Native Americans At DNC 2016: Delegates Say Hillary Clinton's Substance Must Match Diversity Seen In Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA -- Native American tribal leader Edward D. Manuel, 69, stood in the hallways of the Democratic National Convention this week and marveled at the diversity. In conventions past, the descendants of native people were scarcely seen. But this year, seeing a delegate wearing a purple and black patterned tribal dress shirt over an Oxford, as Manuel did Wednesday, was no surprise.
“The last time I was in the DNC, in 2000, there were so few different people involved,” Manuel, chairman of the Tohono O’Odham tribe in southern Arizona and a Hillary Clinton delegate at the convention, said amid the rumble of the crowd in the Wells Fargo Center. “Now I see that it has grown.”
Native Americans have seen much more representation this year at the DNC: they were chosen to call out state votes in the nomination process and participated in talks with the White House and Democratic Party Monday on the opening day of the convention. The value of that increased visibility -- and the efforts made in the past eight years under President Barack Obama to establish better coordination between federal agencies and tribes -- is not lost on Native American delegates at the DNC. But they also cautioned that tribal nations face real problems, and optics at the convention can’t be a substitute for policy.