OBAMA: Thank you.
Thank you so
much. Thank you.
please, have a seat. Thank you.
Thank you very
much. Thank you. Thank you very
Thank you so
much. Thank you. Please, everybody,
have a seat.
Thank you to
Jefferson Keel. Thanks for the
wonderful introduction; to Clarence
Jackson for the invocation.
Good morning to
all of you.
I am honored to
be with you today at this unique and
historic event, the largest and most
widely attended gathering of tribal
leaders in our history.
And I am...
... I am so
grateful to so many members of
Congress who could join us today,
along with several members of my
Cabinet who will be participating in
this conference today.
You know, a
couple of summers ago, I had the
opportunity to visit the Crow Nation
in Montana. And while I was there, I
was adopted into the nation by a
wonderful couple, Hartford and Mary
Black Eagle. And I know what they're
saying now: Kids grow up so fast.
Only in America
could the adopted son of Crow
Indians grow up to be the president
of the United States.
It's not been a
year since the American people went
to the polls and gave me this
extraordinary privilege and
And part of what accounts for the
hope people felt on that day, I
think, was a sense that we had an
opportunity to change the way
Washington worked; a chance to make
our federal government the servant
not of special interests, but of the
It was a sense
that we had an opportunity to bring
about meaningful change for those
who had, for too long, been excluded
from the American dream. And few
have been more marginalized and
ignored by Washington for as long as
Native Americans, our first
the history that we share. It's a
history marked by violence and
disease and deprivation. Treaties
were violated. Promises were broken.
You were told your lands, your
religion, your cultures, your
languages were not yours to keep.
And that's a
history that we've got to
acknowledge if we are to move
And we also
know our more recent history, one in
which too often Washington thought
it knew what was best for your.
There was too little consultation
between governments. And that's a
major reason why things are the way
they are today.
Some of your
reservations face unemployment rates
of up to 80 percent. Roughly a
quarter of all Native Americans live
in poverty. More than 14 percent of
all reservation homes don't have
electricity. And 12 percent don't
have access to a safe water supply.
reservations, as many as 20 people
live together just to get by.
communication and consultation,
we're stuck, year after year, with
policies that don't work on issues
specific to you and on broader
issues that affect all of us. And
you deserve to have a voice in both.
I know that you
may be skeptical that this time will
be any different. You have every
right to be, and nobody would have
blamed you if you didn't come today.
But you did. And I know what an
extraordinary leap of faith that is
on your part.
And that's why
I want you to know that I'm
absolutely committed to moving
forward with you and forging a new
and better future together. It's a
commitment that's deeper than our
unique nation-to- nation
relationship. It's a commitment to
getting this relationship right, so
that you can be full partners in the
American economy and so your
children and your grandchildren can
have a equal shot at pursuing the
And that begins
by fulfilling the promises I made to
you during my campaign.
promised you a voice on my senior
staff in the White House so that
you'd have a seat at the table when
important decisions are being made
about your lives, your nations and
your people. And that's why I
appointed Kimberly Teehee of the
Cherokee Nation as my Native
American policy adviser, and Jodi
Gillette of the Standing Rock Sioux
Tribe to work directly with all of
Secretary Salazar and I selected
Larry EchoHawk of the Pawnee Nation
to serve as assistant secretary of
Indian Affairs here at Interior. And
they are doing great work so far.
I also told you
that we'd shake up the bureaucracy
and get policy-makers out of
Washington so they could hear
directly from you about your hopes,
your dreams, and the obstacles that
keep you from pursuing them.
Salazar, in particular, has helped
lead a comprehensive outreach to
tribal communities. And Attorney
General Eric Holder, Energy
Secretary Steven Chu, HUD Secretary
Shaun Donovan, Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan, and Secretary
of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, along
with several members of my staff,
have held listening sessions on
American Indian and Alaska native
issues around the country and at the
I promised you
we'd host this conference to develop
an agenda that works for your
communities, because I believe
Washington can't and shouldn't
dictate a policy agenda for Indian
country. Tribal nations do better
when they make their own decisions.
That's why we're here today.
And I want to
be clear about this: Today's summit
is not lip service. We're not going
to go through the motions and pay
tribute to one another and then furl
up the flags and go our separate
ways. Today's sessions are part of a
lasting conversation that's crucial
to our shared future.
