POLACCA—Ivan Sidney, former chairman of the Hopi Tribe, may land a federal position with the Bush administration.
Sidney, who headed Native Americans for Bush, has been asked by the Bush transition team to submit his resume, although he was not told what position he might be up for.
“I’m leaving my options open, but it would be an honor to be asked,” he said. “It’s important that Hopis obtain high positions. Hopi has never had anyone in such a high position.”
Sidney was one of the first Native American leaders to endorse Bush in his bid for the presidency. He was concerned in the early going about young Bush’s views on tribal sovereignty, but since that time Bush has made statements supporting tribal sovereignty, self-determination and self-sufficiency.
As head of Native Americans for Bush, Sidney helped the Bush administration with its policy platform on Native American issues. One of his main concerns now is seeing the Bush administration establish a Native American staff assistant for Native American Affairs in the White House. He said Hispanics and African-Americans are represented this way at the White House and Native Americans should have the same status.
“Hopefully, we’ll obtain that. It will take a continual educational effort,” he said.
Sidney emphasized that Native Americans want a helping hand rather than handouts.
Sidney, who attended the inauguration with his wife, is planning another trip to Washington. Sidney said he will lobby the federal government to see that Hopi Junior/Senior High School obtains a new junior high school building and an activities center. He added that the wish list for the Hopi Reservation includes the paving of Low Mountain Road, an elderly care center, a day care center, a shopping center and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
“I hope and pray that we get something from Washington, D.C that will benefit our young people,” he said. “When I go back, I’ll go as an ambassador for the Hopi Tribe if they allow me to do so. I’ve served as chairman and I’m indebted to the Hopi people for that.”
Sidney said most people assume Native Americans are Democrats, but he has been a long-time Republican and feels Native Americans need more political diversity. More importantly, he emphasized that Hopis and Native Americans need to get out to vote.
Sidney and his wife Yvonne recently attended George Bush’s inaugural ball and several other balls leading up to the event. The inaugural gave Sidney the chance to meet with several federal officials including members of the Bush administrative team, former Secretary of Interior Manuel Lujan and U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici from New Mexico.
Sidney and his wife Yvonne attended two of the five major presidential balls. One of those was the Native American Presidential ball where Sidney had the chance to meet representatives of the National Congress of American Indians and White Mountain Apache Chairman Ronnie Lupe.
Sidney also noted that many entertainers at the ball were Hopi, including Clandestine with Frank Poocha on lead vocals, world champion hoop dancer Derrick Davis and reggae artist Casper Lomayesva.