Obama to visit Indian country for the first time as president

President Obama will make his first visit to Indian country as president next week.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Cannonball, N.D., next Friday. The reservation was the home of Sitting Bull.

Obama wrote in an editorial in Indian Country Today that he plans to announce "the next steps my Administration will take to support jobs, education and self-determination in Indian country." They include, he wrote, improving education and the economy in Indian country.


Then-Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama campaigns in Crow Agency, Mont., in May 2008. (Chris Carlson/AP)

Obama wrote that he has worked to strengthen relations with Native American communities, creating the White House Council on Native American Affairs and hosting a tribal nations conference at the White House each year.

Obama touted Native American policies he has created while in office: signing the Tribal Law and Order Act, which allowed tribal courts to hand down weightier sentences, building roads and high-speed Internet and investing in job training.

But Obama said there is a "moral call" to fix some of the problems facing tribes, including high poverty and dropout rates.

Obama visited the Crow Nation in Montana while a candidate but has not been to Indian country as president.

"As I’ve said before, the history of the United States and tribal nations is filled with broken promises. But I believe that during my Administration, we’ve turned a corner together. We’re writing a new chapter in our history — one in which agreements are upheld, tribal sovereignty is respected, and every American Indian and Alaskan Native who works hard has the chance to get ahead," Obama wrote.

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
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