President Trump showed little concern for water protectors or Native sovereignty when he fast-tracked the Dakota Access Pipeline in spite of environmental concerns. Now he claims to support Native American sovereignty by promising to relax regulations so Native nations can dig up natural resources on their reservations and create jobs.
To be clear, Indian Country is not monolithic its opposition to extractive industries that hurt Mother Earth. We wrote a piece April 5 titled: Indian Country is Divided on Mining Coal, Drilling for Oil; More Clashes Ahead. Yet Trump’s support for tribal sovereignty here seems dubious at best, a tool to support his pro-fossil fuel agenda.
Trump made his comments today while meeting with state and tribal leaders. Rather than do more interpretation, here are his words directly from a White House transcript.
…. I’m proud to have such a large gathering of tribal leaders here at the White House. I look forward to more government-to-government consultations with tribal leaders about the issues important to Indian Country. We love Indian Country, right?
Many of your lands have rich, natural resources that stand to benefit your people immensely. These untapped resources of wealth can help you build new schools, fix roads, improve your communities, and create jobs — jobs like you’ve never seen before. All you want is the freedom to use them, and that’s been the problem. It’s been very difficult, hasn’t it? It will be a lot easier now under the Trump administration.