Salazar and Secretary EchoHawk are
among the best advocates you could
have in Washington, and this
department is doing fantastic work
under their leadership.
good partners with tribal nations is
a responsibility we've all got to
take on. And that's why
representatives of multiple agencies
are here today, because if we're
going to address the needs of Native
Americans in a comprehensive way,
then we've got to mount a
A major step
toward living up to that
responsibility is the presidential
memorandum that I'll be signing at
this desk in just a few moments.
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.
I'll sign directs every Cabinet
agency to give me a detailed plan
within 90 days of how -- the full
implementation of that executive
order and how we're going to improve
there are challenges we can only
solve by working together. And we
face a serious set of issues right
now. We face our economic crisis, in
which we took bold and swift action,
including in your communities. We
allocated more than $3 billion of
the Recovery Act to help with some
of your most pressing needs, like
rebuilding and renovating schools on
reservations across the country.
more than $100 million in loans to
spur job creation in tribal
economies. And we made sure my
budget included significant
increases in funding for the Bureau
of Indian Affairs, the Indian Health
Service and other agencies that have
critical roles to play in your
But if we're
going to bring real and lasting
change for Native Americans, we need
a comprehensive strategy, as I've
Part of that
strategy is health care. We know
that as long as Native Americans die
of illnesses like tuberculosis,
alcoholism, diabetes, pneumonia and
influenza at far higher rates than
the rest of the population, then
we're going to have to do more to
address disparities in health care
More than half
of all Native Americans and Alaska
Natives, especially those in remote
areas with limited access to care,
rely on the Indian Health Service
for their most basic needs. And
that's why we invested $500 million
in the Recovery Act in strengthening
and modernizing the IHS. And that's
why my budget proposes an increase
of 13 percent in IHS funding.
We also --
we're also closer than ever to
passing health insurance reform that
will finally make quality insurance
affordable to all Americans who
don't have coverage, and finally
offer stability and security to
Americans who do, and that includes
our first Americans.
When it comes
to creating jobs, closing the
opportunity gap and leaving
something better for our future
generations, few areas hold as much
promise as clean energy. Up to 15
percent of our potential wind energy
resources are on Native American
land, and the potential for solar
energy is even higher. But too
often, you face unique hurdles to
developing these renewable
And that's why
I'm very proud, under Secretary
Salazar's leadership, we're looking
for new opportunities to ensure that
you have a say in planning for
access to the transmission grid.
streamlining and expediting the
permit process for energy
development and transmission across
tribal lands. We are securing tribal
access to financing and investments
for new energy projects. And thanks
to the Recovery Act, we've
established an energy auditor
training program that could prepare
Native Americans for the green jobs
of the future.
going to be absolutely important.
But the future
of Indian Country rests on something
more: the education we provide our
children. You know, we know...
... we know
that Native Americans face some of
the lowest matriculation rates and
highest high school and college
dropout rates. And that's why the
Recovery Act also included the $170
million for Indian education and
$277 million for Indian school
And that's why
my budget provided $50 million in
advance funding for tribal colleges
that are often economic lifelines
for a community.
study at a tribal college are eight
times less likely to drop out of
higher education. They continue on
to a four- year institution at a
higher rate than students in
community colleges. And nearly 80
percent end up in careers that help
their tribal nation.
And none of our
efforts will take root if we can't
even guarantee that our communities
are safe -- safe places to learn,
safe places to grow, safe places to
thrive. And on some reservations,
violent crime is more than 20 times
the national average.
and contemptible fact that 1 in 3
Native American women will be raped
in their lifetimes is an assault on
our national conscience that we can
no longer ignore.
So tribes need
support in strengthening their law
enforcement capability. They need
better resources and more training.
And my administration fully
appreciates the complexity and
challenges you face when it comes to
the criminal justice system on
tribal lands. And we need to have a
serious conversation with regard to
all aspects of your public safety.
And that's a
conversation my administration is
committed to doing.
This is -- this
is a challenge we take very
seriously. The Department of
Justice, the Department of the
Interior, the Department of Homeland
Security and the Department of
Health and Human Services, they're
all working on ways to empower
tribal governments to ensure greater
safety in their own communities.
And I want to
particularly commend Attorney
General Eric Holder for his efforts
on this so far. I also strongly
support the Tribal Law and Order
Act. And I thank Chairman Dorgan and
Representative Herseth Sandlin for
their leadership on this issue. And
I look forward to Congress passing
it, so I can sign it into law.
So there's a
lot of work to be done today. But
before we get at it, I want to close
with this. I know you've heard this
song from Washington before. I know
you've often heard grand promises
that sound good but rarely
materialize. And each time you're
told, "This time will be different."
