For the first time in office, President Obama will visit an Indian Reservation on Friday. Obama announced his plans last week in a commentary for an online tribal newspaper.
"The history of the United States and tribal nations is filled with broken promises," Obama said. "But I believe that during my administration, we've turned a corner together."
The president said that he and first lady Michelle Obama will visit Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The Associated Press reported that Obama said "he wants to hear firsthand about challenges facing Native American and plans to announce new initiatives during the visit to help grow Indian economies."
This will be the first presidential visit to a reservation since Bill Clinton went to Pine Ridge in South Dakota in 1999. At Standing Rock, Obama will tout laws and policies from his administration that have specific impact on tribes, such as the Violence Against Women Act, the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Affordable Care Act.
More from the AP:
Obama said he has worked to strengthen justice, infrastructure and health care for Native Americans. But he also lamented high poverty and dropout rates facing Native Americans and said those statistics are "a moral call to action."
He said tribal nations and the federal government were starting a new chapter "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."
The Daily Circuit checks in with three close observers of Native American affairs to get their perspectives on the visit.
Learn more about U.S. policy toward Native Americans:
• On My Upcoming Trip to Indian Country
As president, I've worked closely with tribal leaders, and I've benefited greatly from their knowledge and guidance. That's why I created the White House Council on Native American Affairs — to make sure that kind of partnership is happening across the federal government. And every year, I host the White House Tribal Nations Conference, where leaders from every federally recognized tribe are invited to meet with members of my Administration. Today, honoring the nation-to-nation relationship with Indian country isn't the exception; it's the rule. And we have a lot to show for it. (President Obama's commentary for Indian Country Today)
• Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Native American teenage boys in North Dakota
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had a message about sexual relations for the young men, most of whom had come from the Standing Rock Indian reservation an hour away. He urged them to dream big, work hard and, as they make their way growing up in Indian country — where sexual violence, rape and abuse of women is rampant — treat women like they would want their mothers and sisters to be treated.
"You can't be a man if you mistreat women," said Holder, leaning forward in his chair and slowly looking at each of the boys, some in jeans, others in dress pants, shirts and ties. "If you mistreat women, you're not a man. You're a punk." (Sari Howritz, in the Washington Post)
• The Billion Dollar Hard Sell: Obamacare's Slow Start in Indian Country
The first comprehensive report from government data show that key measures, such as the purchase of insurance, reflect only about 3 percent of eligible American Indians and Alaska Natives buying from a marketplace exchange. The result is that more than a billion dollars in tax credits — as well as additional tens of millions of increased funding for the Indian health system — is left behind and unclaimed.
And nearly a million American Indians and Alaska Natives remain uninsured during the first year of this new law. (Mark Trahant, in Indian Country Today)