From: Davis, Julie [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2015 04:52 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP
Subject: Travel pool report #5, 8/31/15 - Roundtable with Native Alaskans
Travel pool report #5, 8/31/15 - Roundtable with Native Alaskans
At 4:21 p.m., the pool was led into a room in the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center where President Obama was meeting with Alaska tribal leaders and elected officials (see list at the end of this report). Seated in the middle of a three-sided table, POTUS said he had spoken with the participants about how to improve communication, consultation and cooperation on issues that affect tribal communities.
"Since I took office, I've been committed to sustaining a government-to-government relations between the Untied States and our tribal nations," he said, noting that he hosts tribal nations in Washington annually and had visited Indian Country. He said he would visit tribal communities this week in Dillingham and Kotzebue (which he pronounced "coat-say-boo"), meaning that when he leaves office, he will have visited more tribal communities than any previous sitting US president. "Which I feel pretty good about, in case anybody's keeping track."
He said progress had been made in helping tribal youth, improving access to health care, addressing violence against women. He touted changes his administration announced on Monday to involve Native Alaskans more directly in resource and wildlife issues, as well as his decision to rename the peak formerly known as Mount McKinley.
"The big one was returning the most magnificent peak in our nation to its original name, Mount Denali, something that the people of Alaska have been working on and petitioning consistently since 1970, and I'm glad that we were able to respond to that."
He said they had also discussed ways to help communities that are "burdened by crippling energy costs," and concerned about hunting and fishing rights and the ability to sustain their way of life in the face of climate change. He promised that his administration would follow up on the Alaskans' concerns.
"When it comes to the first Americans, how we interact with these communities says a lot about who we are as a country," he said.
Whereupon, at 4:27 p.m., he dismissed us with a "Thank you, pool," and could be heard as we were ushered out explaining to the tribal leaders: "It's the press pool. It's like herding a school of fish."
We are cooling our gills in an auditorium in the convention center, awaiting POTUS' remarks to the GLACIER conference.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis
White House Correspondent
The New York Times
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(202) xxx-xxx-xxxx direct