Crow Chairman Alvin Not Afraid were seen in headdress at a Trump rally in Montana
President Donald Trump was endorsing Republican candidate Matt Rosendale
In the past week Not Afraid endorsed Rosendale and Greg Gianforte
The Crow Tribe released an official statement saying the tribe did not endorse either candidate
Many were shocked when they saw a group of Native Americans in headdress standing behind President Donald Trump at a rally in Montana on Saturday for Matt Rosendale who is running against Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.
As screenshots of the rally spread on social media, it was assumed the photos were photoshopped, or they were paid to be there. The photos were not altered, and those seen at the rally were not “paid actors.” At least not in that sense.
Shortly before the Trump rally, Crow Tribe Chairman Alvin “A.J.” Not Afraid endorsed Rosendale, which he appeared to take as an endorsement from the tribe. Not Afraid faced immediate backlash from members of the Crow Tribe who do not feel Rosendale — who stands closely aligned with the Trump administration — has the best interests of Native Americans in mind.
Not Afraid’s endorsement was delivered without the blessing of other elected Crow leaders and a slap in the face to Tester, a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs who assisted with securing $460 million settlement for water rights in 2010.
Rosendale was happy to accept the endorsement. In a tweet, Rosendale thanked the Crow Tribe for their support and allowing him to speak to them.
I’m humbled to have the support of the Crow Tribe! Thank you for this invitation to speak and visit with all of you today! #mtsen #mtpol
— Matt Rosendale (@MattForMontana) October 30, 2018
In a second tweet, Rosendale thanked Not Afraid in specific for the endorsement. Rosendale called the endorsement an “honor of a lifetime.”
This is an honor of a lifetime and one that I will cherish forever. I will be a true friend, listen, and always be there for the Crow people. Thank you Chairman A.J. Not Afraid for your endorsement! #mtsen #mtpol
This is an honor of a lifetime and one that I will cherish forever. I will be a true friend, listen, and always be there for the Crow people. Thank you Chairman A.J. Not Afraid for your endorsement! #mtsen #mtpol pic.twitter.com/MqpSOzv3BF
— Matt Rosendale (@MattForMontana) October 29, 2018
Not Afraid did not stop there. On Friday, he also endorsed Rep. Greg Gianforte and pushed the Absaalooke Nation to step away from partisan beliefs and move forward with coal. The Crow coal industry has been struggling over the years due to what Republicans have dubbed “the war on coal.”
It has to be known to the Crow people, to the Absaalooke, that the Absaalooke go with who pushes the Absaalooke agenda. Congressman Gianforte, also candidate Gianforte, is in the running to push the Crow agenda. You need to get out of your mind that you have to be Republican, (or) you have to be Democrat. You have to vote for the right person.
Westmoreland Coal — which operates Absaloka Mine — recently filed for bankruptcy. In the years leading up to the bankruptcy, royalty payments to the Crow Tribe have steadily decreased. The tribe previously agreed to cut the tribal severance tax just to keep the mine going. In total, the Crow tribal government took a seven-figure loss from the cuts.
Cloud Peak Energy’s Spring Creek stopped exporting coal from Crow country to Westshore terminal in British Columbia because the cost of the coal was too low to cover shipping costs. In August, Cloud Peak announced that retired mine workes from Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Campbell County would no longer receive health care.
The Crow Tribe is said to be partnering with Cloud Peak on a new coal port in Puget Sound, despite the Army Corps of Engineers showing treaty concerns with another tribe. Crow coal advocates have also shown interest in creating a coal port in coal port near Longview, Washington.
The Crow Tribal Legislative Branch of Government released a statement following Not Afraid’s endorsement of Gianforte and RosendaleIn the statement, the Crow Tribe denounce the claim that the entire tribe endorsed either candidate.
Chairman Not Afraid cannot endorse nor appear to endorse any candidate without Crow Tribal Government approval. The Crow Tribe does not endorse Matt Rosendale or Greg Gianforte. The Legislative Branch looks forward to working with officials in the coming two years.