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Native American Youth Conference

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    Native American Month Event in D.C.

    (Sharing this report on recent federal conference in D.C.)

    National American Indian Heritage Event Recognizes Past, Finds Common Destiny

    The Federal Triangle Partnership hosted a Washington, D.C., event highlighting the vibrant culture and heritage of Native Americans on Dec. 17.

    Event speakers recognized the achievements of their Native American ancestors, the importance of current tribal environmental preservation work, and of education and advocacy to improve the image and economic condition of Native Americans.

    The master of ceremonies was Jody L. TallBear, attorney advisor in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity for the U.S. Department of Energy.

    She said that in 2009, the U.S. offered an official apology to Native Americans, also known as the first people. Although the apology was buried in a defense appropriations bill, it was a significant milestone. With this admission, “I feel our country has turned a corner, a very significant corner,” said TallBear.

    Loretta Tuell of iNative Consulting addresses current issues that Native Americans face at Dec. 17 federal employee event.
    Loretta Tuell of iNative Consulting addresses current issues that Native Americans face at Dec. 17 federal employee event.

    The keynote speaker was Loretta A. Tuell, president of iNative Consulting, LLC, a consulting firm that assists tribal governments, Native American institutions and individuals.

    Tuell said economic concerns facing Native Americans make it difficult to survive, with unemployment rates in some Native American communities as high as 85 percent. “The bottom 1 percent,” said Tuell, “that is where Native Americans are.”

    “Our shared destiny and our rise and fall depends on how we treat our first peoples. Because how we treat them is how we treat everyone else,” Tuell said. “You make a difference in your agency—to touch a tribe raises a nation,” she said.

    President Barack Obama signed the Native American Heritage Month 2013 proclamation to recognize the “vibrant cultures and strengthen the government-to-government relationship between the United States and each tribal nation.”

    In the proclamation, the president also stated, “we must not ignore the painful history Native Americans have endured – one of violence, marginalization, broken promises, and upended justice.” There are approximately 566 Native American Tribes in the U.S., including more than 200 tribes in Alaska. Many of the tribes are scattered throughout California, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska and other states.

    The event was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.


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