Sitting Bull: A Hero of Lakota Resistance

Editor’s note: November is Native American Heritage Month. First proclaimed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, it is an opportunity to acknowledge the histories and cultures of Native people across the U.S., highlighting the challenges they have faced, their sacrifices and their contributions.

“Native Americans have influenced every stage of America’s development,” noted President Donald Trump in his October 31, 2017 proclamation. “They helped early European settlers survive and thrive in a new land. They contributed democratic ideas to our constitutional framers. And, for more than 200 years, they have bravely answered the call to defend our Nation, serving with distinction in every branch of the United States Armed Forces.”

This month, VOA will highlight prominent Native Americans and their role in U.S. history, culture and society.

 

Sitting Bull was born around 1831, a member of the Hunkpapa band of Lakota. The location of his birth is disputed. Most historians say he was born in what is today South Dakota. His descendants cite Montana as his birthplace.

Mentored by his uncle, a healer and spiritual leader, the boy killed his first buffalo at age ten and at 14, distinguished himself during a raid on the Lakota’s traditional enemy, the Crow. He earned the warrior name Thathanka Iyotake, translated as “Sitting Bison Bull.”

Sitting Bull was accepted into at least two warrior societies, the Midnight Strong Heart and Kit Fox, brotherhoods whose members were bound by principles of bravery, generosity and morality. He would also become a wichasha wakan, a spiritual leader whose visions would help guide his people.

By the end of the 1840s, the U.S., then just 25 states, extended only as far the continent’s midpoint. The Plains, considered inhospitable, were designated as “Indian Territory.” But everything changed in 1849, when gold was discovered in California, and President Polk decided it was America’s “manifest destiny” to push U.S. boundaries all the way west to the Pacific Ocean.

In 1862, the government passed the Homestead Act, handing out free 65-hectare (160-acre) lots in the West, setting off an unprecedented land rush. It also authorized the first transcontinental railroad.Wave after wave of miners, railroad workers and settlers began crossing the Plains, looking to the U.S. Army to protect them from attacks by the region’s tribes, and the 1860s saw often brutal warfare by both sides. 

Refused to submit

Sitting Bull first encountered the American Army in 1863, when the military mounted a broad campaign against the Lakota in retaliation for a Dakota massacre in Minnesota. He went on to lead the Lakota in many attacks on U.S. military forts, rejecting government efforts to negotiate or contain him.

Sitting Bull refused to join other Lakota bands, the Yanktonai Dakota and Arapaho Nation in signing an 1868 treaty negotiated at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. The treaty guaranteed the Lakota “absolute and undisturbed use of the Great Sioux Reservation,” including the Black Hills, sacred to Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho and other tribes. It held only until the discovery of gold in the Black Hills, in 1874. The government then confiscated the Hills and ordered tribes back to the reservation. Sitting Bull resisted, setting up camp along the Little Big Horn River in Montana.

In early June of 1876, Sitting Bull held a Sun Dance, a prayer ceremony in which he pierced his arms in an act of sacrifice and danced to exhaustion. During the ritual, he is said to have had a vision of a military defeat of many soldiers.

That same month, General George A. Custer, a former Civil War hero, led a surprise attack on Sitting Bull’s camp. The Lakota, said to be inspired by Sitting Bull’s vision, fought fiercely. Within hours, Custer and more than 200 soldiers were dead, news that shocked Americans and caused the Army to redouble efforts to contain the tribes.

In video below, Sitting Bull’s great grandson Ernie LaPointe talks about his ancestor and the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Sitting Bull and his followers fled to Canada, but scarce food resources led him to finally surrender to the U.S. Authorities sent him to the Standing Rock Agency in North Dakota, where he lived as a prisoner, refusing to renounce his traditions and spiritual beliefs. This created tension among those Lakota who had embraced assimilation into Christian culture and likely led to his death.

Ghost Dance

The late 1880s saw the birth of a spiritual movement which promised that if Natives lived a good life and performed a ceremonial Ghost Dance, their former way of life would be returned to them.The prophecy spread across the Plains, where it was adapted by the Lakota, now living in harsh conditions on the reservation, dependent on inadequate government rations. 

