President Obama letter at White House Tribal Conference
Our Nation is at a defining moment. We face challenges unlike any in our lifetime, both at home and abroad. My Administration is working day in and day out to meet them -- to rebuild our economy, strengthen our security, and ensure that our children have every opportunity to fulfill their dreams. But moving this country forward will require more than any government can do alone. It will require every American and every community to get involved. That is why strengthening and building on the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and tribal nations is so important.

While no one meeting by itself can reverse past neglect or erase longstanding frustrations, I do believe that constructive dialogue can open the door to a new era in that special Federal-tribal relationship. My goal today is to encourage open discussion between tribal leadership and my Administration. I hope that you'll speak candidly about the challenges you face and offer your suggestions for addressing these challenges. And key members of my Administration will listen to what you have to say.

But this Tribal Nations Conference represents more than just a high level "listening session." It signifies the beginning of a lasting and critical conversation as we forge a better future together for this Nation generally and Indian Country specifically. The challenges we face in the 21st century are ones we will only meet and overcome through continuing consultation and collaboration.

Today, at this conference, I will sign a memorandum instructing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, to submit to me recommendations for further improving tribal participating in Federal policy decisions that affect Indian tribes. This memorandum has been shaped by the feedback given to my advisors over the past several months at a variety of "listening sessions" around the country, and it reflects my commitment to the Federal Government's trust relationship with tribal nations."

Thank you for coming together at this vitally important event. I look forward to joining you today and to a long, productive relationship over the years ahead.


President Barack Obama