Teri Gobin, Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman: For Tribes, Voting is Sovereignty in Action

My name is Teri Gobin, and I’ve had the honor of being your Chairwoman since 2019. As Chairwoman, I have represented this tribe and defended our rights and interest at all government levels. I thank you all for the opportunity to continue that work.

All elections are important, but this Presidential election will decide what kind of Nation we will have for many years to come. Are we a nation of greed, distrust, and selfishness, of lies and division? Or, are we a nation that comes together at a challenging time and shows a united fight for equality, justice, and the next seven generations? Those are the questions before us today. 

Donald Trump stands for weakening environmental protections like the Endangered Species Act, which helps us protect salmon vital to our culture, lifeways, and tribal economy. The Trump Administration has weakened water standards to allow more cancer-causing chemicals into our Salish Sea and our traditional foods. 

Trump approved the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, which threaten the water supply and treaty and trust resources for tribes and ignores tribal sovereignty and government-to-government relationships. This administration also removed the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation land, which has threatened the security of all tribes.

Additionally, Trump has cozy relationships with white supremacists and total disregard for the murders of BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) at the hands of police. His ignorance of the problem of systemic racism in our society has disproportionately left BIPOC out of the American dream. 

Since the beginning of time, our people have lived here. Our ancestors made great sacrifices to protect our tribal culture and lifeways. Joe Biden has a different vision for America, and it’s one where our values and our people are welcome.

Joe Biden authored the original Violence Against Women’s Act and in 2013 advocated for tribe’s rightful authority to protect native women through its reauthorization

As VP, Biden helped settle the Cobell settlement for $3.4 billion, creating the land buy-back program which restored millions of acres of land to tribal governments

The Affordable Healthcare Act helped provide health care coverage for over 110,000 Native Americans

As VP, the Obama administration made significant progress in strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship between the federal government and tribes and supported tribal sovereignty 

Biden will immediately reinstate and make permanent the White House Council on Native American Affairs and the annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. He will also nominate and appoint people who look like the country they serve, including Native Americans.

Biden will make it a priority to restore tribal lands and protect the natural and cultural resources within them while honoring the role of tribal governments in protecting those resources. Joe will work to take land-into-trust and support tribal water rights.

On day one of the Biden Administration, he will issue executive orders to protect biodiversity, slow extinction rates, and leverage natural climate solutions by conserving 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030. Biden will protect America’s natural treasures by permanently protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and other areas impacted by President Trump’s attack on federal lands and waters. Additionally, he plans to establish national parks and monuments that reflect America’s natural heritage. Including reversing President Trump’s proclamation on Bears Ears, which reduced two million acres of federally protected land at two national monuments in Utah.

As we look around at the smoky air, the diminishing salmon runs, and the loss of cultural places, we see that Indian Country and THIS country cannot afford four more years of Donald Trump’s corporate greed and divisive rhetoric. Let us set a new path toward healing the earth and ourselves.

For those of you who are not registered to vote, please do so now. It takes only a few minutes online. Indian country counts, your voice counts!

Go to www.vote.org/ OR votewa.gov 

It is so important to vote. Our future depends on it.