Editorial: Obama opens a more promising chapter
"White House receptions of American Indian leaders have too often been patronizing historical footnotes. President Obama opened what we hope will be a more promising chapter on Thursday when he met with the leaders from all 564 federally recognized tribes. He vowed that there would be no more “going through the motions” and that his administration would finally face the severe economic and social problems that are the result of centuries of federal abuse and neglect.

This is no easy vow, but Mr. Obama has taken important first steps: naming American Indians to senior policy and health positions and earmarking $3 billion of the stimulus package to tribal programs. The president told the leaders that he was ordering his cabinet members to come up with plans on how to improve relations with the sovereign tribes.

Already this week, Interior Department officials told Congress that they would work to overhaul the often intractable, decades-consuming process by which tribes apply for federal recognition. Recognition is required for tribes interested in seeking revenue by opening a casino. But, more importantly, recognition is the key for tribes ravaged by poverty and joblessness — and there are far more of those — to qualify for federal aid programs."

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Editorial: Tribal Chiefs and the President (The New York Times 11/6)

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