“U.S. policy has for too long broken trust with tribal nations. It’s time to choose a different path,” Biden has stated. (Photo Courtesy Joe Biden’s editorial for Medium, “I stand with Mashpee — and with all of Indian Country.”)
Joe Biden has won the presidency.
Cinching 20 electoral votes in Pennsylvania pushed Biden past the 270 votes necessary to take the White House.
He will serve as the forty-sixth President of the United States. Senator Kamala Harris, the daughter of a Black father and an Indian-American mother, will make history as the first woman elected Vice-President.
Biden is slated to deliver his victory speech at 8 p.m. EST tonight.
“America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country,” Biden stated upon winning. “The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me.”
There is no overstating the magnitude of tasks ahead of Biden and Harris.
As former President Barack Obama put it, “We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has — a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril.”
Obama continued: “I encourage every American to give him a chance and lend him your support to lower the temperature and find some common ground.”
Heartfelt emotion erupted across TVs upon the announcement of the news. CNN commentator Van Jones, who was an Obama White House staffer, welled up with tears.
“Well, it’s easier to be a parent this morning,” Jones said. “It’s easier to be a dad. It’s easier to tell your kids that character matters. Telling the truth matters. Being a good person matters. And it’s easier for a whole lot of people. If you’re Muslim in this country, you don’t have to worry about if the president doesn’t want you here.”
Jones also gave a shout out to Native American voters:
“You see those blue dots in Arizona? Those are Native American reservations. The Native American community played a tremendous role,” Jones said.
Numerous Native American nonprofit organizations and initiatives played a role in encouraging Native voter turnout. Pivotal to Biden’s outreach to Indian Country has been Clara Pratte, whom the Biden Campaign named Tribal engagement director in July.
(Pratte is currently the Founder and CEO of Strongbow Strategies, and was named to Native Business Magazine’s Top 50 Entrepreneurs in 2019. She was also profiled in Native Business Magazine last year and appeared on Episode 10 of the Native Business Podcast.)
Biden’s victory is crucial for many Tribes, though most notably the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, which endured a bitter battle for its sovereign right to land over the past two years of the Trump Administration.
A key focus of The Biden-Harris Plan for Tribal Nations is restoring and taking land into trust — a fundamental responsibility of the United States as a federal trustee to Indian Country.
Biden-Harris intend to build on the achievements of the Obama-Biden Administration, which took 542,000 acres of land into trust for Tribes — including land that the Trump Administration then tried to take away from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
“We certainly believe the Biden-Harris Administration will restore our land, respect Tribal sovereignty, protect missing and murdered Indigenous women, and economic development,” Cromwell told Native Business.
As Biden expressed in March: “Upholding tribal self-governance and sovereignty, respecting tribal reserved rights in treaties, and supporting the federal trust responsibility to tribal nations should be the cornerstones of our federal tribal policy. That’s why, as president, I will support a clean Carcieri fix. I stand with Mashpee — and with all of Indian Country.”