Reznet: Tribes get ready for summit with Obama
"The final media query during a half-hour conference call about the White House Tribal Nations Conference seemed elusive for top officials of the Obama Administration.

The journalist said her question was about "healing the past" and asked if rumors were true that when President Obama meets tribal leaders on Thursday he will issue a formal apology to Native people.

Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar replied first.

"We know and we recognize that the story of American Indians and their contribution to this country is one that has not been treated very fairly," he said, "and, in fact, it has been swept under the rug in many different ways.

"We are not about sweeping things under the rug. We're about telling the truth and we're about having an agenda that is proactive and positive in recognizing that the nation's first Americans have a very special place at the table. And President Obama has made it very clear they will be at the table."

Kimberly Teehee, White House senior policy adviser for Native American Affairs, responded and acknowledged that past policies of assimilation, allotments and termination have afflicted Indian Country.

"Certainly, this administration embodies the whole notion of consultation, negotiation and collaboration so that we can move forward and (make) sure those kinds of policies never happen again," she said, "and we can continue to heal and move forward in helping tribes strengthen their own governments."

Finally, Larry Echo Hawk, Assistant Interior Secretary for Indian Affairs, spoke.

"The best way to address the past is to honor treaty promises and respect sovereignty," he said, "and that's what this White House conference is all about. Nation-to-nation. Dialogue. Communication. And consultation to improve the quality of life for Native Americans.""

Get the Story:
Questions About Apology, Next Meeting Must Wait (Reznet News 11/4)

Related Stories:
Reznet: NCAI opens tribal embassy in Washington (11/4)
Hundreds of tribes head to DC for Obama meeting (11/4)
Audio: White House Tribal Nations Conference call (11/3)
The Native Voice: Tribal nations meet for summit (11/3)
Cobell remains hopeful with Obama on trust fund (11/3)
Tribal leaders head to DC for summit with Obama (11/2)
Obama declares Native American Heritage Month (11/2)
NCAI leader hails historic time for Indian Country (11/2)
Schedule: White House Tribal Nations Conference (10/30)
USDA officials to host tribal leaders in Washington (10/30)
HHS Secretary Sebelius to host tribal leaders in DC (10/22)
Labor Secretary Solis to host tribal leaders in DC (10/15)
NCAI to host gala for tribal nations embassy (10/13)
White House announces tribal nations meet (10/12)