Obama to soon visit N.D. Indian reservation, Washington Post reports
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Barack Obama will visit a North Dakota Indian reservation in June, The Washington Post is reporting, citing anonymous sources within the administration.
If it happens, it will mark a rare visit by a sitting president to Indian country and Obama's first visit to North Dakota as president. He campaigned in the state prior to his first election in 2008.
In 1999, President Bill Clinton visited the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. According to The Washington Post, Clinton was the first sitting president to visit a reservation since Franklin D. Roosevelt visited a Cherokee reservation in North Carolina in 1936. It's unclear which North Dakota reservation the president might visit. Jodi Gillette, his senior policy adviser for Native American affairs, is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota, where her brother is the chairman.
Former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., created the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute to focus on problems facing Indian youths, especially the high suicide rates. Dorgan is co-chairman of a national task force examining violence and its impact on American Indian children.
A White House spokesman declined to comment to The Washington Post on Obama's possible trip to North Dakota.
Obama has supported a series of measures to improve the welfare of Native Americans. He also has signed the Tribal Law and Order Act to address the high crime rate in tribal communities and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, which included a historic provision to allow the nation’s 566 federally recognized tribes to prosecute non-Indians who commit certain crimes of violence against Native women.