In the 1830s, Democrats spearheaded Indian Removal, one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. Nearly two centuries later, it appears that clueless party members cannot stop trampling the rights of Indigenous Americans. On July 13, Dr. Buu V. Nygren, President of the Navajo Nation, testified to Congress regarding the Biden administration’s destructive energy policies. In response to Nygren’s testimony, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York exhibited the astonishing hubris of an elitist who worships at the altar of climate change. Nygren appeared before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources to protest an imperious edict. On June 2, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland imposed a 20-year ban on oil, gas and mineral leasing in part of New Mexico. The ban, issued under Public Lands Order 7923, established a 10-mile buffer around Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Members of the Navajo Nation have ancient cultural ties to the Chaco region. They also hold valuable mineral rights in the buffer area. According to Just The News, the ban will cost Navajo mineral owners nearly $200 million in revenue over the next 20 years. Haaland issued the ban over strenuous Navajo protest. In his testimony, Nygren cited extreme Navajo poverty relative to the rest of the United States. “The 10-mile withdrawal area includes numerous allotments and negatively affects the mineral interests of over 20,000 allottees,” he said. Meanwhile, the Eastern Navajo Agency, a Navajo reservation, “lies within a portion of New Mexico that remains one of the least economically developed places in the United States.” The median income is less than $27,000. Clearly, therefore, Public Lands Order 7923 threatens to further impoverish the already struggling Navajo. Furthermore, Haaland’s ban tramples the tribal right of self-determination. Nygren testified that the ban “disregards and fails to honor the Navajo Nation’s sovereignty.” He added that “this is an issue of great significance because it elevates outside special interest groups’ agendas over the sovereign interests of the Navajo Nation and the economic interests of our directly impacted allottees and local community members.” One such “outside special interest” reared its ugly head when Ocasio-Cortez weighed in on the matter. According to Just The News, the New York congresswoman defended the ban despite its adverse economic impact. “The answer to that, in my view, is not to revert back to oil and gas mining,” she said, “but to invest and reinvest in these communities, particularly where there is harm being done.” With the ban already in place, however, Nygren noted that it is a little late to be discussing alternatives. The image of Ocasio-Cortez sitting comfortably in Washington, D.C., and spewing nonsense about investing and reinvesting in one of the nation’s poorest regions–all while defending a policy that deliberately impoverishes the Navajo people–should make every true American populist’s head explode. Ocasio-Cortez poses as a friend of the poor. Her actions prove, however, that she will sacrifice actual poor people on the climate-change altar. Though their voting patterns suggest otherwise, American Indians have long suffered at the hands of rapacious Democrats. In their suffering, the Navajo people at least have exposed another tone-deaf, elitist hypocrite. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.