Today marks a historic event. Alaska Native and Native American leaders are scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, held at the headquarters of the Department of Interior in Washington. Among those scheduled to attend from USDA are Secretary Tom Vilsack, Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and Janie Hipp, senior advisor to the Secretary for tribal relations.
The aim of the tribal summit is to promote stronger communications between tribes and the Obama Administration, entering into more meaningful discussion between tribal leadership and the Administration. Concurrent breakout sessions on a wide range of topics- including health, culture and land rights amongst others- will give conference attendees the opportunity to interact with representatives from the highest levels of the Administration. Each of the 565 federally recognized tribes of the United States has been invited to send a representative to the conference, which is being held for the second time during the Obama administration.
While attendance is by invitation only, the opening session of the conference will be broadcast on the White House website. Yesterday, USDA hosted a tribal listening session at the Whitten Building in Washington, DC. You can read about that event here.