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)

Recent Headlines

in Local

St. Clair County Sheriff Passes on U.S. House Bid

rick watson

Sheriff Rick Watson has declined a run for the house in the 12th Congressional District.

in Local

Judge Approves Place for Mel Reynolds to Stay While on Bond

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2012 file photo, former Illinois Congressman Mel Reynolds announces that he's running for the 2nd District seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., in Chicago. Reynolds has been indicted on federal tax evasion charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said in a statement Friday June 26, 2015. The indictment says the 63-year-old Chicago Democrat failed to file income tax returns for four consecutive years, between 2009 and 2012. Each count of failing to file carries a maximum one-year prison sentence. Reynolds resigned his Illinois congressional seat in 1995 after being convicted of statutory rape for having sex with an underage campaign worker. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Former U.S. Congressman claims race is a factor in the case.

in Local

Work on Illinois State Fair Venues Ramps Up

state fair logo

Governor says fair will go on in spite of budget impasse, but some vendors may be paid late.

in Local

Lincoln’s Relationship with Jewish People Theme of New ALPLM Exhibit

7-31-15 Lincoln Exhibit

A new exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum focuses on what was termed, at the time, another minority group.

in Local

William Kelly is Back — Bashing Sen. Mark Kirk

mark_kirk

Going beyond criticizing Kirk’s comments and policies, William Kelly talked about Kirk’s physical condition since he suffered a stroke in 2012.