Clinton receives thanks from American Indians
FLATHEAD INDIAN RESERVATION, Montana – Hillary Clinton took her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to an Indian reservation where she received applause, thanks – and new footwear.
“You’ve gone a million miles for the Indian people — here are a pair of moccasins to help you on your journey,” Joe McDonald, president of Salish Kootenai College, said on Tuesday in presenting Clinton the gift.
A crowd of several hundred roared approval.
Drawing more applause, Clinton said, “We need a president next January who understands the obligation that the United States government has to the tribes that represent the first people of the United States.”
As first lady, and now a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton has worked to upgrade health care, education and economic opportunities for native Americans, many of whom live in poverty.
In Montana, there are about 56,000 American Indians among seven tribes, making up 6.2 percent of the state’s population.
Clinton recalled that when her husband was president, he held a meeting with more than 500 leaders of Indian tribes nationwide, marking the first such talks “in many, many years.”
Clinton vowed to reverse what she said was the rollback in relations between Washington and American Indians since President George W. Bush took office in January 2001.
“I will stand with you,” she said in asking for their support in Montana’s Democratic presidential primary next week.
Photo REUTERS/Ana Martinez. (Clinton, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter Chelsea attend a Memorial Day event in San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 26, 2008)