But over the last few years, I've
had a chance to speak with Native
American leaders across the country
about the challenges you face, and
those conversations have been deeply
important to me.
I get it. I'm
on your side. I understand what it
means to be an outsider. I was born
to a teenage mother. My father left
when I was 2 years old, leaving her
-- my mother, my grandparents to
raise me. We didn't have much. We
moved around a lot. So -- so even
though our experiences are
different, I -- I understand what it
means to be on the outside looking
I know what it
means to feel ignored and forgotten
and what it means to struggle. So
you will not be forgotten as long as
I'm in this White House.
right. Thank you. Thank you.
working together, we're going to
make sure that -- that the first
Americans, along with all Americans,
get the opportunities they deserve.
So with that,
if I'm not mistaken, I am in a
position now to start signing this
memorandum, and then we're going to
do a little Q- and-A.
everything set up.
How many pens
do you want me to use?
I don't know
who's getting the pens, but...
This is harder
than it looks.
There you go.
All right, I think that we've got
some time for questions and answers.
If you've got the questions, then if
I don't have the answers, somebody
hold -- no -- no shouting now.
But I -- I
would love to come to Alaska.
how are we working this? You get the
JEFFERSON KEEL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL
CONGRESS OF AMERICAN INDIANS: Yes,
sir, Mr. President.
OBAMA: He's got -- he's the big
chief, so he gets the first
KEEL: Thank you, Mr. President.
First, I want to thank you for
honoring your commitments that you
made to restore the federal
government's trust responsibility
and the important relationship
between Indian nations and the
seen you honor your commitments in
the appointments you've made to the
many Native American people serving
in your administration. We certainly
also have seen improvements in the
budgets for Indian programs, and
we're certainly appreciative of
the president of the National
Congress of American Indians, I've
been asked to make our requests on
the fundamental issues. Tribes
across the country strongly support
the creation of your executive order
you just mentioned, and we're
certainly proud of that --
reaffirming the inherent sovereign
status of our nations and renewing
the pledge to honor the treaties and
the trust responsibility.
particularly hope for the
establishment of real mechanisms for
accountability, not only for this
administration, but to set a path
for the future. We request that you
address the issues of Indian lands
and the trust responsibility. We
need to restore tribal lands that
have been taken away. We need to
change the management that exists on
existing tribal lands. There's so
much potential for economic
development, we ask that the federal
government become a partner in -- in
particularly thank you for the
administration's support for the
Chochiri (ph) solution.
finally, Mr. President, we know that
you've -- you've made significant
pledges and commitments to Indian
Country, and we want to honor you by
-- by saying thank you for those
more than that, we respect you as a
man of your word.
QUESTION: ... make it so solid that
(inaudible) stays there, no matter
what coup, what administration comes
think we need to work on that, sir.
OBAMA: Well, I appreciate that.
Look, the --
obviously, the executive branch's
job is to implement law. Now, a lot
of these treaties, a lot of these
consultations are embedded in law
and we've got to make sure that
they're implemented. So for the next
eight years -- next four years at
least -- let me now jump the gun...
For the next
three years and one month...
... that I'm
assured of this current position, we
are going to make sure that we put
the infrastructure and the framework
in place so that a new dynamic, a
new set of relationships have been
established. And to the extent that
we can partner with Congress to lock
some of those good habits in and end
some of the bad habits that we've
seen in the past, that's something
that we'll be very interested in
So, you know, I
think that should be part of the
agenda of consultation over the next
several years, is how do we continue
to institutionalize some of the best
practices of consultation and
collaboration and partnership that'S
So thank you so
much. All right?
I want to make
sure that some folks in the back --
are there any other microphones
here? Is this the only one? OK --
the -- the -- I'm going to go ahead
and call on this gentleman but I
don't want everyone just in the
front seat to get a question.
So go ahead.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President,
and thank you for fulfilling your
commitment to meet with the tribes
in the very first year of your
administration. We -- we really
name is Bill Martin. I'm president
of the Tlingit-Haida Indian tribes
of Alaska, but today I represent all
the native peoples of Alaska --
present to you our request for --
QUESTION: We ask that you strengthen
and support our sovereignty for all
Alaska tribes by supporting our
fishing and subsistence rights; by
providing equity and funding across
all tribal governments; providing an
infrastructure of basic services in
our villages of plumbing, and town
hall meetings, and roads, sewer, et
cetera; provide adequate emergency
response for suicide prevention and
health care services.
