Growing Together: Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Building a Brighter Future for Native Americans
Hillary Clinton believes the United States has a sacred trust with Native Americans. She is committed to strengthening and building on the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian tribes, and believes the United States should fulfill its treaty obligations and trust responsibilities to Tribal Nations. She believes we need to break down all the barriers that hold Native Americans back and build ladders of opportunity for all Native American people. That includes removing obstacles that contribute to addiction, high unemployment and poverty rates on many reservations. At the core of Clinton’s agenda is a simple idea: every child in America should be able to live up to his or her God-given potential.
As President, Hillary will:
- Ensure Meaningful Tribal Consultation and Empowerment: Hillary will build on President Obama’s effort to engage in productive dialogue with Tribal officials by continuing to host the White House Tribal Nations Conference annually and commit to regular and meaningful consultation with Tribal officials in the development of federal policies that impact tribes. She believes Native Americans should be represented in the federal government to properly reflect their needs and views and will work to appoint Native Americans to key positions in federal agencies and nominate qualified judges who understand Tribal sovereignty and the government-to-government relationship.
- Protect Tribal Assets and Resources and Resolve Long-standing Disputes: Hillary will continue to work with tribes to settle litigation over breach of trust and mismanagement claims over trust assets and natural resources and to resolve other long-standing disputes. She will ensure that the Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency work collaboratively with tribes and Alaska Native communities to sustainably and cooperatively manage fish and wildlife and protect the air, water, and other natural resources in Indian Country. And Hillary will continue to stand for Tribal sovereignty and in support of Tribal resources and sacred sites.
- Strengthen Public Safety and Justice in Indian Country: One in every three Native American women are raped in their lifetime and the rate of aggravated assault among Native people is roughly twice that of the country as a whole. Hillary is committed to working with Tribal leaders and the appropriate federal agencies to improve public safety on Tribal lands. She supports the provisions in the Violence Against Women Act of 2013, which reaffirmed the inherent jurisdiction of Tribal courts in cases of domestic abuse within Tribal lands. She will also work to ensure that the unique needs of Alaska Native communities are adequately addressed.
- Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction: Drug and alcohol addiction rates for Native Americans are significantly higher than the country’s average. Hillary believes we must tackle this epidemic. That’s why she has proposed a $10 billion nationwide Initiative to Combat America’s Deadly Epidemic of Drug and Alcohol Addiction. Her comprehensive plan will empower Tribal Governments to help their own citizens by implementing preventive programming, investing in treatment and recovery, and ensuring that all first responders have access to naloxone.
- Increase Opportunity for Youth: Too many Native youth don’t feel like they really matter to America. Hillary will work to change that. She will continue to support the Generation Indigenous program that has made important strides in promoting new investments and increased engagement with Native American youth. Additionally, she will invest $20 billion to support new youth jobs and provide pathways of opportunity for young Americans, including Native youth. The Native American unemployment rate is nearly double the national average. With over 40 percent of the Native community under the age of 24, Hillary knows that investing in Native American youth is a critical step towards building strong communities and spurring economic revitalization.
- Ensure High Quality Education for Native Youth: Access to quality higher education is essential for breaking down the barriers to opportunity for Native American youth, who still lag behind the national average in higher education access and completion. Hillary’s New College Compact will ensure that cost is never a barrier to education and debt will never hold any student back. The Compact will ensure access to quality education for all students, including those attending Tribally operated colleges and universities.
- Ensure Tribal Communities Have Improved Health Care: The Affordable Care Act made permanent the Indian Health Care Improvement Act ensuring ongoing federal support for the Indian Health Service. Native Americans still face a life expectancy that is 4.2 years less than the average U.S. life expectancy. Hillary will continue to build upon the success of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and work to reduce health disparities. She will defend the ACA, which gives Native Americans more health care choices if they choose to participate with improved insurance protections, such as no-cost preventative services, and prohibitions on denial of insurance coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. She is also committed to Urban Indian Health Centers to ensure that urban Indian populations have adequate access to health services.
- Fighting for Native American Veterans: Native Americans have a long and proud tradition of participating with distinction in the U.S. Armed Services. Native veterans are among the highest users of VA health care services and among those with the highest rate of service-connected disabilities. Native veterans also have the lowest employment rates and highest poverty rates and suffer disproportionately from homelessness. Hillary has put forward a comprehensive and far reaching plan for veterans. It will, in part, transform the VA into an integrated health care system and care coordinator to ensure all veterans get the quality health care they’ve earned, including those who live in rural or underserved locations far from VA medical centers. It will also ensure veterans have access to a good education and good jobs when they come home. And Hillary will move decisively to end the tragic situation of veterans living homeless on the streets.
Hillary Clinton has been a longtime advocate for the Native American community:
- As Secretary of State, Hillary supported the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which continues to make critical contributions to our Native American policies. The Declaration has and continues to strengthen the vital government-to-government relationship between the U.S. and tribes.
- As Senator from New York, Hillary sponsored and fought for legislation to give tribes greater representation in advisory groups and direct access to federal grants in a variety of ways, from health care and law enforcement, to environmental justice and infant care. She repeatedly co-sponsored legislation to improve health care for Native Americans, including breast and cancer treatment and obesity. She cosponsored the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendment of 2007. She also worked to improve Tribal colleges and other Native institutions and supported measures to protect Native American women from domestic violence and sexual abuse.
- As First Lady, she worked to pass universal health care reform and sought to strengthen the health care delivery system for Native Americans. She also advocated for passage of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2000 that included important provisions to combat domestic violence against Native women in Indian Country. Her work to develop and pass the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has helped to ensure access to quality health care for low-income Native American children.