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

11 hours ago in Music

Lady Antebellum to host televised ACM Honors show

ladyantebellum839354649795

Grammy-winning country group Lady Antebellum will host the 10th annual ACM Honors show, which will be televised for the first time.

12 hours ago in Entertainment

Judge rules Bill Cosby must stand trial on sexual assault charges

15-overlay-11

A Pennsylvania judge ordered entertainer Bill Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges over allegations that he drugged and assaulted a woman in 2004.

13 hours ago in Entertainment

Video gaming returns to TV with new league

gamingREUTERS

Competitive video gaming returns to TV with the launch of a 10-week gaming league that will be broadcast on TBS.

14 hours ago in Entertainment

Changes are coming to Twitter

twitterREUTERS

User names and attachments - including photos and videos - will no longer count towards the length of a tweet, but the 140-character limit will stay.

14 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Pink Panther’ star Burt Kwouk dies at 85

burtkwoukREUTERS

He also starred in numerous films, among them three James Bond movies including "Goldfinger."