White House Tribal Nations Conference 2012
December 13, 2012
[Event date: 12/5/2012]
Now three years ago I was proud to see that this conference was the largest gathering of tribal leaders in our history. And back then an event like this was rare. Today it's gotten routine. What I told you then is that I was committed to more than a unique nation-to-nation relationship, I was committed to getting this relationship right,so that your nations can be full partners in our economy, and your children can have a fair shot at pursuing the American dream (applause).. and that no one has to live under the cloud of fear and injustice.
This is a chance for people in Indian Country to come to Washington and hear directly from the highest levels of government, including the President. People here in Washington travel to Indian reservations now and then, but not the highest levels, frequently, usually. This is a way for Indian leaders to get to speak directly to the President and Cabinet secretaries and other high officials in the government, and that really makes a difference.
At the conference some of the announcements that we had…the Department of the Treasury announcing a policy on the general welfare exclusion…the Department of Agriculture announcing a sacred sites MOU with other agencies and a report on sacred sites policy…and the Department of Health and Human Services announcing an agreement with the Veterans Affairs Administration on reimbursement rates for individuals that qualify for both VA and IHS care. These are things that tribal leaders brought up and have discussed at previous Tribal Nations conferences, and this conference will see the results of these discussions that are going on right now about things like economic development, development of energy resources, development of renewable energy resources in Indian Country, amendments to the Violence Against Women Act, and a clean Carcieri Fix passing Congress.
And over the next four years, as long as I have the privilege of serving as your President we're going to keep working together to make sure that the promise of America is fully realized for very Native American. Thank you very much everybody. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.