President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet on Wednesday pledged continued support of Indian Country and asked for ongoing dialogue with tribal leaders.
Obama invited representatives from all 566 federal recognized tribes to his fourth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference, keeping the promise he made in 2008 to meet regularly with American Indians and Alaska Natives to strengthen ties between tribal nations.
He is the only president to meet with tribal leaders all four years.
"Every year I look forward to this event," Obama said Wednesday afternoon as he addressed hundreds of his "friends" from the tribal nations, people who "inspire (him) every single day."
Obama began his remarks by paying tribute to his adopted Crow Nation father, Sonny Black Eagle, who died last month in Montana. He then urged tribal leaders to hold onto their values to "cherish the Earth and each other, to honor ancestors and preserve traditions."
"These should be, and are, American values," he said. "They lie at the heart of some of our country's greatest challenges: to rebuild the middle class, to build ladders of opportunity for everybody who's working hard, to protect our planet, to leave our children something better than we inherited, to make sure Americans remain optimistic about the future and that this country of ours remains a place that no matter who you are, what you look like or where you come from or what your last name is, you can make it here if you try." Read more here.