The government viewed the dance as an act of sedition and tried in vain to stop it. Sitting Bull, say his descendants, merely tolerated the prophecy, which was to his eyes a preferable alternative to Christianization

​On December 16th, 1890, tribal police, acting on the government’s behalf, entered Sitting Bull’s cabin to arrest him. He was shot and killed in the melee that followed. On the 29th of December, the Army launched an attack on about 300 Lakota men, women and children camped at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Reservation, killing most of them and burying them in a mass grave.

Today, Sitting Bull’s descendants still pray for their ancestor, whom they revere as a visionary acting not only on behalf of his contemporaries but future generations of Lakota. And every December 29, Lakota gather at Wounded Knee to remember their ancestors and celebrate their resilience.

 

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US Destroyer Damaged by Japanese Tug Boat in Pacific

A U.S. guided missile destroyer sustained minimal damage Saturday when a Japanese tug boat lost propulsion and drifted into it during a towing exercise in Sagami Bay off central Japan in the Pacific Ocean.

The Navy said in a statement the USS Benfold sustained had scrapes on its side, though no one was injured on either vessel.

“Benfold remains at sea under her own power. The Japanese commercial tug is being towed by another vessel to a port in Yokosuka. The incident will be investigated,” read the statement from the U.S. Seventh Fleet.

The commercial tug boat was being towed to a port in Yokosuka, the home of the Navy’s Japan-based 7th Fleet, which has had two fatal accidents in Asian waters this year in which Navy warships and commercial ships collided at sea.

Seventeen sailors were killed this year in the two collisions with commercial vessels involving guided-missile destroyers, the USS Fitzgerald in June off Japan, and the USS John S. McCain in August as it approached Singapore.

The incidents prompted dismissals of Navy commanders, and the U.S. Navy announced a series of reforms this month aimed at restoring basic naval skills and alertness at sea after a review of deadly ship collisions in the Asia-Pacific region showed sailors were under-trained and over-worked.

 

 

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As Sex Harassment Scandal Grows, Minorities Seldom Involved

In the weeks since dozens of women have accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape or sexual, unleashing an avalanche of similar charges against other prominent men across American life, women and men of color have been largely absent from the national furor.

The stories of abuse have roiled the entertainment industry, politics, tech and more, raising the possibility that this could be a watershed moment to end tolerance of such behavior. But some observers fear minority women may miss the moment, as they often are more reticent to speak up about sexual harassment.

“The stakes are higher in a lot of instances for us than they are for a lot of other women,” said Tarana Burke, a black activist who founded the #MeToo movement on Twitter in 2006 to raise awareness around sexual violence. “That creates a dynamic where you have women of color who have to think a little bit differently about what it means for them to come forward in cases of sexual harassment.”

A few high-profile minority actresses have come forward. New York authorities are investigating claims from actress Paz de la Huerta that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010; he has denied charges of non-consensual sex with any woman.

When Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o wrote in a New York Times op-ed last month that she had an unsettling encounter with the producer in 2011 at his home, Weinstein quickly denied doing anything inappropriate with Nyong’o, after days of silence following similar accusations by famous white accusers.

Author and activist Feminista Jones said that Weinstein’s denial of Nyong’o’s allegations sent the message to black women that they can’t be harassed, they can’t be assaulted.”

For black women, that is a message that dates back to slavery, when black women’s bodies were not their own and racist stereotypes were used to justify abuse, said Rutgers University historian Deborah Gray White.

“Historically, African-American women have been perceived as promiscuous,” said White, author of the book, “Ar’n’t I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South.”

“Black women’s bodies, from Day One, have been available to all men,” she said.

As a result, White said, black women have had a hard time proving sexual exploitation. In response, many chose to remain silent as a form of self-preservation.

“Somehow talking about it is admitting , ’I walk the land unprotected,’” White said. “They were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t.”

For Asian-American women, speaking up after sexual assault can be daunting for a variety of cultural reasons, said Anna Bang, education coordinator at KAN-WIN, a Chicago-based domestic violence and sexual assault services group that frequently helps Asian-American and immigrant women. Bang said she has noticed the absence of Asian-American women from the Weinstein conversation and, as a Korean immigrant, doubts that she would tell her family if she were ever assaulted.

