Buttigieg unveils plan for improving Native Americans’ lives on Columbus Day

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg

unveiled a plan to improve the lives of Native Americans on Monday, which is federally recognized as Columbus Day.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor pledged to create a commission to study occurrences of missing and murdered indigenous women, create an $80 billion initiative to ensure internet coverage across the U.S., including in Indian Country, and require federal agencies to consider treaty rights when taking actions that affect natural resources.

He also endorsed restoring federal protection of the Bears Ears National Monument, creating mandatory funding appropriations for the Indian Health Service and establishing a $10 billion grant to encourage communities, including native communities, to take on mental illness and addiction.

“The United States’ relationship with other sovereign nations should be guided by robust, meaningful, and respectful diplomacy,” Buttigieg said in a statement.

“It is time for the federal government to reset its relationships and interactions with these nations,” he added. “We have to acknowledge the shameful failures in our relationship with Tribal Nations and recommit our energies towards active diplomacy as the best way to heal and move forward to a thriving and healthy future together.”

The second Monday in October is federally recognized as Columbus Day, although a number of cities and states including Washington, D.C., recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day instead to honor the contributions of Native Americans.

Buttigieg is one of more than a dozen Democrats running for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. He is slated to appear in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

*story by The Hill