"President Barack Obama’s election is a New Day in America. Some see him fulfilling the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. Others see a new FDR, taking on tough economic times, or a new JFK, inspiring the next generation.
For Native Americans, Obama is the hope for a New Day when America honors Native American human rights and respects the sovereignty of Native nations.
In an unprecedented effort, Obama met with tribal leaders in South Dakota, New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconsin, Montana and Minnesota to deliver his campaign message to Indian country. He dedicated his administration to work with Native nations on a “government-to-government,” “nation-to-nation” basis. Describing this as “a relationship of equals,” Obama pledged to “honor Indian treaties” and “respect Indian sovereignty.”
As a student of the Constitution, Obama understands the profound significance of his words. Even before there was a United States of America, Native nations were independent sovereigns, with territorial integrity, self-governing communities and self-sustaining ways of life. As the colonists fought for American independence, the fledgling U.S. entered its first treaties with Native nations, establishing military alliances to secure the service of Native warriors in defense of liberty."
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Tribal Leaders: Is Obama’s election a ‘New Day’ for Native Americans?
(Indian Country Today 2/20)