President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to North Dakota Friday to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in Cannon Ball.
In what the White House describes as his first trip to Indian Country as president, Obama will stress his commitment to upholding the nation-to-nation relationship, describe his efforts to help Native American communities through education and economic development and highlight improvements that already have been made.
Obama announced his visit in an op-ed published last week in Indian Country Today. He sees the trip as an opportunity to highlight the contributions of Native Americans and remind Americans of “the sacred and enduring bond we share with Indian Country,” according to a White House official. But he will also acknowledge that much work remains to be done.
The Obamas will meet with tribal leaders and young people to before attending the Cannon Ball Flag Day Celebration, focused on honoring Native American veterans through celebration of dance and song.
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Obama has hosted the White House Tribal Nations Conferences with tribal leaders every year and last year, he established the White House Council on Native American Affairs to ensure coordination with Indian Country.
His 2015 budget proposes a more than $3 billion increase in support to tribal communities, American Indians, and Alaska Natives, as compared to 2009.