Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has made tribal issues a priority of his Administration and immediately launched the Tribal Nations Conference, bringing together tribal leaders from throughout the United States. The one-day Conference featured a diverse panel of cabinet level speakers, discussing tribal priorities, accomplishments in Indian country and an opportunity for leaders to ask questions about the Administrations priorities and bring awareness to key issues such as federal trust responsibility, Indian education, immigration reform, the Keystone Pipeline and other tribal issues.
On December 2 the President hosted an exclusive meeting at the White House for twelve (12) tribal leaders representing the different tribal regions in the U.S. Among the twelve leaders was Yavapai-Apache Nation Chairman Thomas Beauty, who represented the Western region and discussed issues important to the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
“As Chairman, I always speak from my heart and for my people. Having the opportunity to meet directly with the President of the United States was a tremendous honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity. When I was given the opportunity to speak, I was proud to tell the President, that as Indian people, we are the invisible minority, often times forgotten and only seen when the Federal government wants to infringe on our sovereignty or to take things that do not belong to them,” said Chairman Beauty.
In addition to meeting with the President and attending the Tribal Nations Conference, Chairman Beauty also met with members of the Arizona Congressional Delegation including Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Congressman Paul Gosar, Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake. During Congressional meetings, Chairman Beauty discussed Yavapai-Apache issues including land, water and natural resources.
“Chairman Beauty’s opportunity to meet with President Obama, coupled with his fellow Apache leader, San Carlos Chairman Terry Rambler’s introduction of President Obama, is reflective of the degree of Federal involvement that the Arizona Tribes consistently seek to engage in. Chairman Beauty’s involvement advocating on behalf of Tribal issues, is a voice we count on as a leader with Arizonans for Tribal Government Gaming and recently with the Arizona Indian Gaming Association. We are proud that Chairman Beauty was one of the voices for Arizona Tribal Gaming at the White House Tribal Nations Conference,” stated Valerie Spicer, Executive Director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.