Mrs. Cindy McCain, Vice President Biden, Senator Harris meet with veterans Lorencita Murphy (Navajo) and Alfred Urbina (Pascua Yaqui) at the Native American Veterans Memorial at the Heard Museum.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris’ “Soul of the Nation Bus Tour” to visit small business owners and workers across the country stopped in Arizona this week. The Biden-Harris Campaign spoke with local entrepreneurs and Tribal leaders, in addition to visiting the American Indian Veterans National Memorial at the Heard Museum, paying tribute to Native Americans that served the United States in battle. The runnings mates were joined by Cindy McCain.
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“Small businesses in this community, and in all communities, are responsible for more jobs… than major corporations. You add it up — for real — small businesses create more jobs in America than the major corporate entities,” Biden told gathered small business owners.
Hopi Tribal Chairman Timothy Nuvangyaoma said that “it spoke volumes that they chose to meet with Tribal Nations, with some of the Tribal leaders here in Arizona, to understand and maybe learn a little bit more about some of the impacts on us,” he told AZCentral, adding, “I think our time with them was valuable,” just as long as Tribes aren’t forgotten after the elections.
On Thursday, Biden and Harris released a 15-page plan for Tribal Nations noting how they would:
- Strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship
- Provide reliable, affordable, quality health care and address health disparities
- Restore Tribal lands, address climate change, and safeguard natural and cultural resources
- Ensure Native communities are safer and tackle the crisis of violence against Native women, children, and the elderly
- Expand economic opportunity and community development in Native communities
- Invest in education and youth engagement
- Meet obligations to and commemorate Native veterans
- Ensure Native Americans can exercise their right to vote
“The United States of America was founded on the notion of equality for all. We’ve always strived to meet that ideal, but never fully lived up to it. Throughout our history, this promise has been denied to Native Americans who have lived on this land since time immemorial,” states the plan. “And the pandemic highlighted this long history of inequity as it devastated Tribal nations — Native Americans contracted the disease at 3.5 times the rate of white Americans, and in some states, they are dying at a rate five times their population share.”
The Biden-Harris plan calls for increasing funding for the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service, and to make that funding mandatory.
The plan also entails the expansion and development of economic and community development in Indian Country. “The pandemic has hit Indian Country especially hard, with over half of all Native Americans working in gaming and other tourism and hospitality industries that have been especially devastated. The Trump Administration only made matters worse by failing to get Tribes critical funding for months and making it harder for many Tribal small businesses to get relief,” states the plan. “As President, Biden will work with Tribes to provide the resources and assistance they need to dismantle long-standing economic challenges, including deficient infrastructure, housing instability, unemployment, and insufficient access to capital, and instead create opportunity across Indian Country.”
“We need a uniter and our country needs healing. The Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations makes it clear, Vice President Biden and Senator Harris will heal the deep wounds of this nation, work with Tribal communities, and bring us through these troubled times,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.
Biden for President will be holding a virtual community event to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day featuring prominent speakers from across Indian Country as well as a Native Peoples Concert. The celebration begins at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST; sign up online here.