Trump’s comments to tribal leaders will make you scratch your head.
Has President Trump been reading his own executive orders? Given what he said to Native American leaders and state officials in a meeting on Wednesday, we’re not so sure:
The controversial project runs under the Missouri River, the main water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Former President Obama had paused construction for environmental review. Just two weeks ago, a court ruled that Trump’s rushed approval process violated the law.
At Wednesday’s meeting with tribal leaders, Trump said that he wanted to create jobs “like you’ve never seen before” for energy development on Native lands. “For too long, the federal government has put up restrictions and regulations that put this energy wealth out of reach … We’re going to put it back in your hands.”
Historian Michalyn Steele has noted that the federal government has typically recognized tribal sovereignty only when it favors its own interests. Trump’s recent comments suggest his administration intends to do the same.