Obama keeps his promises to Native Americans
"There is this feeling that there is traction, that we're having a true dialogue. We're not saying, 'Check the box, you totally won.' We're saying we've got a great foundation, and now we've got to build upon that."
- Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians
Speaking to 500 people representing 320 tribes, President Barack Obama pledged last month that he wouldn't forget his campaign trail promise to give native communities a greater voice in the White House.
"I said that so long as I held this office, never again would Native Americans be forgotten or ignored," he said. "And over the past two years, my administration, working hand in hand with many of you, has strived to keep that promise."
For the most part, tribal leaders say the president has been true to his word. And they've been watching, intent on holding accountable the president that many of them helped elect, said Jacqueline Johnson Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. They took careful notes during the president's first Tribal Nations conference in 2009; at Obama's second summit last month, they checked to see what goals had been met in the first year as well as what remains undone.