Happy New Year!
Yesterday President Obama issued “A Renewed Era of Federal-Tribal Relations”, a progress report on the activity his Administration undertook during his eight years. During his tenure, President Obama met annually with tribal leaders at the White House – this has never happened before. He signed Executive Order 13,647 on June 26, 2013 creating the White House Council on Native American Affairs whose purpose is to bring together Federal Departments and Agencies to break down the siloes in order to better serve Indian Country.
The report “intends to set a baseline of progress for Tribal nations to reference in their ongoing work with the federal government” and “shares priorities that the WHCNAA will continue to work on as a result of Tribal leaders’ recommendations.” The WHCNAA is a product of an Executive Order which could be rescinded by the incoming President as could Executive Order 13, 175 on Tribal Consultation. These Executive Order’s have been critical to achieving the successes we have seen under President Obama. However, it is incumbent on us to remain vigilant in continuing to advocate for the type of progress we saw under President Obama. In 16 days, we will have a completely new Administration with new people to educate while advocating on behalf of our communities.
I attended the President-Elect’s Tribal Listening Session in Washington, D.C. before Christmas and was encouraged by the number of tribal leaders and representatives present at the meeting. But we cannot afford to lose any momentum gained under President Obama. This means being present and vocal in Washington D.C.
2016 was a real roller-coaster. Here’s hoping 2017 is smooth sailing….
In peace with hope for good year,