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Thursday, October 11, 2012
Mitt Romney Answers Questions Concerning Indian Country.
Indian Country Today was able to get Mitt Romney on record regarding Indian Country.
Many Republicans, including President Richard Nixon, have been among the greatest supporters of Indian self-determination. Do you see yourself continuing in that tradition?
Americans Indians truly embody the American spirit of entrepreneurship, hard work and self-reliance. It is this spirit that will help our country return to economic prosperity. I acknowledge and appreciate this spirit and will support tribes in their efforts to create and expand their economic opportunities. As president, I will be committed to providing tribes a seat at the table so that we can work together to get our economy back on track. I value the tribes’ input, and my administration will work to foster a culture of collaboration and respect.
What does tribal sovereignty mean to you? Do you see it as akin to states’ rights?
Tribal sovereignty is a fundamental part of our national heritage and is recognized in our Constitution. I respect and support the sovereignty of Native American tribes and recognize the importance of their culture to the rich fabric of this great country. My administration will treat this government-to-government relationship with the respect it deserves. I believe that along with continued self-determination, tribes must be empowered to pursue continued economic development and expanded prosperity. I welcome the support and input of the tribes in our fight to restore America as the most prosperous country in the world and a beacon of liberty.
What is the best way to resolve conflicts between tribal nations and the federal and state governments?
My administration will be committed to fostering and preserving a strong relationship with our nation’s tribes; one built on mutual consideration, respect and trust. As president, I will work with the tribes to improve vital services and receive input on policy. For example, I respect the unique relationship Native American tribes have with the land. I believe this relationship is key to both tribal culture and future prosperity. I am dedicated to ensuring that that relationship is not adversely encroached upon. In addition, my administration will work to improve government inefficiencies that hinder federal services to tribes and impede tribes’ economic opportunities.
Where do you stand on tribal gaming?
I respect the sovereignty of tribal governments and the rights of tribes under federal law, including their rights to operate gaming facilities in compliance with the law. I realize that tribes have thrived in their management of the gaming industry. This success should be respected and not hampered by Big Labor special interests. Additionally, I will fight attempts by Big Labor to compromise the economic liberty of Native Americans.
What is your position on the Keystone XL pipeline?
North America is the fastest-growing oil- and gas-producing region in the world, and the continent now has an opportunity to achieve freedom from OPEC that would not have even been contemplated just 10 years ago. Unfortunately, President Obama has chosen to turn his back on America’s neighbors. He rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have dramatically increased the supply of Canadian oil to the U.S. market, and now Canada plans to send that oil to China instead. Today, America still imports more oil from OPEC than it does from Canada and Mexico.
As Canadian Prime Minister [Stephen] Harper notes, fostering a greater North American energy partnership that replaces OPEC imports with stable supply from secure sources at discounted prices should be a no-brainer. And Mexico is now displaying a renewed interest in collaborating with outside partners to increase development of its own plentiful resources. By collaborating with these countries on energy development, America can guarantee itself a reliable and affordable supply of energy while also opening up new opportunities for American businesses and workers in the region. Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is a crucial step in my plan to achieve North American energy independence by 2020. On day one of my presidency, I will approve the Keystone XL pipeline.