Sanders stumps at Meskwaki settlement near Tama
Although running a bit behind schedule on his “Not Me, Us” bus tour of Iowa on Thursday U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) picked up three endorsements from Meskwaki Tribe representatives during a rally at the Settlement High School Gym west of Tama.
On the trail for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders was back in Tama County for a second time this season as he continued his effort to secure support in the first-in-the nation test- the Iowa caucuses which are set for Feb. 3.
Sanders began by apologizing to the crowd of more than 200 for being about 40 minutes late.
“We just got a beautiful, big new bus, but it goes slower than the cars we usually use,” he said.
Sanders continued his themes of free health care and education including college or trade school for all and legalization of marijuana country-wide.
He said, “The Trump administration is one of the most corrupt in the history of this country. We have ignored the environmental impact of what we do. We need to show a respect for the environment which this country has not done for a very long time.”
“Young people all over the world are looking to the Native American community for leadership,” Sanders said. “Because what we have learned from the culture of the Native American people is an understanding about sustainability; that you can’t simply wipe out animals, you can’t destroy the water for short-term gains if you want your children and grandchild to lead good lives.”
“Going back to the first year of this country Native Americans have been lied to, treaties broken, land taken and even right now, large corporations are today invading Native American lands excavating for oil,” he said.
Sanders called for Native Americans to play a leadership role in this country.
“Here’s a promise that comes form my heart,” Sanders said. “As President of the U.S. we will not be informing Native American people what is happening, they will be a part of the decision making process.”
Sanders picked up the endorsement of Sac and Fox Tribal Chair Dawson Davenport. Davenport told the crowd Sanders shared many of the views he believes in including education and health care for everyone and other issues supported by Native Americans.
Sanders heard Danielle Seymour call for support of legislation to protect indigenous women. She cited the 2018 missing person case of Mollie Tibbets of Brooklyn, Iowa, whose body was found within 30 days after being reported missing.
Seymour said, in comparison, the ongoing search for missing settlement resident Rita Papakee has been going on for five years. She urged support for better protection for indigenous women.
Seymour also called for accurate teaching of history about the Native American people.
Sanders acknowledged the history of the unfair treatment of Native American people needs be a part of education in the U.S.