Trump vs. Biden: Here’s how their plans for the Indian country stack up

WASHINGTON – With the release of Putting America’s First Peoples First – Forgotten No More from the White House! Biden’s political vision and the Biden-Harris campaign plan for tribal nations, the two main presidential candidates have proposed plans for the Indian country.

The Biden-Harris Plan for the Tribal Nations is a 15-page document, while the President’s plan is outlined in quick terms in just three pages.

Both plans contain similar elements, such as increasing broadband across Indian country, addressing the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and improving education for American Indians.

The White House takes credit for the congressional legislation the president signed, as if he was the author of the bills he signed.

The Biden-Harris Plan, which was released 12 days before the Trump Plan, commits to immediately re-establishing the Annual United Nations Conference at the White House that was established during the Obama days and convened for the eight years. mandate of the administration.

In the White House plan, the Trump-Pence administration pledges to “hold a national tribal chief meeting and establish a national consultation week.” While this engagement was mentioned in the plan, there are no details of what the summons would actually look like.

A key part of the Biden-Harris Plan that does not appear in the Trump-Pence Plan is that under a Biden presidency, Native Americans would be appointed to high-level federal government positions, a feature that was part of the Obama- Biden. administration.

Although the White House plan is much shorter, comparisons can be made between the two documents. Here’s how the two plans compare:

Tribal sovereignty


The Trump administration is committed to respecting tribal sovereignty and will continue to equip Native American communities with the resources they need to promote self-determination.

  • Support the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission to explore ways to reduce and reform taxes for tribal citizens.
  • Respect tribal sovereignty by empowering tribes to manage their own lands and resources through self-governance programs.

Joe Biden understands that tribal sovereignty and autonomy, along with respect for federal accountability to tribal nations, should be cornerstones of federal Indian policy. As president, Biden will build on the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration, which have helped restore trust, good faith, and respect in tribal-federal relations. Biden will ensure that the tribes have a seat at the table at the highest levels of the federal government and a voice across government.

Safe communities


President Trump is committed to increasing public safety in the Indian country, including continuing to find solutions to long-standing challenges such as missing and murdered Native Americans and the opioid and methamphetamine crises.


Ensure that federal law enforcement prioritizes public safety in the Indian country, with the engagement of tribal communities.

Call on the US Department of Justice to fully investigate the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and children.

Expand federal resources for prevention and survivor support initiatives for Indigenous women and girls. Biden has developed a comprehensive plan to expand resources for prevention initiatives and survivor support, ranging from supports such as a stronger safety net for survivors, including housing and cash assistance, to expansion advocates and access to lawyers so survivors can get the justice they deserve.

Support substance abuse treatment, mental health services and trauma recovery to break cycles of crime and victimization. Biden will renew this commitment to healing and supportive services in Indigenous communities by increasing the availability of addiction treatment, mental health and trauma recovery services, building on the support of the Obama administration- Biden at Adult Tribal Healing and Welfare Programs and Juvenile Treatment Court.

Economic development


President Trump will support improving business opportunities and infrastructure in the Indian country so that all Americans benefit from the country’s historic economic prosperity.

The plan mentioned an Opportunity Zones program that would be enhanced and funds for existing programs, such as Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) and Small Business Administration Minority Enterprise Development, would be increased.

  • Expand self-determination in energy development through tribal energy resource agreements.
  • Promote agricultural production.
  • Support broadband to improve connectivity in Indian country.

As part of the Biden-Harris Plan, the administration is committed to working with the tribes to provide them with the resources and assistance they need to dismantle long-standing economic challenges, including poor infrastructure, instability housing, unemployment and insufficient access to capital, and instead create opportunities across Indian country. It will ensure that federal agencies provide support in the most useful way to tribes and honor tribal self-determination.

  • Invest in infrastructure and clean energy.
  • Invest in small businesses.
  • Invest in Indigenous communities by increasing the Indian Community Development Block Grant program.
  • Invest in Indigenous Agriculture.

Health care

  • Improve care delivery and coordination across IHS.
  • Eliminate long-standing health care disparities in order to increase the quality of life and life expectancy of Native Americans.
  • Invest in Special Indian Diabetes Programs and other prevention and treatment programs to reduce the incidence and improve outcomes of diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, maternal mortality, and more .
  • Prioritize and invest in mental and behavioral health, including suicide prevention, substance abuse and substance use disorder programs.
  • Support language access programs for patients in all care settings.
  • Advancing health information technology for the benefit of patients and clinicians.
  • Increase broadband access for robust telehealth and wellness activities.
  • Apply new NEPA regulations to water, broadband, and power transmission for tribal communities to increase access to infrastructure that supports healthy lifestyles.
  • Support the financing of better water infrastructure in tribal communities.
  • Scale and prioritize brownfield cleanup and redevelopment efforts in Indian country.
  • To promote healthy communities, continue to focus on environmental stewardship.
  • Increase and secure stable funding for the Indian Health Service.
  • Ensure access to health coverage.
  • Lead a decisive public health response to Covid-19.
  • Expand the pipeline of health care providers in tribal communities.
  • Deploy telehealth throughout the Indian country.
  • Reduce our unacceptably high maternal mortality rate, which disproportionately affects Indigenous mothers.
  • Re-authorize and expand the Special Diabetes Program for Indians.
  • Expand access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  • Helps prevent suicides.
  • Address the social determinants of health.
  • Increase the collection and sharing of Indigenous health data to improve health outcomes.



Working with tribal chiefs, President Trump will continue to ensure respect for Native American heritage and provide children with access to high-quality education options consistent with tribal traditions, languages ​​and culture.


Indigenous students experience glaring inequalities in access to education. They have lower public high school graduation rates than any other racial or ethnic group and are the least likely to enroll and graduate from college. Covid-19 exacerbates educational inequalities as schools struggle to reopen safely and Native American students, who have less access to broadband, face additional barriers to learning.

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About the Author

Levi Rickert
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Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Native News Online. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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