Senator Klobuchar’s Policy Priorities for Indian Country
America’s strength comes from the diversity of our people and America’s rich history draws from Native American cultures and traditions. Senator Klobuchar is proud to represent a large and diverse tribal population that has contributed so much to Minnesota’s rich culture and heritage, and she recognizes the significant contributions of tribal communities across the country. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Klobuchar believes that Native American tribes have a unique and sacred government-to-government relationship with the United States that is deeply rooted in treaties, the law, and the Constitution. As President, she will strengthen the government-to-government relationship, ensure meaningful and regular tribal consultation in federal policy, and make an unprecedented federal commitment to improving the well-being of Native Americans.
During her time in the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has pushed to improve education in tribal communities, including when she passed legislation to support teachers serving American Indian students as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Senator Klobuchar worked with state and tribal leaders to secure funding to build a new Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig school on the Leech Lake Reservation to address dangerous health and safety problems. She has supported tribal government gaming as one important facet of federal recognition of tribal sovereignty and diversification of Reservation economic development. She also nominated acclaimed Native American artist Dyani White Hawk (Sičangu Lakota) to serve on the Senate Curatorial Advisory Board, which studied potential acquisitions for appropriateness and authenticity of art displayed in the Capitol.
Senator Klobuchar has long advocated for the Violence Against Women’s Act Reauthorization and is a strong supporter of Savanna’s Act to address violence against Native American people, particularly women and children. She authored and introduced the Tribal Adoption Parity Act to bring parity to tribal government for the adoption tax credit and she has introduced bills that would expand broadband deployment and adoption in consultation with tribal governments.
And Senator Klobuchar helped lead the Native American Voting Rights Act to provide the necessary resources and oversight to ensure Native Americans have equal access to the ballot box.
As President, Senator Klobuchar’s priorities for Indian Country include:
- Making sure there is meaningful consultation with Tribal officials by all federal agencies, promoting a strong government-to-government relationship, and partnering with Native American tribes in the development of all federal policies that affect tribes. She will consult with 573 Tribal Nations on all matters of federal policy.
- Building on her leadership in the Senate by pushing for the passage of Savanna’s Act to address violence against Native American women and girls and investing in efforts to help tribal, state, and federal law enforcement agencies combat violence and human trafficking in Indian Country.
- Ending the Trump Administration’s attacks on tribal sovereignty by stopping the Department of Justice from taking anti-sovereignty positions in litigation and directing the Department of Health and Human Services not to defer to states on Medicaid rules for tribal members.
- Investing in infrastructure, including renewable energy development, promoting economic development and building on her leadership in the Senate to expand broadband deployment in Indian Country by connecting every household to the internet by 2022 as President.
- Consulting with tribal officials to combat addiction and prioritize mental health by creating new early intervention and suicide prevention programs, expanding access to treatment, combating addiction to opioids and other substances, increasing beds for mental health, providing alcohol and drug treatment services, and giving Americans a path to sustainable recovery through economic opportunity.
- Building on her leadership in the Senate on voting rights by increasing Native access to voter registration sites and polling locations, requiring automatic voter registration for eligible citizens when they turn 18, and bolstering Native American voter registration, education and election participation efforts in Indian Country.
- Prioritizing and fully funding federal and tribal law enforcement efforts, expanding support for tribal judicial systems, and providing resources for and directing the Department of Justice to aggressively prosecute violent crimes in Indian country.
- Building on her work to provide resources for tribal schools by increasing teacher pay and funding for our schools, providing resources and school infrastructure investments in Indian Country, and making sure that the rising costs of post-secondary education aren’t a barrier to opportunity.
- Working with Tribal officials to put forward a plan to cut childhood poverty in half across the country in ten years, including expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Care Tax Credit, SNAP benefits and overhauling our country’s housing policy, with a focus on Indian Country.
- Continuing to work with tribes to settle litigation and resolve long-standing disputes over trust assets and natural resources.
- Supporting the Indian Health Service, defending the Affordable Care Act, pushing for advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service, and focusing on prevention and treatment of diseases where there is a severe health disparity between tribes and non-Indian communities, including cancer, diabetes and suicide.
- Working to prioritize VA health care services, employment, and housing for Native veterans and advocating for our Native veterans so they have access to a good education and good jobs when they come home.