Navajo Nation’s Myron Lizer On Trump’s Relationship With Tribal Community
Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer spoke about President Trump’s efforts to work with the tribal community during a recorded address on Night 2 of the Republican National Convention.
“Our people have never been invited into the American Dream,” he said. “We, for years, fought congressional battles with past congressmen and senators that were part of a broken system that ignored us. That is, until President Trump took office.”
Lizer added: “Whenever we meet with President Trump, he has always made it a priority to repair the relationship with our federal family.”
The remarks from the Navajo Nation’s No. 2 came a week after Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez spoke in a keynote address in support of Joe Biden during the Democratic National Convention.
“Let’s get real. There’s a lot riding on this election,” Nez said, adding that he appreciates Biden’s plan to invest in energy and infrastructure.
During a virtual town hall streamed on Facebook this morning, Lizer acknowledged the political difference between himself and Nez.
“There’s no secret we are a split ticket,” he said. “We are working both sides, and we are well represented in Washington.”
Lizer has met with Trump on several occasions and attended a 2019 event at the White House where Trump signed an executive order to establish a task force to address missing and murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
“As the host people of the land, we feel that our prayers are being answered,” Lizer said at the time.
Lizer was criticized by some constituents in June after attending a Students for Trump event in Phoenix on the Navajo Nation’s dime. But he told the Navajo Times that he used the opportunity to connect with congressional leaders to advance tribal interests.
“People may not like it, but this is how politics works,” Lizer told the Navajo Times. “The more we’re out there being seen, the less likely people are to forget about us.”
In his address tonight, Lizer also voiced his support for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
“President Trump also strengthened the Supreme Court by nominating strong conservative judges like Neil Gorsuch, who supports Native American rights,” Lizer said.
In July, the Supreme Court ruled that about half of the land in Oklahoma falls within a Native American reservation. Gorsuch joined the court’s more liberal members in the decision and penned the majority opinion. He had previously served as a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which frequently saw cases involving Native American lands.
The Navajo Nation has been hit hard with the coronavirus pandemic, with over 9,000 confirmed cases and nearly 500 deaths, according to the Navajo Department of Health.
The federal government agreed to provide $8 billion in coronavirus aid to tribal communities, $600 million of which went to the Navajo Nation.
In a May interview with Morning Edition, Nez said the money went to personal protective equipment, distribution of essential materials and hazard pay, but he bemoaned the timing of the release of funds to the Navajo Nation.
“We had to take the federal government to court so that they can release those dollars,” he said.
“The CARES Act was approved and signed into law over seven weeks ago. While the rest of the country, municipalities, townships, counties and states have been utilizing those dollars, tribal governments — 574 tribes — just last week received their money.”
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