On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, the California Valley Miwok Tribe’s Chairperson Silvia Burley attended the 5th White House Tribal Nations Conference hosted by President Barack Obama.

On September 29th, 2013 the California Valley Miwok Tribe received an invitation from the White House, on behalf of President Obama, in which the White House Council on Native American Affairs cordially invited our federally recognized tribe to send a representative to the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington DC on Wednesday, November 13, 2013. The invitation stated that the conference will be held at the Department of the Interior’s Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at 1849 C Street NW, Washington DC 20240.

CVMT elected to send Chairperson Silvia Burley to represent the interest of the California Valley Miwok Tribe and to bring to their attention the issues facing federally recognized “landless” tribes. Doors opened at 7:00 am in which credentials were checked in advance and Tribal Leaders and Tribally Designated Representatives were allowed to enter the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium in anticipation for the event to commence at 9:00 am. Participants received a special folder (as in prior years) with the Seal of the President of the United States printed on the cover along with a black and white picture of the White House. Included in the folder was a copy of the National Native American Heritage Month, 2013 Proclamation by the President of the United States of America, a copy of the agenda outlining the scheduled events, and a copy of President Obama’s speech that was to be presented at the end of the 2013 White House Tribal Nations Conference.

From 11:30 am – 1:15 pm, the event went into the “Breakout Sessions” that were closed to the press. There were eight breakout sessions which were as follows: Promoting Healthy Tribal Communities, Strengthening Tribal Economies, Protecting Natural and Cultural Resources, Advancing the Government-to-Government Relationships, Supporting Self-Determination and Self-Governance, Building Safe Tribe Communities, Investing in the Future, and Moving Communities Forward.

Chairperson Burley attended the Strengthening Tribal Economies (Breakout Session) in which she spoke in front of a delegation of White House and Interior officials to bring to their attention the need for the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Officials and Departments of the White House, to work together with federally recognized tribes that are “landless”, to build a stronger relationship between their agencies and departments in regards to the issues facing federally recognized “Landless” tribes. She went into detail outlining the hardships that federally recognized “landless” tribes deal with on a daily basis, year after year. She made it a point that she will continue to advocate for the landless tribes, and wants to see an initiative on their part to brainstorm together in order to bring some kind of economic opportunities to federally recognized “landless” tribes. The Trust Responsibility that the United States has with sovereign Trial Nations must be met and that relationship should to be continually strengthened.