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BY Levi Rickert

WASHINGTON – By executive order, President Barack Obama established The White House Council on Native Affairs on Wednesday, June 26.

The Council has been established to “improve coordination of Federal programs and the use of resources available to tribal communities,” according to language contained with the Executive Order.

President Barack Obama President Barack Obama at last year’s Tribal Leaders Summit.

In the Order the President cites:

“We cannot ignore a history of mistreatment and destructive policies that have hurt tribal communities. The United States seeks to continue restoring and healing relations with Native Americans… ”

Some 30 federal departments and agencies were named in the in the Executive Order, including the Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Energy.

The Secretary of the Interior will serve as the chair of the newly-formed Council.

Part of the Executive Order reads:

“This order establishes a national policy to ensure that the Federal Government engages in a true and lasting government-to-government relationship with federally recognized tribes in a more coordinated and effective manner, including by better carrying out its trust responsibilities. This policy is established as a means of promoting and sustaining prosperous and resilient tribal communities. Greater engagement and meaningful consultation with tribes is of paramount importance in developing any policies affecting tribal nations.

To honor treaties and recognize tribes’ inherent sovereignty and right to self-government under U.S. law, it is the policy of the United States to promote the development of prosperous and resilient tribal communities… “

The Executive Order includes American Indians and Alaska Natives who are members of the current 566 federally recognized tribes.

posted June 26, 2013 4:30 pm edt