Chairman Oritz Goes to the White House


Tribal Consultation Team and Sec. Ken Salazar (seated)

(Photo provided by the White House Media Office)

December 05, 2011 –


MAYETTA:   Although many Kansans are excited about the President coming to Kansas tomorrow, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has already had their collective voice heard by the President recently.

Last Friday night Chairman Steve Ortiz met one-on-one with Obama at the White House where, he, along with eleven other tribal leaders, discussed issues and concerns in Indian Country with the President and other key Washington leaders.   Ortiz learned about being selected for the private meeting while he was in Washington, D.C. last week attending pre-conference meetings for the Third Annual White House Tribal Nations Conference that was held Dec. 3 at the Department of Interior where Obama spoke.  For more information about Ortiz’s thoughts on the meeting and being selected, click on .

Ortiz sits on several of the Indian service organizations boards including the Health & Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Board and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee.  In addition, he is on the Department of Interior’s Tribal Consultation Team that recently saw the establishment of a Tribal Consultation Policy designed to strengthen the accountability, bureaus and office heads between DOI officials and tribal representatives.  Chairman Ortiz has been attending meetings and working in collaboration with other Tribal leaders who are on also on the team and were there for the official signing of the final policy last Thursday by Secretary Ken Salazar at the DOI.

Ortiz returned to Kansas late Saturday and attended a function with other members of the Tribal Council and Kansas leaders on Sunday.

Obama is scheduled to visit the small community of Ossawatomie tomorrow that is located in southeast Kansas on behalf of the Democratic party.  One of the reasons he selected Ossawatomie was that another historic presidential speech was given in the town in 1910 when President Theodore Roosevelt delivered a speech on a “new nationalism” that called for progressive policies and to protect human welfare and protect social justice.  According to a White House media release, Obama’s message will be to “talk about how he sees this as a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those working to join it.”