The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Jayson O’Neill, (406) 200-8582

On Indigenous Peoples' Day, a Reminder of Trump's Disastrous Record and Land Manager's Overt Racism

Trump's Administration assaulted rights and sovereignty; supports official with documented bigotry towards Native Americans.


Today is Indigenous Peoples' Day--a day when we celebrate the rich history and culture of Indigenous peoples across the United States. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has a four-year record of undermining and assaulting Indigenous peoples' history, rights, and sovereignty. And Trump's top land manager, William Perry Pendley, who is apparently still serving as the illegal de facto acting Bureau of Land Management director, not only has a terrible, corrupt public lands record--but also has a documented history of racism and bigotry towards Indigenous people.

"The racism and hate spewed by the Trump administration is truly disgusting. On a day we should celebrate Indigenous people, it is hard to ignore the extreme bigotry of William Pendley, and how Trump's Interior Department has embraced it", said Western Values Project Director Jayson O'Neill. "With Assistant Secretary Tara Sweeney under investigation for her role in mishandling CARES Act money meant for Native American tribal governments in an attempt to benefit her husband and former employer on top of continued roll backs of numerous environmental and public land protections to the detriment of Indigenous peoples and their lands, Trump's administration has been a reign of true terror."
The Trump administration's harmful decisions include:
  • Illegally revoking protections for the culturally significant area that was Bears Ears National Monument;
  • Opening the sacred Chaco Canyon area to oil and gas drilling;
  • Assistant Sec. Tara Sweeney potentially leaking sensitive data and attempting to swindle COVID relief money from tribal governments;
  • Building a vanity border wall through areas sacred to Indigenous people;
  • Corrupt Sec. Bernhardt's overt attempts to strip the Mashpee Wampanoag of their sovereignty and rights; and
  • Ignoring a judge's ruling and the law on known bigot Willam Pendley's illegal charade.

Critical legal cases and rulings that impact Indigenous peoples' rights, tribal sovereignty and their lands could also take a dark turn if Trump places corporate activist Judge Amy Coney Barrett onto the nation's top judicial court. Barrett is a professed disciple of the late Justice Scalia. The former justice sided against Tribal interests 86% of the time, according to an analysis by the Native American Rights Fund.

This is a day to uphold our sacred and coveted public lands, and to uplift the Indigenous people who have lived on the land for centuries. This administration deserves to be held accountable for its blatant racism and overtly detrimental actions harming tribal communities, culture, and lands.

Western Values Project brings accountability to the national conversation about Western public lands and national parks conservation - a space too often dominated by industry lobbyists and their allies in government.