President Barack Obama on Thursday will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference, meeting with representatives from the 564 federally recognized tribes.
“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. This conference will serve as part of the ongoing and important consultation process that I value, and further strengthen the Nation-to-Nation relationship,” Obama said last month in announcing the conference.
“From what I understand, 90 percent of our tribal leaders are going. We’re looking forward to this historical event,” said Darrell Flyingman, governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, according to Native American Times.
The meeting is long overdue, Muscogee Creek Nation Principal Chief A.D. Ellis, told the publication.
“I’m glad he’s following through on the promise he made when he was campaigning. This meeting with tribal leaders has been a long time coming,” said Ellis, who hopes to ask the president about the Indian health care system and education.
The meeting will be held at the Department of the Interior and is expected to stream live at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
The conference coincides with the opening on Tuesday of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Embassy of Tribal Nations in Washington, USA Today reported.
“For the first time since settlement, tribal nations will have a permanent home in Washington, D.C., where they can more effectively assert their sovereign status and facilitate a much stronger nation-to-nation relationship with the federal government,” said Jefferson Keel, president of NCAI, which represents 250 tribes.