Presidential tribal summit provides networking opportunities
Kerry Steiner, American Indian Center of Indiana
Washington, D.C.: The Lenni Lenape are commonly
called the Delaware Indians. They were the first
Indian Nation to sign an agreement with the U.S.
regarding their lands in the Treaty of Fort Pitt in
Despite the Treaty, the Delaware were forced west within a couple years. After being relocated more than a dozen times, they finally settled in Oklahoma. During those years they were a landless tribe. Sadly, they still are today.
“We’re hoping to acquire some land,” explained Paula Pechonick, chief of the Delaware Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and the first woman to ever hold the position. Her tribe is referred to as the Eastern Delaware.
Pechonick joined 250 other tribal leaders at a
reception held the evening before the second
White House Tribal Summit. Held at the National
Museum of American Indians, the gathering enabled
tribal leaders to informally meet and mingle.
Although the summit focused on education among tribal nations, many leaders used the reception to network and discuss the many issues their people face both on and off the reservation.
“Most tribes have unique problems. Health,
education and land trust; each is very unique," said Ron
Sparkman, tribal chairman of the Shawnee. "I am
honored to be one of the 14 tribal leaders to attend
a meeting on law enforcement, and I hope to bring
about a better relationship by learning best
practices from others who are here.”
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