been few individuals of Indian descent to hold office in the Senate. Most of which their tribal ancestry is swept under the rug and kept in the closet to not discourage voters. Currently serving there is only two Native Americans holding a seat in the 114th Congress, Thomas Cole of the Chickasaw Nation and Markwayne Mullin of the Cherokee Nation. There are 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 100 seats in the Senate. There are roughly 5.4 million Native Americans in the United States, 326 established reservations, 566 tribes, and 2 representatives that speak on their behalf. Where is the fairness in these numbers? Where is the representation of 2% of the population? Why does the Native American not have a bigger presents in the political arena? Funding perhaps, maybe there is no big name firms willing to back an Indian candidate? Fear of the “red man’s” agenda, maybe? Either way, the scales are unbalanced, and the winds of change need to blow.
This conundrum is almost a double standard. If you register with a tribe, and live on the reservation, those reservations are viewed as sovereign nations. As a sovereign nation you are not allowed a voice and in most instances deprived a vote when it comes to politics. Throughout the year President have invited tribal council leaders to the White House to discuss matter that affect them, but this is all pomp and circumstance. It may as well be a dog and pony show in the oval office because nothing ever gets truly resolved.
We need a better presence in this field. We need to let our voices be heard. We need to raise the hard questions to the government. Why is it that the nation average income for a Native American family is $37,227 when the nation as a whole averages an income of $53,657? Why is it the case that most of the Indian Nation is living in not only poverty but also lack health coverage? Almost a quarter of the whole American Indian population does not have health insurance and cannot afford to be seen by a traditional doctor. What is being done about this? Why are these facts not in the news? The answer is simple, because the Native American race as a whole is being oppressed but the government. Our heritage needs to be preserved; with the government taking our land, our traditions and the heart and soul of our nations, pretty soon we too will go the way of the buffalo. If we do not gain the respect and representation in Congress and the political arena as a whole our entire way of life will be near extinction.