Native Village Youth and Education News
November, 2009   Volume 3

White House announces nation-to-nation conference
By Rob Capriccioso
http://www.indiancountrytoday.com/home/content/64486572.html
Condensed by Native Village
[Note: 
All or part of the event will be streamed at www.tribalsummit.mytribetv.com

]

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will host a White House Tribal Nations Conference on Nov. 5. Leaders or representative from all 564 federally recognized tribes will be invited.

“Indian country has been waiting for well over a decade for a meeting of this caliber with the President of the United States,” said Joe A. Garcia, National Congress of American Indians president.

The gathering is part of the president’s outreach to all American people.  Leaders say the White House area used  for such large meetings is under renovation, so they will gather at the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium of the Department of the Interior.

I look forward to hearing directly from the leaders in Indian country about what my administration can do to not only meet their needs, but help improve their lives and the lives of their peoples,” Obama said.  “This conference will serve as part of the ongoing and important consultation process that I value, and further strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship.”

“I commend President Obama for setting this precedent for his administration’s nation-to-nation working relationship with tribes. We have an ambitious agenda to strengthen economic development and improve tribal government services,” Joe Garcia, NCAI
. “Tribal leaders are very satisfied that President Obama is fulfilling his promise to meet with tribal leaders on a regular basis during his term in office,”

W. Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, says instead of just listening, tribal leaders want an active conversation in which the nations presented their issues clearly. “We do not want this to be a photo op,” he said. “We are hopeful that he will reaffirm and strengthen his administration’s commitment to the ‘government-to-government’ relationship including clear instruction to all departments and agencies under his executive authority.”

Jackie Johnson Pata, NCAI executive director, suggested tribal nations be prepared to speak in a unified voice and with a clear message. Among the priority topics are  sovereignty and the need for the federal government to honor trust responsibilities.

The Department of Interior is working with MyTribeTV, an Indian-owned business in Seattle, Wash., to provide online coverage of the conference.

“We are very excited to help showcase this important event to Indian country,” said Gaard Swanson, a co-owner of the company.

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