For the benefit of tribal voters, on Sept. 28 the Sault Tribe’s newspaper sent questionnaires about Sault Tribe issues to candidates in the presidential, 1st Congressional District and 107th, 108th and 109th State Districts, to be included in its October issue. By press time, Win Awenen Nisitotung received two responses, from Lon Johnson and Phil Bellfy. Hillary Clinton submitted a response Oct. 18 after press time, so Win Awenen Nisitotung decided to post it on the tribe’s website. The others may be read in the Oct. 21 issue of the tribe’s newspaper, online at Win Awenen Nisitotung Oct. 21, 2016.
Michigan 2016 General Election — U.S. Congress and Presidential Candidates
Questionnaire — Win Awenen Nisitotung, Oct. 21, 2016
Hillary Clinton, Candidate,
United States President
1. What do you consider to be the federal government’s trust responsibility toward American Indian tribes?
I believe the United States has a sacred trust with Native Americans. I am committed to strengthening and building on the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian tribes, and I believe the United States should fulfill its treaty obligations and trust responsibilities to Tribal Nations.
2. Do you support the Indian Health Care Act permanent funding, Medicaid expansion, and the continuation and sufficient funding for VAWA, ICWA and SDPI?
Native Americans still face a life expectancy that is 4.2 years less than the average U.S. life expectancy. I will defend the Affordable Care Act which made permanent the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, ensuring ongoing federal support for the Indian Health Service, 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. I am also committed to Urban Indian Health Centers to ensure that urban Indian populations have adequate access to health services.
We must expand Medicaid in all fifty states and support incentives to enroll millions more, building upon the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and launching a nationwide enrollment campaign. We will better integrate health care systems to address mental health issues, building on innovative state Medicaid practices to increase mental health screenings, with the goal of these screenings becoming standard practice in Medicaid. I also want to give every American the choice of a public option plan to increase competition and finish the fight for universal coverage.
I am committed to providing meaningful resources and financial investments that will empower American Indian tribes through increased economic development and infrastructure improvements on tribal lands. I support the provisions in the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and will work toward robust investments in effective tribal law enforcement and tribal courts.
3. Do you support continuation of an annual White House Tribal Nations Conference?
As President, I will continue to host the White House Tribal Nations Conference annually and build on President Obama’s effort to engage in productive dialogue with Tribal officials. I will also commit to regular and meaningful consultation with Tribal officials in the development of federal policies that impact tribes.
4. In February, President Obama submitted his FY2017 proposal to Congress with increased funding for Indian country — $3.4 billion for the Department of the Interior, $2.9 billion for the BIA and BIE that includes comprehensive BIE reform and $6.6 billion for IHS. Would you, if elected, support these funding increases?
I support the funding increases in the President’s FY2017 budget proposal. 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 my agenda is a simple idea: every child in America should be able to live up to his or her God-given potential. That means building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top, by making major new investments in good-paying jobs, fighting for debt-free college, ensure that large corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share, and putting families first in a 21st century economy.
5. Do you support Indian tribes’ treaty rights, including respecting tribal lands sacred areas and access to natural resources, as well as meaningful government-to-government consultation?
I will continue to stand for Tribal sovereignty and in support of Tribal resources and sacred sites. I will 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. I 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.
6. Optional Election Statement: