In yesterday’s State of the Union address, the President laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values. The President has been clear that we need to do more to create jobs and help economic growth. But under his leadership and thanks to action taken by the President, the economy is growing again. The economy has added a total of nearly 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months.
Last night, the President outlined a series of ideas to build an economy that works for everyone, one that will bring about a new era of American manufacturing, and promote homegrown and alternative energy sources. The President’s Blueprint for an America Built to Last includes the following initiatives that will benefit Indian Country:
These initiatives build on the progress that’s already underway. In Indian Country, we have made significant strides over the past three years and continue to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with tribal governments and improve the quality of life in Indian Country. Last month, for the third year, President Obama hosted the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, DC, and discussed the work he’s done to improve the relationship between tribal nations and the federal government, and to achieve a brighter future for tribal nations. It’s a set of changes that is starting to take effect. As he stated during his remarks at the Conference last month:
“It’s the Native American-owned small business that’s opening its doors, or a worker helping a school renovate. It’s new roads and houses. It’s wind turbines going up on tribal lands, and crime going down in tribal communities.”
And in conjunction with the Tribal Nations Conference last, the President signed an Executive Order that establishes an Initiative to expand educational opportunities and improve educational outcomes for all American Indian and Alaska Native students, including opportunities to learn their Native languages, cultures, and histories, and to receive a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college and career, and for productive and satisfying lives.
But the President understands that our work is far from done. Building strong, prosperous Native American economies is a priority for this Administration, and President Obama believes that tribal leaders must be part of the solution and have a seat at the table. Working together, the President intends to keep moving forward to achieve a brighter future for tribal nations.
As President Obama said last night, “Those of us who’ve been sent here to serve can learn a thing or two from the service of our troops. When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one nation, leaving no one behind.”
For more information about this Administration’s accomplishments in Indian Country, our recently released report, “Achieving a Brighter Future for Tribal Nations,” provides a summary of some of the many actions the Obama Administration has taken to address the concerns of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The report is available HERE.
Kimberly Teehee is the Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs, Domestic Policy Council