Native American issues highlighted at presidential forum

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There has never been an event like Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – For many local and national tribes Monday was history in the making.

There has never been an event like Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum. Many presidential hopefuls making their case specifically to Native Americans.

“I’m excited that they are here,” said Spotted Eagle.

For Faith Spotted Eagle, the two-day Native American presidential forum is monumental.

“We brought several youth because back in the day in the 60s and 70s when I was a youth we prayed for this day and so the youth are going to pray for the next 40 or 50 years,” said Spotted Eagle.

The event is being held at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, in honor of Frank LaMere a well known Siouxland activist who passed earlier this year.

“To have this kind of showing for people to come nationwide to be here and honor him and honor his family and his legacy and everything that is truly an honor for me to be a part of that,” said Larry Wright, the Chairman of Ponca Tribe

Nine Democrat presidential candidates will be speaking throughout the event, touching on issues important to Native Americans.

“We want to make sure we do such a better job of getting justice to tribal areas it’s very hard to get out of poverty if you have a situation where no one is looking out for the most vulnerable,” said Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.

“It’s very important as Native Americans that we are at the table and that we can address the candidates one on one in person,” said Melanie Benjamin, Cheif Executive Tribal Chair Person.

Tribal leaders came prepared to let the candidates know what their people need.

“There are issues across the board that aren’t being addressed that are historically underfunded that we need the have the government honor their responsibility,” said Wright.

Some of the issues brought-up today included missing women, housing, healthcare, veteran aid and much more.

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