Obama promises new era of federal-tribal relations

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois), a Democratic candidate for president, plans to meet with tribal leaders in the coming months to discuss his federal Indian policy.

In a letter sent to tribal leaders, Obama says the federal government has neglected its responsibilities to Indian Country. "Past administrations have talked about government-to-government relationships and tribal consultation, but they have rarely followed through," he said [PDF].

Obama urged tribal leaders to contact his Indian policy and outreach team. "Only with the benefit of your ideas will we usher in a new era of federal Indian policy -- an era of tribal nation-building when tribes, not bureaucrats, determine how to best govern themselves," he wrote.

Obama has declined an invitation to attend the upcoming Prez on the Rez forum on the Morongo Reservation in California. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-California) has refused to attend, citing scheduling conflicts and a dispute over labor unions at casinos. Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina) also said he won't attend.

Only New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio have said they will attend the August 23 event. Mark Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Nation of Idaho and the editorial page editor for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, will moderate.

Get the Story:
Top contenders say no to Prez on the Rez (The Riverside Press-Enterprise 7/20)

Relevant Links:
Barack Obama - http://www.barackobama.com
Prez on the Rez - http://www.prezontherez.org
Indigenous Democratic Network - http://www.indnslist.org

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