“It’s such a shame and guilt,” she said. “You don’t want your parents to be worried about you … When we are growing up, your parents teach you, ‘Don’t share your family problems with people.’ We’re trying to break that silence by educating our community members.”

Many of the women who seek help from KAN-WIN do so a decade or more after the abuse took place, she said.

“In our culture, women … they teach you how to suck it up,” she said. “They teach you to swallow your anger, your fear. It’s tough.”

Women of Latin American descent also weigh economic and cultural issues when deciding whether to speak out about sexual abuse.

Women of Latin American descent have been stereotyped as being submissive and sexually available, according to Monica Russel y Rodriguez, a Northwestern University ethnographer whose research includes sexuality, race and class in Latino communities. She said that undocumented immigrants in the United States would be even less likely to report an assault or harassment, fearing anything from job loss to blackmail or deportation.

“Even for white women, there’s not going to be any guarantee of an equitable resolution, so it’s a lot to expect women in a more highly vulnerable situation to be willing to speak out at the same rate,” Russel y Rodriguez said. “There’s no reason to expect that Latinas aren’t being sexually harassed or raped at the same degree or more.”

While most of the recent spate of sexual abuse allegations have been against white men, men of color have not been immune to such charges. Before the Weinstein scandal upended Hollywood, Bill Cosby’s name became synonymous with sexual abuse, as more than 50 women came forward and said the pioneering black actor once known as “America’s Dad” forced sexual contact with them over decades. Last June, Cosby went to trial on charges that he drugged and molested a woman in 2004. The case ended in a mistrial and Cosby is expected to be retried next year.

Since the Weinstein scandal, a writer for The Root, a website geared toward the black audience, said both Jesse Jackson and John Singleton sexually harassed her. Jackson and Singleton declined comment when contacted by The Associated Press, as did the Root writer.

George Takei, best known for his role in the original “Star Trek,” was recently accused of groping a man decades earlier; he denied the allegations. Actor Terry Crews went public with a claim that a Hollywood agent groped him, and that agent was later fired.

And an actress, Demi Mann, filed a lawsuit Thursday in which she alleged agent Cameron Mitchell sexually assaulted her. Mitchell, who is black, was fired by Creative Arts Agency, LLC.; he called Mann’s claims false.

But compared to the dozens of well-known white men named and white women who have made allegations, people of color have not played a prominent role in this evolving scandal.

Nearly three decades ago, an African-American attorney started the conversation on the topic. Anita Hill detailed allegations of sexual harassment by her former boss, then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas, during the 1991 congressional hearings held ahead of his confirmation. Thomas, also African-American, framed the hearings as a “high-tech lynching” and went on to be confirmed to the high court.

Hill was treated as a pariah by some for coming forward, but she was hailed by others and has spent the decades since as an advocate for women’s equality.

Burke, whose online #MeToo campaign was resurrected by actress Alyssa Milano in the wake of the Weinstein charges, doesn’t want minority women to miss the moment. She is launching a series of webinars to help women understand sexual violence and is encouraging women of color around the world to speak out.

“At some point, we have to confront this as a community,” Burke said. “This is a great place for this to happen.”

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МЗС викликає польського посла в Україні через недопуск Святослава Шеремети до Польщі – Беца

У Міністерстві закордонних справ України повідомили про виклик посла Польщі в Україні через повідомлення про відмову польських прикордонників пропустити на територію країни секретаря Державної міжвідомчої комісії у справах увічнення пам’яті учасників антитерористичної операції, пам’яті учасників жертв війни та політичних репресій Святослава Шеремету. Про це повідомила на сторінці у Twitter речниця МЗС Мар’яна Беца.

«Терміново викликаємо посла Польщі в Україні у зв’язку з недопуском секретаря Державної міжвідомчої комісії Святослава Шеремети до Польщі», – написала Беца.

Раніше сьогодні секретар Державної міжвідомчої комісії у справах увічнення пам’яті учасників антитерористичної операції, пам’яті учасників жертв війни та політичних репресій Святослав Шеремета повідомив, що його не пропустили прикордонники до Польщі. За його словами, причин йому не пояснили, вказавши лише, що заборона встановлена на рік, а німецька віза, за якою він намагався перетнути кордон, буде анульована. Шеремета повідомив, що метою його поїздки у складі української групи було відвідання українського військового цвинтар у місті Ланцут для вшанування пам’яті близько 400 українських вояків Української галицької армії та Армії Української Народної Республіки.

