Published on Dec 04, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, President Obama hosted more than 300 tribal government and youth leaders at the Sixth Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. During sessions throughout the day, ten Cabinet Secretaries and the Administration highlighted their deepening partnership with tribal nations, particularly on the critical matters of Native youth, tribal economic development, and climate change. The President was introduced by Terry Rambler, Chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, who declared that President Obama “promised to meet with us annually, and he has kept his promise. During this time, we have accomplished many things for our communities.”
President Obama focused his remarks on Native youth, building upon his summer 2014 visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, where the President and First Lady visited with a group of young people. He shared how they stayed longer than planned as the young people opened up about the extraordinary challenges they faced.
The President then made a series of concrete commitments designed to create new avenues of opportunity for Native youth:
- The release of the White House Native Youth Report detailing the realities that Native young people face and offering recommendations to address those issues
- The launch of the Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour, through which each Cabinet Secretary will pay visits to Indian Country in 2015 to hear directly from Native Youth
- The establishment of the Generation Indigenous (Gen I) national initiative, which will seek to identify and remove obstacles standing in the way of Native Youth success
- The creation of the Native Youth Community Projects, which will facilitate collaboration between tribes and schools to support students in a range of areas
- The convening of the First White House Tribal Youth Gathering in 2015
The President stated: “The United States shares a sacred bond with our Native nations. We have a sacred responsibility to all our young people, including Native youth..”
The President also pledged his continued commitment and that of his Administration to promote economic growth in tribal communities, address the accelerating impacts of climate change, and submit a budget to Congress that seeks smarter, stronger investments important for Indian Country.
NCAI President Cladoosby said, “President Obama has demonstrated his commitment to ensuring a stronger relationship for the next generation. He has committed himself and his Administration to building a bright future for Native Youth and a stronger tomorrow for tribal nations.”
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