Native Village
Youth and Education news

Volume 1 December, 2011

Part 1: President Obama Announces 2011 White House Tribal Conference
Update: part 2: Obama not expected at White House sessions with Native Americans

President Obama Announces 2011 White House Tribal Conference

Washington D.C.: On  December 2, President Obama will host the White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Department of the Interior.

This conference enables leaders from the 565 federally recognized tribes to interact directly with the President. They will also interact with the highest-level representatives of his Administration. Each tribe is invited to send one representative to the conference.

This will be the third White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration. It builds upon his promise to strengthen the nation to nation relationship with Indian Country. Previous Presidents have not hosted such tribal conferences.

Last year, President Obama announced the United States' support of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples during the White House Tribal Conference.


Obama not expected at White House sessions with Native Americans
By Brenda Norrell
Condensed by Native Village

The White House told Censored News that President Obama is not expected to meet with Native American leaders before Friday's Tribal Nations Conference at the Interior building.

The White House said, "In addition to the Tribal Nations Conference itself, each federally recognized tribe has been invited to attend a briefing and listening session with Senior Administration Officials at the White House. These sessions have been arranged by region and are closed press. The President is not expected to participate."

All 565 federally-recognized Indian Nations were invited to send one representative to the Dec. 2 conference at the Interior building.

Three years ago President Obama announced the White House Tribal Nations Conference. Obama said it was an invitation and welcome to all American Indian leaders to come to the White House. However, he changed the location to the Interior building, then only gave a speech, answered some questions, and left.

In 2010, Obama met with a small group of Native leaders at the White House before the conference. There was no announcement nor information on how those leaders were selected. The majority represented tribes who are pushing for more coal fired power plants or oil and gas drilling on sacred lands. Some leaders had made deals with state or federal governments to give up their peoples water rights.

Back home on Indian lands, the elected Indian government leaders are often referred to puppet governments, formed by the US government.

John Kane, Mohawk, told Censored News that those "leaders" attending are "BIA puppets," and nothing meaningful will come out of this event.

"This is such a farce. If the entire six hour event was about direct access with the president, it would work out to less than 40 seconds per 'tribal leader,'" he said.  "Most of these guys are such figure heads and BIA puppets that their biggest concern will be to get their pictures taken. Nothing meaningful could possibly come from such an event."

"Ninety-five percent of the Native people in the room will be left out, if there are any 'discussions' at all," Kane added.

Alex White Plume, a Lakota on Pine Ridge in South Dakota, also points out that the voices of the people at home are never heard.

"Obama is meeting with the tribal councils. They represent the modern colonized form of government," Plume said. T"he real Lakota are home and never get heard. Our issue of Treaty violation is never bought up. This all sounds good, except it does not represent the Treaty Lakota."

The White House is not assisting tribal leaders with travel expenses. If all 565 Indian Nations attend, the cost will exceed a total of $1,000,000  for Indian Nations.

Native Americans are asking both Obama and Native American leaders if these sessions are for more political grandstanding and photo ops, or if they will result in real change for Indian country.

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