Seneca Nation has message for Obama on taxes

December 14, 2010

Robert Porter, president of the Seneca Nation tribe of Native Americans in western New York state, has a message for President Obama.

“I’d like to see the president not be so timid in his efforts to support and protect Indian country,” he says. USA/

Porter is one of dozens of tribal leaders from around the United States who is to meet Obama and other administration officials on Thursday.

Many Native American reservations historically have suffered mightily from high unemployment and related problems. By contrast, the Seneca Nation is a thriving economy, operating casinos and tobacco businesses, Porter says.

Instead of government handouts, he says the Seneca people would benefit from tax relief — a message he will carry to this week’s meeting.

“The core of our economy and mentality is one of self-sufficiency. We’re not looking for extensive appropriations programs. We’re looking for tax relief,” Porter told Reuters.

He says it is absurd for the government to tax Native Americans and then send the money back to them in the form of grants.

“What if we were to keep those dollars?”

Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking (caps at Pow Wow in Denver where more than 80 Native American Indian tribes celebrate their history and culture, March 23, 2007)

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