Press Release

Back to Press Section

DFL Party Leaders Criticize Trump for Failing Indigenous People


“While Trump and his cronies may show up for a campaign photo op, it’s clear they won’t show up when it actually matters”

Today, as Ivanka Trump prepares to visit Bloomington, Minnesota, to attend the opening of a Missing and Murdered Native American Cold Case Office, leaders of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party criticized the Trump administration for failing to seriously and materially support Tribal Nations.

As Trump’s failed response to COVID-19 takes a heavy toll on people across America, the impact of the virus is being felt disproportionately by Indigenous people. If Trump’s administration succeeded in trying to deny Tribal Nations any of the $2.2 trillion of COVID relief funding that Congress passed, that impact would be far worse. To make matters worse, Donald Trump has repeatedly used a racist slur against Indigenous people and defended others who engaged in similar behavior.

United States Senator Tina Smith, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, released the following statement:

“We need to live up to the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to Tribes. Donald Trump and his Administration fall woefully short of that goal. The most recent examples of this can be seen in the fact that despite Congress agreeing to $8 billion in emergency relief to help Tribes respond to COVID, Tribal governments had to continue to fight to get their fair share. It took the Treasury Department forty days to distribute just over half–not even the full sum–of the funds to Tribes, and it wasn’t until almost three months after the CARES Act that Tribal governments received the rest. The Administration fought against Tribes’ flexible use of funds, and delayed guidance when it came to the Paycheck Protection Program. Rather than a photo op, the Trump Administration should focus on following through and real action to help Tribal communities in Minnesota and across the country.”

Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, the highest ranking Native woman elected to executive office, took this opportunity to draw the contrast between the Trump Administration and Vice President Joe Biden:

“Donald Trump made a career demonstrating and celebrating behavior that perpetuates violence against Native women and girls,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We need a President who will fight for the health and safety of women and Native people across the country. Joe Biden spent his career doing just that and will set a good example for our children as they learn to treat their neighbors with dignity and respect.”

State Representative Mary Kunesh Podein, a descendant of the Standing Rock Lakota:

“For generations, our American Indian communities have persevered despite historic violence and neglect from the federal government. We, in Minnesota, have worked so hard for a genuine, community-led task force to address our missing and murdered Indigenous women. This sudden interest and visit by Ivanka Trump feels disingenuous and smacks of manipulated political showcasing. If Trump and Ivanka want to make a difference in a real way for our American Indian women and girls, make Congress pass the 2020 (VAWA) Violence Against Women Act and make real investments in affordable housing and education in tribal communities.”

State Representative Jamie Becker-Finn, a descendant of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe:

“Donald Trump tried to cut Tribal Nations out of COVID-19 relief funding, has repeatedly used anti-Native slurs and phrases, and deliberately erases Indigenous people out of his version of American history. Donald Trump’s decades of hostility towards Indigenous people can’t be undone with a cheap media stunt. Using the pain of Native women and families as a campaign prop isn’t going to win him any votes here in Minnesota.”