White House hosts first Tribal Nations summit since 2016

U.S. President Joe Biden will announce steps Monday to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans during the first tribal nations summit since 2016, the White House confirmed.

Leaders from more than 570 tribes in the United States are expected to join the two-day event, with nearly three dozen addressing the gathering.

The summit is being held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are set to speak on Monday, with Vice President Kamala Harris to follow on Tuesday. Several members of Biden’s Cabinet will also participate.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the summit coincides with National Native American Heritage Month and is being hosted by the White House for the first time. Conferences in the past were held by The Interior Department.

Biden will use the summit to announce steps to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to protect private lands, treaty rights and sacred places, Psaki said.

American Indians and Alaska Natives are more than twice as likely to be victims of a violent crime, and at least two times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted compared to other races, according to the Association on American Indian Affairs.

Biden’s coronavirus relief plan included US$31 billion for tribal communities, and the administration also has worked closely with tribal leaders to help make COVID-19 vaccination rates among Native Americans among the highest in the country, the White House said.

Jill Biden spent two days in April visiting the Navajo Nation’s capital in Window Rock, Arizona earlier this year.




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