The State of the Union Address this week by President Barack Obama may have lifted the spirits of tribal members in search of employment opportunities.
It is evident jobs on the country's reservations are scarce. Tribes need to pay attention the next few weeks, if not months, to actions in Congress. Additional job creation could happen if Obama's proposed ideas are taken seriously by Democratic, Republican and independent lawmakers.
In his speech, the president proposed cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. He continued to say, "But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water."
It is apparent oil and gas exploration will continue. But he also proposed an Energy Security Trust "that will drive new research and technology to shift cars and trucks off oil for good."
In a sense, Obama's ideas will create some employment opportunities in both oil exploration and the clean energy market for years to come.
Much change will happen during the process of eliminating the country's dependence on current energy practices and moving towards renewable development. In the meantime, environmental issues will continue to be of concern, especially among tribal members who have an interest in how energy is being produced.
It's time the country's leaders take seriously the concerns tribal nations are voicing on the environment.
Jobs are important and they help the economy improve. But creating a sustainable environment needs to happen too. We as a country have to evaluate what would be the best solution.
During his State of the Union, Obama noted that the country is finally poised to control our own energy future. With Obama's plan, the economy will get better and will grow, more importantly, with assistance from tribal communities.
Delvin Cree is a freelance journalist. He was also the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa's Oil and Gas Specialist. He is a frequent contributor to the tribe's newspaper, The Turtle Mountain Times, as well as indianz.com and Indian Country Today Media Network, both national news outlets for Indian Country.