Офіційних коментарів польських прикордонних служб чи МЗС Польщі щодо заборони в’їзду Святославу Шереметі наразі немає.

Святослав Шеремета раніше припустив, що його прізвище може потрапити до так званого списку заборонених до в’їзду в Польщу громадян України. Польські ЗМІ з посиланням на міністра закордонних справ Польщі Вітольда Ващиковського повідомляли, що формується список українців, яким заборонять в’їзд у Польщу через «антипольські погляди», блокування питання проведення ексгумації та реновації місць польських поховань тощо. Серед «заборонених» у ЗМІ прізвищ фігурував директор Українського Інституту національної пам’яті Володимир В’ятрович.

В МЗС України неодноразово заявляли, що в Україні немає антипольських настроїв.

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Соломатіна оголосила про намір позиватися проти Луценка та Холодницького через передачу справи СБУ

Викривачі зловживань у Національному агентстві з питань запобігання корупції мають намір подавати позов до суду проти Генпрокуратури та Спеціалізованої антикорупційної прокуратури через передачу цієї справи до Служби безпеки України. Відповідну заяву 18 листопада у Facebook оприлюднила колишня співробітниця агентства Ганна Соломатіна.

За її словами, йдеться про конфлікт інтересів.

«Як ви могли передати справу до СБУ, якщо знали, що викривачі дали свідчення на заступника начальника Управління СБУ Карпушина?! Саме Карпушин приніс назад пакет з документами про зловживання у НАЗК, який мій колега відвіз на Різницьку. Повернув незареєстрованим і сказав: не лізьте», – зазначила Соломатіна.

Представники СБУ ситуацію наразі не коментували. 

Раніше про те, що кримінальне провадження щодо керівництва Національного агентства з питань запобігання корупції за фактами, оприлюдненими екс-співробітницею агентства Ганною Соломатіною, забрали з НАБУ і передали в СБУ за рішенням генерального прокурора Юрія Луценка, повідомив депутат Мустафа Найєм.

У коментарях до цього повідомлення генеральний прокурор Юрій Луценко написав, що для уникнення конфлікту інтересів Спеціалізована антикорупційна прокуратура звернулася до нього щодо зміни підслідності на СБУ.

14 листопада керівник департаменту фінансового контролю і моніторингу способу життя НАЗК Ганна Соломатіна заявила, що перевірки е-декларування фальсифікуються, і попросила антикорупційні органи розслідувати факти неправомірних дій, а голову НАЗК Наталію Корчак відсторонити від виконання обов’язків на час розслідування.

Пізніше у НАБУ повідомили, що почали розслідування за фактом можливих корупційних дій службових осіб НАЗК.

У НАЗК заяву Соломатіної назвали поширенням «недостовірної інформації негативного змісту з метою дискредитації роботи агентства» і заявили, що подали на екс-співробітницю в суд.

Сама Соломатіна заперечує, що вона – «колишня співробітниця», стверджуючи, що перебуває на лікарняному.

 

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Post-Harvey Houston: Years Until Recovery, Plenty of Costs Unknown

When the heaviest rain of tropical storm Harvey had passed, Kathryn Clark’s west Houston neighborhood had escaped the worst. Then the dams were opened — a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent upstream flooding and potential dam failures by releasing water into Buffalo Bayou, just a few hundred feet from the end of Clark’s street.

When she and her husband returned to survey the damage later that week, they entered their two-story home by kayak in roughly three feet of water. In the kitchen, a snake slithered past.

Nothing like that had happened in the nearly 11 years the Clarks have lived there; it got Kathryn thinking about their long-term plans, including whether to rebuild.

“What if they decide to open the dams again?” she asked. “But if you don’t rebuild, you just walk away, and that is a big loss.”

The Clarks ultimately opted to reconstruct, a process that will take another half-year before they can move back in. Elsewhere in the city, the waiting will be longer.

​A sprawling concrete jungle

In early November, Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters that Texas will need more than $61 billion in federal aid, to help fund a reconstruction plan that he said would curtail damage from future coastal storms. However, he added, there will be more requests: “This is not a closed book.”

Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in U.S. history, will affect Houston for months, and years. Apart from tens of thousands of ongoing home rebuilding projects, civil construction is in the evaluation phase.

“With Katrina, it actually took them 12 years before FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] made their final payment to the city of New Orleans,” said Jeff Nielsen, executive vice president of the Houston Contractors Association. “That’s how long it takes to really test and figure out where all the repairs and where all the damage occurred.”

Houston covers a landmass of 1,600 square kilometers, compared to New Orleans’ 900, and is much more densely populated. The impermeable concrete jungle experienced major runoff during the storm, and that translates to high civil construction costs in roads, bridges, water, sewage and utility lines that are difficult to determine.

WATCH: Post-Harvey Houston: Years Until Recovery, Unknown Costs

Nielsen explains to VOA the immensity of the task. 

“You may be driving down the road one day and, all of a sudden — boom — there is a 10-foot sinkhole underneath the road because there is a water line or a sewer line or a storm sewer line that runs underneath that road.

“There is no way to tell that that’s happening without going through and testing each and every line,” Nielsen said.

​Waiting, waiting

Rob Hellyer, owner of Premier Remodeling & Construction, says Houston has seen an uptick in inquiries for both flood and nonflood-related projects — good for business, but a challenge for clients.

“A lot of those people come to the realization that ‘If we want to get our project done in the next two or three years, we better get somebody lined up quick,’” Hellyer told VOA.

But industrywide, much of the workforce is dealing with flooding issues of their own, while simultaneously attempting to earn a living.

“It really has disbursed that labor pool that we have been using for all these years,” Hellyer said.

Labor shortages in construction-related jobs have long been a challenge despite competitive wages, according to Nielsen, who describes his field — civil construction — as less-than-glamorous.

“Outside, it’s hot. What could be more fun than pouring hot asphalt on a road?” he asked.

Networking barriers

With construction costs up and waiting periods long, the hands-on rebuilding effort is typically attractive for some lower-wage immigrant communities.

Among the city’s sizable Vietnamese population, though, that’s not exactly the case, said Jannette Diep, executive director of Boat People SOS Houston office (BPSOS), a community organization serving the area’s diaspora population.

“[Vietnamese construction workers] face not only a language barrier but that networking piece, because they’re not intertwined with a lot of the rules and regulations,” Diep said. “‘Well, how do I do the bid; what’s the process?’”

Overwhelmed with paperwork and often discouraged by limited communication skills in English, Diep says many within the industry opt to work only from within their own communities, despite more widespread opportunities across Greater Houston.

The same barriers apply to the Asian diaspora’s individual post-recovery efforts. BPSOS-Houston, according to Diep, remains focused on short-term needs — food, clothing, cleaning supplies — and expects the longer-term recovery to take two to three years, particularly in lower-income neighborhoods.

Love thy neighbor

Loc Ngo, a mother of seven and grandmother from Vietnam, has lived in Houston for 40 years, but speaks little English. In Fatima Village, a tightly knit single-street community of mobile homes — comprising 33 Vietnamese families — she hardly has to.

“They came to fix the home and it cost $11,000, but they’re not finished yet,” she explained, through her son’s translation. “The washer, dryer and refrigerator — I still haven’t bought them yet, and two beds!”

Across the street, the three-generation Le family levels heaps of dirt across a barren lot that’s lined by spare pipes and cinderblocks. They plan to install a new mobile home.

At the front end of the road is the village’s single-story church, baby blue and white, like the sky — the site of services, weddings, funerals and community gatherings.

Victor Ngo, a hardwood floor installer, typically organizes church events. But for now, his attention is turned to completing reconstruction of the altar and securing donations to replace 30 ruined benches.

“At first I had to spend two months to fix up my house, and now I finished my house, and I [have started] to fix up this church,” Ngo said. “So basically, I don’t go out there to work and make money. Not yet.”

In the village, made up largely of elders, Ngo stresses the importance of staying close to home to help with rebuilding, translation, and paperwork, at least for a while longer.

“We stick together as a community to survive,” he said.

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Український консул зустрівся із затриманим в Білорусі журналістом «Українського радіо» – посол

Український консул зустрівся у Мінську із затриманим в Білорусі журналістом «Українського радіо» Павлом Шаройком, повідомив телеканалу «112 Україна» посол України в Білорусі Ігор Кизим.

