President Obama Commits to Greater Cooperation Between Federal Government and Tribal Nations
November 6, 2009 - Posted by Ron Bigler
Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Obama held a historic White House Tribal Nations Conference on November 5 and made it clear that he is committed to ensuring that the needs and concerns of Tribal Nations are addressed by the federal government.
At the conference, the president signed a directive to every cabinet agency asking them to provide a detailed plan — within 90 days — on how to implement Executive Order 13175 — "Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments."
"In the final years of his administration, President Clinton issued an executive order  establishing regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration between your nations and the federal government. But over the past nine years, only a few agencies have made an effort to implement that executive order — and it's time for that to change," said Obama upon signing the directive.
The president's actions were welcomed by tribal leaders.
"It is an understatement to say that this was an historic day for Indian Country. I want to thank President Barack Obama for living up to his campaign promise to hold this meeting and thank members of his Administration for their commitment to addressing our most pressing issues. Now it is time for action," said Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The fight for civil rights for the nation's more than 4 million indigenous peoples has been long supported by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and its coalition members.