Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Associated Press: Obama, Clinton woo American Indian voters

re: "CROW AGENCY, Mont. (AP) — The purification ceremony isn't an everyday ritual of U.S. presidential politics. /The newly named Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuuxshish — better known as Barack Obama — faced east, the symbolic source of new life. His adopted Crow father, Hartford Black Eagle, prayed over him. /Afterward, they walked arm-in-arm with Black Eagle's wife, Mary, to a podium, where Obama promised to live up to the meaning of his new name: "One Who Helps People Throughout the Land." /"I want you to know that I will never forget you," Obama told the crowd, who had not seen a visitor of such political importance since Lady Bird Johnson came to the Montana reservation in the 1960s. "You will be on my mind every day that I am in the White House." /In a tight Democratic race, American Indians living in poor conditions on isolated prairie reservations could have a pivotal voice in the selection of a presidential candidate. As a result, they're hearing a lot of promises from politicians: better health care, improved housing and stepped-up law enforcement in Indian country. /Their votes could be decisive in the last two Democratic primaries, the June 3 votes in Montana and South Dakota, that Obama would very much like to win to bring him closer to the Democratic nomination. He and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who'd like victories just as much, are wooing the oft-ignored Indian vote — which is small, but big enough to matter this year..."...

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