On Thursday, November 5th, 2009, the California Valley Miwok Tribe’s week culminated in Washington, D.C., with a White House Tribal Nations conference, held at the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium, located within the Department of the Interior building at 1849 C Str. NW, Washington, D.C.
Security precautions were extremely high and only leaders representative of their tribes as recognized by the White House were invited to attend. Invitations and initiation of screening of all applicants began weeks in advance and concluded with passing through a final security checkpoint, prior to being seated in the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar opened the session which involved Navajo code talkers, Oglala singers and National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) President Jefferson Keel, introducing President of the United States Barack Obama.
President Obama gave a very well recieved speech, followed by taking questions and addressing various concerns of those in attendance, whom were fortunate enough to be selected. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar served to moderate interactive discussion involving economic development, natural resources, energy, environment and agriculture; which included directors from various departments whom handle these issues. Mr. Salazar moderated further discussions between tribal leaders and government officials on the topics of public safety, housing, education, health care and labor.
In closing, President Obama returned and addressed the audience, followed by White House staff personnel Kimberly Teehee and Jodi Gillette. A closing prayer was observed, as well as the retiring of the flags. The California Valley Miwok Tribe was grateful to be invited and honored to attend. We thank President Obama for being so understanding of the needs of Native Americans and we deeply appreciate all of the kindness shown to our representatives during their week in Washington, D.C.