«Відразу, як нам повідомили про це, ми направили відповідну ноту щодо доступу до затриманого. Цей допуск був наданий, наш консул зустрічався з Шаройком, щоб з’ясувати, в яких умовах він знаходиться, і щоб він на них не скаржився. Потім відбулася зустріч нашого консула з дружиною Шаройка і адвокатом», – повідомив посол.

За його словами, журналіст перебуває в слідчому ізоляторі КДБ Білорусі в Мінську.

«Після затримання були названі причини – це звинувачення в шпигунстві згідно з КК Білорусі», – додав Кизим.

Білоруська сторона поки не надала офіційного коментаря за фактом затримання українця.

За попередніми даними, Павла Шаройка, власного кореспондента «Українського радіо» в Білорусі, затримали 25 жовтня в Мінську після проведення в його помешканні обшуку за звинуваченням у «шпигунстві». У Міністерстві закордонних справ України заявили, що вживають заходів для захисту прав Шаройка, а  Національна спілка журналістів України оприлюднила вимогу про його негайне звільнення.

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Some Republicans Nervous NAFTA Talks Could Fail

Pro-trade Republicans in the U.S. Congress are growing worried that U.S. President Donald Trump may try to quit the NAFTA free trade deal entirely rather than negotiate a compromise that preserves its core benefits.

As a fifth round of talks to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement kicked off in Mexico on Friday, several Republicans interviewed by Reuters expressed concerns that tough U.S. demands, including a five-year sunset clause and a U.S.-specific content rule, will sink the talks and lead to the deal’s collapse.

Business groups have warned of dire economic consequences, including millions of jobs lost as Mexican and Canadian tariffs snap back to their early 1990s levels.

“I think the administration is playing a pretty dangerous game with this sunset provision,” said Representative Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from eastern Pennsylvania.

He said putting NAFTA under threat of extinction every five years would make it difficult for companies in his district, ranging from chocolate giant Hershey Co to small family owned manufacturing firms, to invest in supply chains and manage global operations.

Hershey operates candy plants in Monterrey and Guadalajara, Mexico.

Lawmakers’ letter

Nearly 75 House of Representatives members signed a letter this week opposing U.S. proposals on automotive rules of origin, which would require 50 percent U.S. content in NAFTA-built vehicles and 85 percent regional content.

They warned that this would “eliminate the competitive advantages” that NAFTA brings to U.S. automakers or lead to a collapse of the trade pact.

Representative Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican who has long been a supporter of free trade deals, said he disagreed with the Trump approach of “trying to beat someone” in the NAFTA talks. Texas is the largest U.S. exporting state with nearly half of its $231 billion in exports last year headed to Mexico and Canada, according to Commerce Department data.

“We need to offer Mexico a fair deal. If we want them to take our cattle, we need to take their avocados,” Sessions said.

Still, congressional apprehension about Trump’s stance is far from unanimous. The signers were largely Republicans, with no Democrats from auto-intensive states such as Michigan and Ohio signing.

Democratic support

Some pro-labor Democrats have actually expressed support for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s tough approach.

“Some of those demands are in tune,” said Representative Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee.

“We don’t want to blow it up, Republicans don’t want to blow it up. But we want substantial changes in the labor, the environmental, the currency, on how you come to an agreement when there’s a dispute, and on problems of origin.”

Farm state Republicans are especially concerned that a collapse of NAFTA would lead to the loss of crucial export markets in Mexico and Canada for corn, beef and other products.

Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Lighthizer in a recent meeting agreed that a withdrawal from NAFTA would be hard on U.S. agriculture, which has largely benefited from the trade pact.

U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quintupled to about $41 billion in 2016 from about $9 billion in 1993, the year before NAFTA went into effect, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

Grassley said, however, that Lighthizer’s approach was “taking everybody to the brink on these talks.”

Other Republicans are taking a wait-and-see approach to the talks.

Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma said he was willing to give Trump “the benefit of the doubt” on NAFTA talks, adding that farmers and ranchers in his rural district were strong Trump supporters in the 2016 election.

“The president’s a practical fellow. When push comes to shove, he understands the base,” Lucas said.

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