Native American voters were among the hundreds of people who turned out to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in Albuquerque Wednesday, May 25. Clinton made stops in New Mexico to rally support for his wife Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. It’s one of several high profile candidate appearances ahead of the state’s primary June 7th.
Tom Frenchman was among those attending the Albuquerque event. He said he supports the entire Clinton family.
“I’m from the Delaware Tribe. I grew up in Arkansas and I can’t wait for him to be the first gentleman,” Frenchman said.
Alfred Bennett, Navajo, is an undecided voter. He was at the event urging people to learn more about Social Security.
Bennett says he’d like to see the next president tackle some of the many issues facing tribes.
“There’s a lot of complex problems on all the reservations,” Bennett said. “We all have different problems and different issues. The main thing right now is keeping our status as Native nations separate from all the other minorities that are here. All I can say is a lot of the treaties they broke.
Treaties were also on the mind of one member of the audience who interrupted Clinton shortly after he started his speech. Joanne Spotted Bear, a Lakota woman, shouted her complaints about the federal government’s poor record on honoring treaties. Clinton engaged in a short conversation with Spotted Bear from the podium, saying he intended cover that topic. He did later mention treaties and he touched on Native American issues such as poverty and economic development. His speech mostly stuck to issues of education, immigration reform and the economy.
Clinton’s visit was relatively calm compared to the riotous response just a day earlier for the presumed Republican nominee Donald Trump. Four protestors were arrested and several police officers were injured in clashes over Trump’s appearance in Albuquerque Tuesday, May 24. Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders also appeared in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and met with tribal leaders the previous week.