RFK Jr. Pays Visit to Coalition of Large Tribes

Last Real Indians reports:

On Friday, March 8, the Coalition of Large Tribes (COLT) hosted Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to hear of his presidential campaign and to give tribal leaders a chance to question his commitment to Indian Country. More than 50 tribal leaders heard directly from Mr. Kennedy, where he shared his upbringing including his family’s relationships with Indigenous people and aspects of his campaign including his support to strengthen tribal sovereignty.

Kennedy announced his candidacy as an independent for the President of the United States on October 9, 2023 and has since campaigned throughout the country. Friday’s meeting was Kennedy’s first official visit to speak with tribal leaders while running for the presidency.

“I know there’s a lot of political leaders over the years that have come in front of Tribes and made promises of what they’re going to do when they get elected,” said Robert Kennedy Jr. in the beginning of his presentation. “I wanted to talk about my history of commitment to Tribal issues and Indians across the country.”

Kennedy spoke of his family’s trips to the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Hopi, and Navajo reservations while he was a child. “This was very much a part of my youth,” he said. “My father loved this country and loved American democracy and thought we should be a role model for the rest of the world, but he also believed the treatment of Indigenous people in this country—the Native Americans, the ones who above all others can call themselves American—that that was the original sin of our country.”

“This inspired my life and has continued to in my adult years,” he said during Friday’s COLT meeting. “My father and my uncle, John F. Kennedy, Jr., would talk a lot about the Choctaws during the Great Irish Famine in 1848 when over a million Irish starved to death and my grandparents on both sides of my family were a part of the flood of Irish that left that year and came to Boston.”

The Choctaws raised monies, $170, during the famine and sent to people in Ireland who were starving to death. “My father thought that was something we shouldn’t forget,” Kennedy said of his father.

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