Suicide is a very high rate in
Alaska. It's -- for all of Alaska,
is twice the national average. For
Natives, it's five times the
average, and for young men between
15 and 27, it's 12 times the
national average. And it's a serious
issue, and we hope that we can be
able to provide more funding to
like you to help us by providing
opportunities to enhance education,
cultural, language teaching within
our community. Many Indians and
Alaska Natives live in a third-world
country. There's a great poverty of
unsustainable economies in Indian
is a lack of capital. Before the
economic crisis, bank lending was
very weak to nonexistent for tribal
businesses. In similar conditions in
underdeveloped countries, the United
States offers effective programs to
induce economic investments -- two
programs, like the Overseas Private
Investment Corporation and the
Export-Import Bank. We ask that you
commit to develop similarly
federally backed institutions
designed specifically for tribes,
Alaska Natives and Alaska Native
ask for -- that you work with us to
stop the disastrous erosion caused
by global warming. Many of our
villages are ready to slide off into
-- into the waters of Alaska, and in
some cases (inaudible) be absolutely
no hope (inaudible) will need to
move many villages.
QUESTION: Ask you to ensure tribal
and real equity for our Alaska
tribes, meaning those that live in
the urban areas and also in the
Support Alaska tribes to promote
self-determination for all of Alaska
help and promote public safety on
child abuse and spousal abuse.
finally, Mr. President, Alaska is a
great land. Were it's superimposed
on a map of the continental United
States, it would stretch from
Florida to California, from North
Dakota to Texas. And the peoples of
Alaska are just as -- as different
as the differences in this whole
we stand united. We stand united in
the pursuit of happiness for our
families and to train them and bring
them -- as we were brought up for
hundreds and hundreds of years,
since time immemorial. And we stand
united in inviting you to visit this
Alaskan Native has that special
place to go to get away from it all.
And if you ever decide you want to
get away from it all, come see one
take you to that special place.
OBAMA: I -- I often want to get away
from it all.
So I'm very
much looking forward to visiting
Alaska. Thank you for sharing that
important information with us.
One thing I'd
note, that -- obviously you guys are
going to be here all day. So some of
these key written statements, you
know, you're going to be able to
present to not only the relevant
White House staff, but also the
secretaries that were -- that are
going to be participating as well as
members of Congress who are
The only thing
I do want to make sure you
understand is when I do visit
Alaska, it's going to be during the
So I just
wanted to be clear about that.
OK, this --
sorry, I'm getting old so -- there
you go. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Good morning.
OBAMA: Good morning.
QUESTION: Honorable President Barack
Obama, he who cares (UNTRANSLATED)
good to see you today. My name is
Wilfrid Cleveland from the Ho-Chunk
Nation, president of the Ho-Chunk
Nation, the Bear Clan from the state
people had organized a government in
1963. Topics that they discussed was
land, health, education, employment,
unemployment. And, today, we come
here before you with those same
concerns, 46 years later.
these are -- these are -- in our
ceremonies at home, in our hearts,
we talk -- we think about that today
would be a day different from the
day when our elders, when our
ancestors made treaties with the
United States -- they were broken,
they were not honored -- but today
would be different.
have entitlements for these programs
that are given to us. Rather than
being able to come to you and
compete with other tribes, each
tribe should be entitled to all
these as part of the trust
responsibility. So we ask that you
would make this possible for so that
we would be -- having a good
relationship with one another when
we come to meetings.
Mr. President, we have our -- we
were not born owners of these lands
but stewards. Today, we have to
purchase our lands back. And we have
this process of putting our land
back into trust (inaudible) trust
process. And it's a long process
part of it is -- a part of this
process is giving states, counties
and even local governments an
opportunity to say whether these
lands can go into trust or not.
QUESTION: Now I ask you: Is that
of our nations have warriors. And
today I name a few of those
warriors. I name Roger Jourdain. He
was the chairman of the Red Lake
Band of Chippewas. I name Wendell
Chino. He was the chairman of the
Mescalero Apache Nation. Vice
President Hubert Humphrey. Senator
Ted Kennedy. The then-Senator Walter
of these warriors gave their full
support to the advancement of all
native nations. We today are here to
follow in those footprints so that
our people can enjoy our
U.S. -- the U.S. government was
formed with a native concept. Today
we, the Native Nations, have formed
governments, and we must
continuously fight to maintain our
sovereignty and our lands we were
once stewards of.
must have the same relationship with
the federal government as the
states. We must not be restricted
under the watchdog of the BIA, but,
rather, be enhanced with a
tribal leaders understand the tasks
you face in the steering the country
out of the difficult times that we
are in. However, on your visit to
the Crow reservation, you told those
gathered that you intend to
acknowledge the tragic history of
Native Americans over the past three
centuries, then promising during
will continue to support you and
your administration during these
challenging times as you walk with
us to make us stronger nations for
our future generations.
you for your time.
