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White House to host first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering next year

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had lunch with youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at We The Pizza/Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C, last month. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

American Indian and Alaska Native youth will be a big part of the discussion today at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference.

President Barack Obama is hosting hundreds of tribal leaders at the Capitol Hilton for this year's event. For the first time, he's also welcoming tribal youth to the nation's capitol -- some 36 Youth Ambassadors, who were selected from different regions of Indian Country, will be participating in sessions with Cabinet officials today.

It's part of the administration's renewed focus on American Indian and Alaska Native youth. During his visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe last year, Obama met with young tribal members to learn about their successes and challenges.

To continue that dialog, Obama will be announcing the Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour today. Federal officials will tour Indian Country to hear directly from Native youth about the issues they face.

Obama is also announcing the first-ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering. The event will take place in the summer of 2015 to bring even more Native youth to Washington, D.C.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: White House Tribal Nations Conference Preview with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Cecilia Munoz and Jodi Gillette from the White House

"We've got to do better for our young people," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said on a conference call yesterday.

During her visits to Bureau of Indian Education schools, Jewell has learned first-hand the challenges facing Native youth as they attend crumbling schools and underfunded institutions. But she said she was struck by the positive attitudes she encountered among Native youth.

"They know how to overcome odds," Jewell said on the call. "They're survivors."

Today's conference begins at 8:30am Eastern time with opening remarks from Jewell. She will be welcoming Vice President Joe Biden to the conference for the first time -- he's expected to speak around 9am.

Following a series of breakout sessions with tribal leaders and youth, the conference will recess for lunch. Participants will return for an afternoon session and President Barack Obama is expected to speak around 4pm.

The morning and afternoon sessions will be streamed live at The schedule follows:
8:30am to 10:30am- Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, the Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet

11:00am to 1:00pm- Breakout sessions with Cabinet members and federal officials. Note: These sessions are closed to the media and will not be webcast.

2:00pm to 4:00 pm - Closing Session with President Obama, the Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta, White House Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz, White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Director Michael Boots

Get the Story:
Obama to speak at Tribal Nations Conference (The Hill 12/3)

How a trip to North Dakota spurred Obama to act on Native American issues (The Washington Post 12/3)
‘Barack Black Eagle Obama’ focuses on youth at annual tribal conference (McClatchy Washington 12/3)
Obama unveils plan to help young American Indians (AP 12/3)
Hundreds of Native American leaders meet at the White House (The Telegraph 12/3)

Related Stories:
President Obama welcomes 12 tribal leaders to White House (12/2)
Vice President Joe Biden to address Tribal Nations Conference (12/2)
Tentative schedule for White House Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
White House invites youth to DC for Tribal Nations Conference (11/26)
Obamas welcome youth from Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to DC (11/21)
Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux youth to join White House meet (11/21)
White House Tribal Nations Conference takes place December 3 (10/20)

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