Ivanka Trump sparks furious backlash after pledging to solve cold cases with Native American victims

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Friday 31 July 2020 13:15
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(Getty)

Ivanka Trump cuts a divisive figure in the Trump administration.

As Donald Trump’s (allegedly favourite) daughter, she has a high-ranking position, almost akin to that of First Lady.

But people still aren’t sure exactly what Ivanka does.

And when she does do something political in public, it tends to receive backlash.

Like her latest campaign, where she visited Native American territories in Minnesota to open the country’s first Indian Affairs office.

The task force will be dedicated to solving cold cases of American Indians and Alaskan Natives who have gone missing or were murdered.

Speaking to reporters at the event, Trump expressed her particular concern about violence against Native American women.

"Indian Country enriches the fabric of our great nation on every level ... yet a dark pattern is plaguing tribal communities across the country," she said.

"They do not just represent a problem — they're proof of an epidemic”.

Sounds promising, right?

Unfortunately, the communities Ivanka is promising to help are not as convinced.

State representative Mary Kunesh-Podein, a member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party who is descended from the Standing Rock Lakota tribe, called her visit “disingenuous”, adding that it “smacks of manipulated political showcasing”.

Trump was also met by a protest from over 50 people, including Native Americans who said they would not be used as “political pawn[s]”.

Other critics pointed out that Ivanka’s father has historically not shown much concern for indigenous communities, given his support for environmentally damaging projects like the Keystone pipeline whuch would devastate sacred lands, derogatorily calling Elizabeth Warren “Pochahontas” and not acting sufficiently regarding racially-charged police violence in the state.

In a statement, Minnesota’s Lieutenant Governor Penny Flanagan said that Donald Trump had “made a career demonstrating and celebrating behavior that perpetuates violence against Native women and girls”.

Mary Kunesh-Podein also revealed that people working on the existing Task Force on Missing and Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives weren’t informed of Ivanka’s visit prior to her arriving.

Let’s hope this is initiative turns out to be more than optics only.

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