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Obama Visits Native American Reservation

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II, in Cannon Ball, N.D., Friday, June 13, 2014, during a Cannon Ball flag day celebration, at the Cannon Ball powwow grounds.

President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama, Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II, in Cannon Ball, N.D., Friday, June 13, 2014, during a Cannon Ball flag day celebration, at the Cannon Ball powwow grounds.

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.

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.

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