News

Obama to unveil education plans

Obama to unveil education plans

EDUCATION: President Barack Obama will make his first visit to an American Indian reservation. Photo: Reuters

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday will make his first visit to an American Indian reservation since entering the White House on a trip to unveil new measures aimed at boosting education and economic opportunities for indigenous people.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, will travel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, to show the administration’s commitment to “upholding our strong and crucial nation-to-nation relationship,” the White House said.

During the visit the couple will meet with tribal leaders and young people before attending a ceremony that honors Native American veterans with dance and song.

The trip is unusual for Obama, who has devoted most of his U.S. travel to highlight programs on the broader economy and other domestic policy priorities.

Obama courted the American Indian vote as a White House candidate in 2008. He became an honorary member of a tribe in Montana, the Crow Nation, and took on a native name: Black Eagle, which means “one who helps all people of this land.”

Since entering office Obama has hosted meetings with tribal leaders every year and proposed a budget increase to support tribal communities. His administration has also settled a series of legal disputes and breaches of trust lawsuits by Indian tribes against the United States.

“We can be proud of the progress we’ve made together. But we need to do more, especially on jobs and education,” Obama wrote last week in an opinion piece announcing his trip.

“As I’ve said before, the history of the United States and tribal nations is filled with broken promises. But I believe that during my administration, we’ve turned a corner together.”

The initiatives Obama will announce on Friday include reforms for the Bureau of Indian Education, efforts to bring high-speed Internet to tribal schools, and training for teachers.

He will also propose ways to ease regulatory hurdles for infrastructure and energy development and initiatives to boost small businesses owned by Native Americans.

The trip is part of a recent push by the administration to advance rights for Native Americans.

Last week Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to North Dakota to meet with a tribal consultation conference where he spoke of increased prosecutions of crimes against American Indians and expanded outreach to tribes across the country.

On Monday Holder proposed requiring voting districts to place at least one polling site on tribal land within their territory and said action was necessary to improve voting access for American Indians. [ID:nL2N0OQ142]

The agency’s No. 3 official Tony West has also spent the past week in Alaska, meeting with the National Congress of American Indians. On Wednesday he announced support for giving Native Americans in Alaska the ability to issue and enforce domestic violence protection orders. The 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act had largely exempted that group.

The 2013 law also gave tribes the ability to prosecute non-Indians who assault Indian spouses or partners.

(Additional reporting by Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Latest Stories

6 hours ago in Music

Janet Jackson is expecting

janetjackson

The "Rhythm Nation" hitmaker is reportedly pregnant with her first child, less than two weeks before she celebrates her 50th birthday.

7 hours ago in Entertainment

REVIEW: In-fighting is entertaining in ‘Captain America: Civil War’

13-overlay

"Civil War" stands out as certainly the biggest of the stand-alones, and among the best because of what it has in common with the better films in the Marvel universe: the conflict is deeply human, told humorously, and best enjoyed if you don't overthink it.

8 hours ago in Music

Prince was to meet with doctor for painkiller addiction

12-overlay-3

The body of music superstar Prince was found one day before a doctor was to meet him to help end an addiction to pain killers, according to news reports.

10 hours ago in Music

Roger Daltrey gets his own bubbly

rogerdaltrey386399512082

The Who frontman is releasing his own brand of champagne.

14 hours ago in Entertainment

Dan Aykroyd adapting ‘Blues Brothers’ for animated series

danaykroyd391647313397

The animated project will also feature the band's original songs, as well as soul and blues classics, and new material recorded specially for the series, which Aykroyd will help to develop alongside "Saturday Night Live" writer Anne Beatts.