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The President* Has Slurs for Native Peoples. Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan.

Charles P. Pierce
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Esquire

In front of his usual backdrop of grinning suckers Thursday night, El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago trotted out his greatest hits to the roaring cackles of a few thousand of his fans. Inevitably, he got around to calling Senator Professor Warren, "Pocahontas," an allegedly humorous slur most notable for helping to end the career of Senator Scott Brown, presently learning the haka as our ambassador to New Zealand—admittedly, a pretty sweet gig out of which Brown almost leered himself.

Anyway, the president* dusted it off again for the folks in Manchester, saying:

“I did the Pocahontas thing. I hit her really hard, and it looked like she was down and out, but that was too long ago. I should have waited. But don’t worry, we will revive it. It can be revived. It will be revived. And it can be revived very easily, and very quickly, and we’re gonna have some fun in the state of New Hampshire.”

(One of the most embarrassing tropes in our current political moment is the conviction among some of our elite political press that the president*'s magical sixth-grade insult power will fog the minds of enough Americans to carry him across the finish line. More likely, he will be seen as a twerp of a president* who brought on a recession.)

Photo credit: < - Getty Images

So, on Friday, SPW responded in the usual fashion. She brought out a 9,000-word plan by which she intends to confront the unique problems of Native Americans. It was drawn up with the assistance of Rep. Deb Haaland, one of two Native MOC's elected in the 2018 landslide, and it is as thoroughgoing as one can expect. From Reuters:

Part of Warren’s plan includes a legislative proposal, which she will introduce with Haaland in Congress later this year. It would guarantee federal funds for Indian health, education, roads and other programs that are usually at the mercy of annual Congressional budget fights and elevate tribal affairs to a Cabinet-level priority. It also aims to strengthen tribal sovereignty by reversing actions taken by the Trump administration to allow energy development over tribal concerns and strengthening the ability of tribes to block projects.

She said she would revoke the presidential permits that have allowed the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines to proceed, reverse Trump’s reduction of national monuments, including Bears Ears - which had been formed by a consortium of southwestern tribes, and protect sacred tribal areas like New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon from mineral development.

The most significant part of the plan involves what it calls an "Oliphant fix." In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Oliphant v. Suquamish that tribal courts had no jurisdiction over non-Native people who commit crimes on reservation land. The consequences of this decision should be obvious. For example, assaults by non-Native men on Native women on reservations became epidemic—so much so that, in 2013, Congress carved out an exception to the Oliphant decision and gave tribal courts jurisdiction over those particular crimes. Warren's plan would expand that exception considerably.

SPW will present the plan at a presidential forum on Native issues in Sioux Falls, Iowa, at the beginning of next week. The president*, of course, will be nowhere to be seen.

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