Representatives from every recognized American Indian tribe in the nation gathered last week in Washington, D.C. for the White House Tribal Nations Conference.
566 tribal leaders met with President Obama, including Navajo Nation Vice President, Rex Lee Jim. The Navajo Times reports this is the fourth conference Mr. Obama has assembled during his presidency, making him the only president to meet with tribal leaders every year of his term. The President told conference-goers he and his cabinet are committed to supporting the nation's tribes and meeting regularly to discuss pressing matters. He said the country is beginning to pay more attention to tribal issues. And he encouraged leaders to maintain their cultural values, to "cherish the Earth and each other" and "to honor ancestors". The U.S. Census Bureau says just over five million people identified themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native in 2010, representing a 27 percent jump since 2000.