Geri Small, President of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, today endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. Small released the following statement in support of Clinton:
"Although the Democratic Party has two excellent candidates seeking the nomination, in my first term as Tribal President, Senator Clinton and I worked together on tribal issues in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians. From that personal experience, I trust her judgment and leadership and am compelled to endorse her. Hillary has the experience, heart and courage to address the tough issues facing this country," Small commented. "As the leader of an American Indian Tribe, I need a President who knows about our needs and issues and is willing to champion the needs of the First Americans. American Indians need a President who understands that the Federal Government's obligation to Tribes is based on Treaty Rights and Trust Responsibility, not charity. A President who understands tribal sovereignty and that Tribes are Governments in our own right. I believe Hillary is that President."
"I am honored to have the support of Northern Cheyenne President Geri Small. President Small knows firsthand the gains made in Indian Country, as well as the trials it still faces. As President I will honor tribal sovereignty and respect the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government. I will reopen the doors of the White House to American Indians. I will elevate the director of the Indian Health Service to the Assistant Secretary level, and I will work with people throughout Indian Country, like President Small, to provide better health care, jobs and education for Indian People," Clinton said.
In March 2008, Small was elected President of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, filling a vacancy. In 2000 she was the first woman to be elected as a Northern Cheyenne Tribal President, serving a four year term. Previously she served four years on the Tribal Council. Small was also the first woman President of the Montana/Wyoming Tribal Leader's Council; and an Area Vice-President for the National Congress of American Indians. Currently, she serves on the Indian Advisory Committee to the President of Montana State University and on the National Diversity Committee for the Boy's and Girl's Club of America.
The 446,000 acre Northern Cheyenne Reservation is located in southeastern Montana near the Battle of the Little Big Horn in which the Northern Cheyenne and Sioux defeated General George Armstrong Custer in 1876. Despite tremendous strides in education and an excellent track record in administering federal funds, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe remains severely economically disadvantaged. Of the 9,200 tribal members about 5,000 live on the reservation. Rural isolation, a 70% unemployment rate, poverty and social problems beset the Tribe which remains largely dependent upon federal funds.