PBPN Leaders And Other Tribal Leaders Meet With White House Staff

PBPN Leaders with Kim Teehee2.jpg

Steve Ortiz, Kim Teehee, and Joyce Guerrero

MAYETTA: Steve Ortiz, Tribal Chairperson, and Joyce Guerrero, Vice Chairperson, attended a listening session on August 31 in Washington, D.C. that brought tribal leaders from across the country together to meet with members of Obama’s White House staff.

Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs Kimberly Teehee led the group in an informal dialogue that took place in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The White House Domestic Policy Council and Office of Public Engagement hosted two sessions and Ortiz and Guerrero attended the morning session.

According to Vice Chairperson Guerrero, Chairperson Ortiz was one of the first to be recognized at the meeting and that he made some good comments.  She also said that it was quite exciting to be with many tribal leaders across the country as well as the White House staff and other Department of Interior officials.

Some of the key issues discussed at the session were on tribal sovereignty and trust responsibility, federal agency responsibility and accountability to tribal governments, and creating opportunities for formal consultation on developed proposals and early informal scoping on tribal issues.

According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) website, two of President Obama’s key campaign commitments to Indian country were that he would meet with tribal leaders on an annual basis, and that his administration would respect the Nation-to-Nation relationship with Indian tribal governments which was the primary purpose of the meetings.