Editorial: Obama offers hope at first tribal summit
"Something noticeably different occurred at the recent Tribal Nations Conference that distinguished it from previous White House gatherings with tribes.

The president spoke to tribal leaders as a fellow person of color who understands "what it means to be on the outside looking in."

President Barack Obama talked about being born to a teenage mother, left by his father and raised by his mother and grandparents, adding: "I know what it means to feel ignored and forgotten, and what it means to struggle."

Actions outweigh words, especially among the nation's 574 federally recognized Native American tribes, whose complex histories include broken promises and treaty violations by the U.S. government. So although Obama's message resonated with the tribes, his follow-through is what matters most.

"I think it's a good start," Oneida Tribe of Indians Chairman Rick Hill said Tuesday. "I think that the conference in and of itself gave a lot of hope to our nations — that there is going to be this collaborative partnership effort to bring resolve to these important matters that were discussed."

The fact that the Nov. 5 gathering was held at all is a step forward. It was the first presidential meeting of this kind with tribes since the Clinton administration 15 years ago. And this time it was more than conversations and a photo opportunity."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Obama's message offers hope (The Green Bay Press-Gazette 11/22)

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