President Barack Obama yesterday became the fourth sitting President to visit an Indian reservation, an acknowledgement of his respect and concern for the plight of native Americans, who remain the most oppressed minority group in America.
Earlier Presidents to visit Indian reservations while in office were Calvin Coolidge, who visited the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1927; Franklin D. Roosevelt, who visited the Cherokee nation in North Carolina in 1936; and Bill Clinton, who visited the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in 1999.
Obama visited the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation in North Dakota. Obama has taken more action on Native American issues than any President, including:
Hosting a Tribal Nations Conference annually at the White House
Used Executive Orders on American Indian and Native Alaskan Education improvements
Launched a campaign against childhood obesity on Indian reservations
Signed the Tribal Law and Order Act to give more law enforcement authority to tribal law enforcement authorities
Reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act to allow prosecution of non native Americans who assault native American women on the reservations
Promoted disaster assistance by direct application of native American tribes
Allowed health care coverage under ObamaCare to the tribal reservations
Obama has shown an in depth awareness of the issues facing native Americans, and a willingness to do more than make a speech!
The tribe that Obama is visiting, sadly, has 79 percent unemployment, and a myriad of economic, social, and educational issues, including high child mortality, suicide, and dropout rates.
So much more needs to be done for native Americans, and at least, a good start has been made by Barack Obama!