OBAMA: All right. Thank you.
Let's see if --
I want to get a woman's voice in
So how about
this young lady right here -- right
there in the blue.
QUESTION: Hi. My name's Alicia Reft.
I'm the president of the Karluk IRA
Traditional Council -- Karluk, a
small village in Kodiak -- Kodiak,
have lots to say, but the two most
important things were that my two
nephews from home wanted me to shake
your hand, if I can, and an elder
that works at Safeway -- her name's
Erlinda (ph). She said to make sure
and say, "Hi," and that she loves
you very much.
OBAMA: Well, you tell Linda (ph) I
love her back.
QUESTION: Thank you.
Thank you. All
right. Right there in the red, right
in the middle.
name is Teresa Tibulz (ph). I am
president of Oglala Sioux Tribe from
the state of South Dakota and a
member of the Great Plains Tribal
you for meeting with us today, for
opening up your heart. It's good to
hear your words. They're good to our
come on two issues. Honor the
treaties. Too long, they have been
not honored by the federal
government. And you talk about a
change, now is the change. Allow us
and work with us to exercise our
sovereignty, our self-determination.
And the second issue is our
children. Our children are sacred.
We want the best for them, and we
ask that you help us to ensure a
better education, a better life,
well-being for our children, because
they're going to be the future
say thank you and we love you.
OBAMA: Thank you.
right there. Right here in front.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Mr.
President. My name is John Berry.
I'm the chairman of the Quapaw tribe
in Oklahoma. And on behalf of the
other Oklahoma tribes, I want to
thank you for coming here today.
have one request. The Quapaw tribe
has the honor of having the largest
Superfund site in the United States
-- Tar Creek Superfund site. We have
72 million tons of mining waste on
would like to ask you to come visit
it and see the devastation caused by
mismanagement of tribal resources;
and help elevate tribes to the same
level as states when we're dealing
with remediation of Superfund sites;
so we can have the same voice as the
state in designing a better future
and environment for our people.
OBAMA: This is really important.
Obviously, the whole issue of
environmental integrity on tribal
lands is something that too often
has slipped through the cracks or
decisions have been made in the
absence of consultation with -- with
So this is
going to be a top priority generally
-- improving our environmental
quality. The issue of climate change
is something that we are working
diligently on. And everybody has a
huge interest in this, no place more
so than Alaska where the effects are
already beginning to be felt and
starting to change, I think, the
ability of Native peoples to --
whose economies oftentimes may be
based on interacting with the
natural environment there. They're
already starting to have to make
significant changes that have to be
So my hope is
one of the things that will be
taking place during today's
got a great secretary of the
interior who cares about natural
resources. But we've also got an
outstanding EPA director in Lisa
Jackson. And figuring out how we can
improve environmental coordination
with the tribal nations so that
we're matching the energy agenda
that I already spoke about in my
speech with an environmental agenda
I think is going to be not only good
for Native peoples, it's also going
to be good for the United States
And -- and we
have a lot to learn from your
nations in order to create the kind
of sustainability in our environment
that is -- we so desperately need.
So I will make
sure that somebody follows up
directly with -- with your tribe on
this Superfund site.
everybody raised their hand.
All right. This
-- this young lady right here. Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you. Thank you for
this opportunity. Thank you, Mr.
President. I'm so privileged and
honored to be here.
name is Caroline Cannon, president
from the native village of Point
Hope. I came here with a message
from my tribe that we are impacted
with the offshore drilling, the
decision that's been made on behalf
of our tribe during the Bush
administration. And we would like
you to overturn that.
live in the coastal village and --
exactly where climate change has a
big impact. We are a whaling
community, and we need help. It's
happening so fast that last year --
a couple years ago, there were some
incidents that occurred because of
the ice condition during the whaling
QUESTION: So I would like help. And
I think that we also are around the
coast of the Red Dog Mine, and they
have decided that they're going to
have a discharge pipeline to our
ocean, where we highly rely on our
thank you again. And my
seven-year-old son Jalen Kalanz (ph)
says big hello. He said I should
give you a huge, but I know that's
not an opportunity right now, but
OBAMA: Maybe after the Q-and-A I'll
get that hug.
