WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Biden is making new promises to Native American nations, announcing the plans at the Tribal Nations Summit on Wednesday.
It was the first in-person Tribal Nations Summit in several years, marking a unique moment for tribal leaders to connect with federal officials.
“Respect means being there in person to show it,” Biden said.
Biden rolled out a series of new commitments the federal government is making to Native nations. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said it’s especially important after the United States’ dark history of oppression.
“This agency once charged with assimilating our people through family separation is now leading the work to heal those broken promises and to strengthen Indian country,” Haaland said.
The Biden Administration plans to require federal agencies to consult with tribal leaders when making policies that impact them. White House Director of Tribal Affairs PaaWee Rivera said that’s about more than checking a box.
“To ensure that tribal voices and governmental leaders specifically are heard and that those comments and input is respected,” Rivera said.
The White House is also launching new efforts to help revitalize Native languages.
“Native language is really at the root of culture, it’s at the root of how we store indigenous knowledge, it’s at the root of how we teach our kids and carry on our traditions,” Rivera said.
The President also unveiled plans to share management of federal lands and waters and noted the $45 billion that the federal government has sent directly to Native American nations to combat coronavirus and improve infrastructure.
“We’ll support tribal economy and keep fighting for better tribal health care, child care, education, housing, public safety and so much more,” Biden said.