Obama Tells Tribal Leaders ‘You’ve Got a President Who’s Got Your Back’

President Obama today said he was “optimistic about the future of Indian Country” and that his administration was working to reach a “turning point” in the relationship between Native American tribes and Washington.

“We’ve got a long road ahead. But I believe that one day, we’re going to be able to look back on these years and say that this was a turning point. This was the moment when we began to build a strong middle class in Indian Country … the moment when we stopped repeating the mistakes of the past, and began building a better future together, one that honors old traditions and welcomes every Native American into the American Dream,” the president said at the White House Tribal Nations Conference.

Obama said he was fulfilling his promise to make sure that Washington focuses on the needs of Native American tribes and vowed to do more.

“I promised a true government-to-government relationship — a relationship that recognizes our sometimes painful history, a relationship that respects the unique heritage of Native Americans and that includes you in the dream that we all share. And together, we’re building that relationship,” he told the nation’s 565 tribal leaders.

“I want you all to know that you’ve got a partner in Washington. You have an administration that understands the challenges that you face and, most importantly, you’ve got a president who’s got your back,” Obama said.

In conjunction with today’s conference, the president signed an Executive Order to establish a new education initiative to expand educational opportunities for American Indians and Alaska natives.

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