Zinke Makes Disparaging Comments About Indian Country

Zinke’s statements “promote negative stereotypes” 

(Helena, MT) – While Montana’s John Lewis has laid out a plan to invest and strengthen Indian Country, former SOFA PAC chairman Ryan Zinke has chosen to belittle Native Americans with insensitive and out-of-touch comments regarding Indian Country.

Speaking to a group of Republicans in Helena, Zinke stated, “Some of the Indian reservations, you know, nowhere is more apparent, the dependence on the government…And then so, you know, you go back to, you want to feed someone, you need to teach a person how to fish."

“Zinke’s comments promote negative stereotypes about Native Americans, which have no place coming from someone seeking the public trust. These comments lack a fundamental understanding of Indian Country and our struggles. As Native Americans, we want a Congressman who will stand up for our culture and values, who will fight for our sovereignty, and who will work to make investments in Indian Country. Zinke will continue siding with corporate special interests instead of tribal communities,” said James Steele Jr., President of the Montana Indian Democrats Council. 

Zinke’s disparaging comments are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his plans for Indian Country. Zinke has a record of supporting polices in D.C. that have serious negative consequences for Indian Country. 

  • Zinke supported the government shutdown that hurt Montana’s tribes. The shutdown had a catastrophic impact on Montana’s tribes, halting tribal programs including home health care programs for the elderly and disabled, bus services for rural areas and furloughing hundreds of workers.
  • Zinke would repeal the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. The Indian Health Care Improvement Act was reauthorized as part of the Affordable Health Care Act. Zinke has repeatedly voiced support for repealing this legislation that improves the Indian Health Service.
  • Zinke opposed funding for Violence Against Women programs for Indian women. In 2014, Zinke opposed $344 million in funding aimed at addressing the high victimization rates of American Indian women for the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking on tribal lands.

Click here for a one-pager on Zinke’s record in Indian Country.



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