Melinda Gopher: A new day for tribes with Obama
"On this week of Veteran's Day 2009, Indian Country witnessed the historic meeting of the Obama administration with Indian tribes on November 5, 2009. What should have been a national celebration was a staid, meaningless political affair. Indian country felt excluded, Mr. President. We have powwows, we celebrate, we eat, we dance. Our drums are the powerful heartbeat of this nation.

As things go in Washington, the meeting was a rushed affair. This is very understandable and noting there has been an outpouring of tribal sympathies--this year's President's closing address was cut short by the tragedy in Fort Hood, Texas. President Obama delivered a few short remarks--less than five minutes, at the Department of the Interior before rushing to attend to the aftermath of the tragedy. That being said; the tribal summit of 2010 must rise in relevance, importance and in spirit. I cannot help but note the White House Halloween party seemed to garner more effort from the Obama White House. Please invite the Indian children to the White House next year during the summit, they are a part of this nation's legacy.

I am a candidate for the U.S. House in 2010 in the state of Montana. I am an otherwise private person about my convictions, but I think there's relevance in addressing a couple of issues that hopefully will be corrected by next year's summit. I am an Ojibwe traditionalist--meaning that I follow the Peace Pipe spiritual tradition of the Ojibwe people--my main tribal lineage. Our spirituality was hard fought for by ancestors in a country where the government and church worked systemically and in a genocidal manner to eradicate all vestiges of tribal culture. This fact is irreconcilable in a nation that guarantees freedom of religion. Our past is a tragic reminder of cultural and racial exclusion; today is a new day."

Get the Story:
Melinda Gopher: The Historic Obama Tribal Summit: Uphold the Spirit of America's Founding (The Huffington Post 11/12)

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