Courtesy Pete Souza/White House
President Barack Obama meets with a group of tribal leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, November 12, 2013.

President Obama Meets With Tribal Leaders Ahead of Tribal Conference


Before the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference scheduled for tomorrow, President Barack Obama sat down with a dozen tribal leaders to discuss job creation and economic development in tribal communities according to a White House Blog post.

Tribal leaders met with Obama and members of his administration that included Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling and Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs David Agnew.

The pre-Conference meeting gave “tribal leaders an opportunity to directly engage wit the President on a leader-to-leader, government-to-government basis and to discuss key issues facing Indian country at the highest level of government,” the blog said.

Among the issues the tribal leaders in attendance spoke about were job creation, including expanding opportunity for renewable energy on tribal lands, increasing access to capital and foreign direct investment opportunities in Indian country, the successes of tribal self-determination, improving educational outcomes, and jurisdictional challenges.

The tribal leaders who attended the meeting were Bill Anoatubby, governor Chickasaw Nation; Melanie Benjamin, chief executive Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe; Leonard Forsman, chairman Suquamish Tribe; Joe Garcia, governor Ohkay Owingeh; Ray Halbritter, nation representative and CEO Oneida Indian Nation; Carole Lankford, vice chairwoman Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; Rex Lee Jim, vice president Navajo Nation; Chris McNeil, CEO Sealaska; Rosemary Morillo, chairwoman Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians; Terri Parton, president Wichita and Affiliated Tribes; Terry Rambler, chairman San Carlos Apache Tribe; and Robert Shepherd, chairman Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.

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Alicia Oppenhein 's picture
Alicia Oppenhein
Submitted by Alicia Oppenhein on
My father is meeting with the president his name is Mark Oppenhein he's the vice chairman for the Battle Mountain Te-Moak Shoshone


cole holmes's picture
cole holmes
Submitted by cole holmes on
we didnt need the whites before they took our land and resources if anything this shouldnt be a meeting of how we are going to make it better they should be throwing options at us left right and center for all of our resources they stole and the land they stole and the family's they murdered like common white thieves and murderers that you all are besides the only reason this black white man is even meeting with my people is to build a better relationship to put more piplines in sneaky... but expected from a race who destroys and hates all who oposes it

Bridget Chino's picture
Bridget Chino
Submitted by Bridget Chino on
I come from the Mescalero Apache Tribe an I am glad the we as natives are speaking up an using our minds an voices that will benefit our people an to preserve what we have for our future generation. Its important that we do so the young generation will learn a know an come up with way to make our home better when thier time comes to take over but also rermember get your people involve show them that you care what they think an listen to them these are jus some of the things I learn being in native politics

Anonymous's picture
Submitted by Anonymous on
No president ever helped though obama is a snake and he will change rules and laws after . He is screwing up america dont let him mess will our lands or people.

Clarice Johnson's picture
Clarice Johnson
Submitted by Clarice Johnson on
The thing that jumps out to me in this article is the inclusion of Sealaska corporation CEO Chris McNeil in the list of tribal leaders. Mr. McNeil is the a corporate executive of an Alaska native corporation that is systematically clearcutting our land. Sealaska is trying to usurp the authority of the tribes and clans by claiming its stockholders are "tribal member shareholders.."

Joseph Branske's picture
Joseph Branske
Submitted by Joseph Branske on
I am not a Native American. Many brothers and sisters have talked with me and are at least superficial friends. My family in God and Spirit. I feel as a supporter of many of the Nations issues, that this conference requires patient restraint. Not one of you needs to believe me or pay attention to me. However, with best intent and loving of the Nations, I feel I need o speak. This country has been put through many trials over the centuries. Non worse than that of Native American. It is my feeling based on present day actions ( not words, because the administration has broke so many) that the meeting will be filled with much to do about nothing (lip service). The Nations without question deserve the best of all liberties, freedoms and rights this country has to offer without predjudous. If not by birth right, then by respect for the travesties which have been placed upon the Nations since outsiders came into the country. The Nations should not have to beg, barrow, or request anything. All the needs of the Nations should at this juncture be give on a platter. The land rights, medical care, schooling, security/governing, beliefs/practices; should all be a given. This country owes it to the Nations to ensure that the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence freedoms, rights and privileges, all be on the forefront of any negotiations to reestablish the Nations position in this country. The good Lord our creator believed enough in the Nations to have them be our original forefathers. Then no one in this country or administration should think twice, but to assure that the Nations will receive all that God and this country has to offer, No questions! The Nations have served this mixed up country over and above for several centuries, in all aspects of its existence. They should be recognized as successful, teaching forefathers regardless of our shortcomings. God Bless your efforts in Washington. I will continue to keep all of you in my prayers. Respectfully, Joseph

Dennis Chrysler's picture
Dennis Chrysler
Submitted by Dennis Chrysler on
I wish someone would do something about the fact that now we Natives from Canada who want to live and work in the States now what to apply for a Green Card in order to live in the U.S. That's bull....The Jay tready was suppose to allow us the right to live and work in the U.S. with out Green Cards, now Home Land Security has mandated that we apply....

Diane Tetrault's picture
Diane Tetrault
Submitted by Diane Tetrault on
I just listened to the first two hours of presentations by Cabinet members. Though the fact of event itself it noteworthy and represents a noble effort toward deep dialogue, it is regrettable that the "form" of speaking at an audience stands out as a glaring insult to the deep wisdom of our indigenous sisters and brothers. I can't help but wonder, "what would such a coming together look like had it been designed by the efforts born out millennia of their tribal wisdom." Not so linear, more dialogue, more humility....... ? Bless them all...and may the rest of the conference be an invitation for each participant to speak, and more important, to listen from deep source, for all beings and ALL our relations. And may those with power to implement these visions, know in themselves, the deep courage to follow through, even in the face of ignorance. May it be so.

Diane Tetrault's picture
Diane Tetrault
Submitted by Diane Tetrault on
I'm sorry that you didn't t post my comment of yesterday, one that I felt was acknowledging the obvious demonstration of "silver tongued words". At the same time I was aiming to articulate a vision of a society beyond the current abuse of power by those of any color over anyone, a worldview and model of social engineering that has gone on for thousands of years all over the globe. I don't think we have time to incite more aggression, or the energy of revenge. It's time for us ALL to create the world we want to be part of. I appreciate that some people will still need to VENT about the injustice that still continues, but as in all stories of redemption, we must EACH realize the TRUTH of our sovereignty, stand tall in our radiant beauty and return to the matter of living in harmony with all of life. this is what the elders are telling us and this is where II take much of my inspiration and refuge, from the Indian concept of the "CIRCLE OF COURAGE" which is way of life that proscribes right action. This is what we must be sharing with each other, not only our venomous rage. Forums like this can be very powerful, sometimes in the wrong ways. Blessings to us all.