Accessibility links

USA

Obama Visits Native American Reservation

  • VOA News

Native American dancers from more than 20 reservations in North and South Dakota perform before the arrival of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation Friday, June 13, 2014, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

Native American dancers from more than 20 reservations in North and South Dakota perform before the arrival of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation Friday, June 13, 2014, in Cannon Ball, N.D.

U.S. President Barack Obama has made his first visit since taking office to a Native American reservation.

The president and his wife, Michelle, traveled Friday to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in the north-central U.S.

He is just the fourth sitting president to visit a Native American reservation.
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama exit Air Force One for their trip to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in Bismarck, N.D., June 13, 2014. (AP)

U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama exit Air Force One for their trip to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in Bismarck, N.D., June 13, 2014. (AP)

Citing legendary tribal chief Sitting Bull, Obama said, "Let's put our minds together to build more economic opportunity in Indian country."

Native Americans who live on reservations face low education levels, poor health care, a high poverty rate and substandard housing.

The White House announced new initiatives Friday, including reforms for the Bureau of Indian Education, efforts to bring high-speed Internet to tribal schools and training for teachers.

The president and the first lady met privately with tribal youth to discuss their challenges growing up on the reservation that was home to Sitting Bull.

Tribal government Chairman Dave Archambault praised the president for helping to correct what he called "historic wrongs" involving tribal land disputes.

Standing Rock is home to nearly 1,000 residents. The Bureau of Indian Affairs says about 63 percent of able workers at the 9,300 square-kilometer reservation are unemployed.

The president was visiting North Dakota en route to a vacation in Palm Springs, California.

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG