WASHINGTON — Last November at the White House Tribal Nations Summit, President Barack Obama vowed to visit an Indian reservation this year. Speculation is mounting about where the president will visit, as the Washington Post reported he will visit a North Dakota Indian reservation sometime in June.
The exact location in North Dakota was not disclosed. The Washington Post cited a source close to the plan, but chose to speak on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
12 tribal leaders met with President Obama at the White House before last year’s Tribal Nations Summit
One of the Native News Online sources at the White House would not comment overnight.
Some 31,000 American Indians live in the state of North Dakota. Within the state, there are five federally acknowledged American Indian tribes and one Indian community located at least partially within the state. These include the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation (Three Affiliated Tribes), the Spirit Lake Nation, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, and the Trenton Indian Service Area.
“I saw the beauty of Crow Agency, Montana, when I was a candidate for this office. Next year, I’ll make my first trip to Indian Country as President,” stated President Obama last November 13, 2013 to applause of the tribal leaders in attendance.
As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama visited Crow Nation in Montana. It was there, some Crow Nation tribal citizens adopted him and he was given a Crow name of “Black Eagle” because his is one “who helps people throughout the land.”
Presidential visits to Indian reservations are extremely rare. President Bill Clinton was the last sitting U.S. president to visit an Indian reservation when he did so in 1999 to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Prior to President Clinton’s visit, President Franklin Roosevelt visited the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina in 1936.