I -- I want you
to know, just with respect to
offshore drilling, Secretary Salazar
is in the process of reviewing some
of the directives that were issued
under the previous administration.
And I am confident that as part of
that overarching review that
consultation with potentially
affected nations will be -- will be
part of Ken's process.
So, OK, you
know, let's see. This gentleman
right here with the headdress.
QUESTION: Honorable President Obama,
this is the second time I get a
chance to address you. I've been
wearing this war bonnet, and I've
been really displeasing the
gentleladies behind me, but this is
our Hidatsa, Mandan, Arikara ways,
you don't give a gift to a tent; you
give it to the individual. You are
our commander in chief for the
soldiers. I'm a lieutenant in the
name is Eh-Bah-Dah-Gish (ph), White
Headed Eagle. I am the chairman of
the Three Affiliated Tribes, the
Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara.
name is Marcus Dominick Levings. I
first met you in Grand Forks at your
VIP room. My mother is Dowa (ph)
Rezilda Brady Wells. She gave you
the red, white and blue star quilt
with all the prayers.
QUESTION: She sent this to you, as
well. So I'll give it to whatever
Secret Service people I need to do
President Obama, I have two issues
for my people, the Mandan, Hidatsa
and Arikara, 11,000 tribal members
who live in western North Dakota, on
top of the Williston Basin, the
have oil and gas development today,
Mr. President. We have an
opportunity to be independent from
any means of federal programs, any
type of issues that we've had been
not needing before the flood of
Obawoods (ph), North Dakota in
the spirit of progress, our elders,
our answers -- our ancestors gave up
their bottom land. Ninety percent of
our people lived there, Mr.
President, and now they're up on
high hilltops. Seventy-seven below
wind chill factors in winter.
are the tribe, the Mandan, Hidatsas
and Arikaras, who saved Lewis and
Clark. We were the ones who made it
so they can go out to blaze the
trial to Portland.
we come for you to ask for some help
on our energy development, to get
the 49-step process eliminated so
our elders, who are dying as we
speak, can generate opportunities to
receive royalties on our minerals.
Second, with all this economic
development boon that's going on,
Mr. President, in the Williston
Basin and Fort Berthold Reservation,
1 million acres, we need homes. We
are short 1,000 homes, Mr. President
-- home ownership and rentals, as
behalf of the Tribal Business
Council and my elders, I stand
humbly in front of you, Eh-Bah-Dah-Gish
(ph), and ask for your help.
OBAMA: Thank you.
I've got --
I've got time only for one more
And, not only
-- I'm not going to be able to get
to everybody. So right -- right
there in the middle. Right there in
QUESTION: Persistence -- and that's
a characteristic of all Native
Americans. That's why I stood there
for a long time, so.
you very much, Mr. President, for
meeting with us today on this
historical day. And we are truly
grateful for this opportunity.
name is Leslie Lohse. I'm of the
Paskenta Nomlaki in California. And
in California, there are many
landless tribes. We do have gaming
would ask that you ask the secretary
of interior to make some policies
that are much more clarifying in
getting our lands into trust,
because it's causing some issues out
there between the gaming tribes,
maybe nongaming tribes, and with the
local communities in our state
ask that you ask them to make these
things more clearly for all of us to
another thing that I'd like to ask
you to do is to take care of our
8(a) program, because those of us
that -- those that are landless out
there can develop economic
development opportunities through
the 8(a) contracting program. And
that may ease some of the burdens
that some of the landless tribes
are, because you don't need to have
land to operate that, so.
there is an attack -- attack on our
-- our 8(a) program, or I perceive
it as an attack, because it is
limiting. We just barely started
three years ago with ours, and we're
starting to get rolling and now they
want to change the rules.
QUESTION: So I ask that you pay mind
to that; that we not inhibit our
growth in that way, so that we can
purchase some of our lands back and
grow from that instead of being
dependent on gaming.
listen. I am so grateful that all of
you are here. I appreciate what
you've shared with me.
But the most
important opportunity that you will
have today is to interact directly
with the department heads, the
secretaries who are in charge of
implementation on a whole range of
So I want
intensive discussion and dialogue
with them. Present to them your
concerns, your specific
recommendations. They are here to
listen and to learn and to advise.
I am going to
meet back up with you at the end of
the day. And -- you know, if you
guys have just been partying and not
... I'll know.
So I hope you
have a wonderfully productive
conference today. I will see you at
the end of it. And, again, I
appreciate everything that you guys
God bless you.