Plea to Trump: Protect White House Council on Native American Affairs

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With concerns mounting in Indian country that the Trump administration is ignoring and in some cases harming tribes, some top Democratic members of Congress are calling for the new president to immediately begin meetings of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.

The White House Council on Native American Affairs, established through an executive order signed by President Barack Obama four years ago, is meant to keep federal agencies focused on American Indian issues, funding, and priorities by increasing communication and coordination across agencies.

Former Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who headed the White House Council on Native American Affairs in the Obama administration, told ICMN in January that she found the institution to be an important tool in helping federal agencies beyond the Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services remember that they, too, have important commitments to tribes through treaty and trust obligations. She also said it would be important for tribal leaders to remind the Trump administration about the White House Council on Native American Affairs, as well as the annual White House Tribal Nations Conferences held under Obama, if tribes wanted those things to continue.

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