Congressman Zinke, Gianforte don't support Indian Country

HELENA – Congressman Ryan Zinke and Greg Gianforte have tried using Indian Country as a campaign prop, rather than supporting policies and ideas that will benefit Montana’s American Indians.

“Montana’s Democratic candidates strongly support making this a better state and country for all of us,” said Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Nancy Keenan. “Supporting Indian Country in its efforts to strengthening tribal sovereignty and promote economic development means a better future for all of us; unlike Republicans who have long ignored the voices of American Indians.”

Congressman Ryan Zinke and gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte have terrible records when it comes to American Indians.

Congressman Zinke has:

  •  Supported Repealing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act: [Billings Gazette, 4/25/14; Indian Health Services, accessed 7/8/16;,1/05/16; Indian Country Today: 12/3/15; CQ, 10/23/15; H.R. 3762, Vote 568, 10/23/15]
  • Decried Indian Dependence on Government Services: At a campaign event in 2014, Congressman Zinke said: “I invite you to drive through Browning. Some of these Indian reservations… nowhere is it more apparent the dependence on government.” [YouTube, accessed 5/12/14 (43:05)]
  • Opposed millions in increased funding for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, education and health services
  • Is campaigning as a possible VP pick for Donald Trump, who has made countless disparaging remarks against American Indians and all minorities.


 Greg Gianforte has:

  • Said he doesn’t support the bi-partisan CSKT water compact at several campaign stops
  • Giving money to candidates who voted against the CSKT water compact
  • Selected Lesley Robinson, who lead the fight to take bison rights away from tribal communities, as his runningmate.
  • Endorsed Donald Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee.


Meanwhile, Montana’s Superintendent Denise Juneau, Governor Steve Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester have records of working alongside leaders in Indian Country to improve our schools, expand economic development opportunities, and honor the important cultural contributions Montana’s tribes have made.

Superintendent and U.S. House candidate Denise Juneau, member of the Mandan Hidatsa Tribes and descendant of the Blackfeet Tribe, has:

  • Decreased the American Indian dropout rate by a third, and raised the graduation rate among all students to the highest level in state history.Advocated and support programs to increase cultural education and preservation programs.
  • Has developed “the best program the country currently has for turning around native schools” [The Nation, 6/3/2016]
  • Juneau has also been endorsed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and 20 other tribes in Montana and around the nation.


 Gov. Steve Bullock has:

  • Secured a $250,000 grant to create a suicide-prevention program in Indian Country
  • Established recognition of tribally organized business entities.
  • Allocated $1.6 million to tribes, Native-owned businesses and Native American business advisers to create more jobs.
  • Bullock has been endorsed by the CSKT


Sen. Jon Tester has:

  • Introduced legislation as Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee to invest in education, improve access to quality healthcare, and boost economic development in Indian Country.
  • Led efforts to pass legislation implementing the Cobell Settlement to right historical wrongs against Native families.
  • Passed legislation to increase the safety of Native American children, and is leading the push to combat the drug epidemic that is plaguing many of Montana's Native American communities.

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