Vice President Kamala Harris visits Gila River Indian Community

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Vice President Kamala Harris appears at the Essence Festival of Culture on Friday, June 30, 2023, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Amy Harris / AP Photo

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Laveen, Arizona, Thursday to discuss issues facing tribal communities with the Gila River Indian Community.

“We have a duty to make sure all Native people have the opportunity to thrive,” Harris said in her address in regard to economic opportunity.

The vice president specifically touted federal government investments into “Native entrepreneurs and small businesses” through community banks and other resources.

On election issues, she said that the administration wants Congress to pass bills like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act because she believes it would benefit tribal communities.

“But we know for Native Americans that right has been hard fought and hard won,” Harris said on access to the ballot box.

In addition, she touched on issues such as climate infrastructure for water, mental health, missing and murdered Indigenous people, and internet access.

Harris notably commended the Supreme Court’s 7 to 2 decision in June to keep the Indian Child Welfare Act intact, but said she is worried it will come under legal fire again.

Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis introduced Harris, and thanked the White House for “true partnership and investment in the community.”

“She has been with Indian County throughout her career, and now we have a full partner in the White House,” Lewis said on Harris.

Two hundred and thirty-three million dollars in funding was provided to the tribe by the federal government in April for “water conservation”, with a portion of that funding coming from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“These are truly historic investments,” Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis at the April press conference with Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs and Biden administration officials, The Center Square reported. 

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.