Apaches Criticize McCain For Poor Job |
As Senator During Rodeo-Chedeski Fire
Many leaders of the White Mountain Apaches and the Hopi Tribal Chairman gave moving endorsements of Barrack Obama for President at a rally in Whiteriver sponsored by the Fort Apache Democrats.
Past Chairman Dallas Massey ripped into Republican candidate John McCain for failing to visit or assist the tribe in the aftermath of the devastating Rodeo-Chediski fire.
Councilman Noland Clay spoke passionately about Obama’s pledges to Indian Country, including improvements for the Indian Health Service and education.
The Rodeo-Chedeski fire burned an incredible 723 square miles of pine forest in 2002, devastating the Apaches' essential timber industry. Massey noted that President Bush took time to visit, but McCain, the senior sentator from Arizona, couldn't be bothered to aid his constituents.
Councilman Alvin DeClay also spoke passionately in support of Obama before a crowd of several hundred at the shopping center in Whiteriver.
Hopi Tribal Chairman Ben Nuvamsa gave a rousing speech detailing McCain’s neglect of Indian tribes, and commenting favorably on Obama’s plans to improve conditions for Native Americans and the country generally.
Apache rapper Gene DeClay told the crowd about his experience representing Native American people at an Obama rally in Phoenix.
Michelle Clarkson, April Olivar and Marco Burnette, organizers of the Fort Apache Democrats, served as masters of ceremony and also detailed Obama’s Christian faith, the devastating cuts in federal spending for Indian tribes, and the disastrous education policies of the Republican administration.
Ken Smith, a Korean veteran and senior vice chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party, blasted the Bush-McCain mistreatment of veterans, denying them health care and opposing the new G.I. Bill.
Franklin Dickens Sr., an Apache veteran, said he was supporting Obama because Obama respected veterans and supported their benefits.
Holly Hanson, a long-time teacher in Whiteriver and now president of the White Mountain Democrats, spoke on the need for improved education on the reservation that an Obama victory could bring. Lisa Perry, Higher Education Coordinator, also spoke on the importance of education and endorsed Obama.
Several Navajo County candidates addressed the Apaches filling the shopping center parking lot.
K.C. Clark, the Democratic candidate for sheriff, explained his qualifications and his willingness to work with the Apache people on law enforcement issues. Carolyn Holiday, the Democratic candidate for district judge, explained her plan to make the courts more convenient to the Apache people by holding sessions outside Holbrook. Linda Morrow, the candidate for school superintendent, discussed plans to improve education in the county.
Food, donated by the local candidates, was served by the White Mountain Democrats and ApachesVote.org.