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New York's "First Americans" Want a Voice in Presidential Race

July 30, 2007

A New York tribe is signing on to an Indian Issues Platform for the 2008 presidential election. Native Americans in the early primary state of Nevada proposed the platform and now the idea has spread east. Randy King, chairman of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, in Southhampton, says his tribe has particular concerns about health issues, the economy and fighting drugs.

"Obesity in Indian Country which leads to diabetes, the problem of drug use and drug abuse; you know, methamphetamine use is on the rise."

King wants candidates to know that tribes need help dealing with dangerous drugs.

"Proper adjudication of cases, tackling the drug issue, cutting off the trade, you know, cutting off the supply; you know, I am sure tribes want to see those issues addressed."

King feels that because reservations are a lot bigger out West, that's where Native American issues have the best chance of taking hold in the presidential campaign but he's hoping to see tribes in New York and nationwide join the effort.

Michael Clifford/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NY