THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release November 6,
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I am pleased to sign a revised Executive Order on consultation
with Indian tribal governments. This Executive Order, itself based on
consultation, will renew my Administration?s commitment to tribal
sovereignty and our government-to-government relationship.
The First Americans hold a unique place in our history. Long before
others came to our shores, the First Americans had established
self-governing societies. Among their societies, democracy flourished long
before the founding of our Nation. Our Nation entered into treaties with
Indian nations, which acknowledged their right to self-government and
protected their lands. The Constitution affirms the United States?
government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes both in the
Commerce Clause, which establishes that ?the Congress shall have the Power
To . . . regulate commerce . . . with the Indian Tribes,? and in the
Supremacy Clause, which ratifies the Indian treaties that the United States
entered into prior to 1787.
Indian nations and tribes ceded lands, water and mineral rights in
exchange for peace, security, health care and education. The Federal
Government did not always live up to its end of the bargain. That was
wrong, and I have worked hard to change that by recognizing the importance
of tribal sovereignty and government-to-government relations. When I became
the first president since James Monroe to invite the leaders of every tribe
to the White House in April 1994, I vowed to honor and respect tribal
sovereignty. At that historic meeting, I issued a memorandum directing all
federal agencies to consult with Indian tribes before making decisions on
matters affecting American Indian and Alaska Native peoples.
Today, there is nothing more important in federal-tribal relations
than fostering true government-to-government relations to empower American
Indians and Alaska Natives to improve their own lives, the lives of their
children, and the generations to come. We must continue to engage in a
partnership, so that the First Americans can reach their full potential.
So, in our Nation?s relations with Indian tribes, our first principle must
be to respect the right of American Indians and Alaska Natives to
self-determination. We must respect Native Americans rights to choose for
themselves their own way of life on their own lands according to their time
honored cultures and traditions. We must also acknowledge that American
Indians and Alaska Natives must have access to new technology and commerce
to promote economic opportunity in their homelands.
Today, I reaffirm our commitment to tribal sovereignty,
self-determination, and self-government by issuing this revised Executive
Order on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments.
This Executive Order builds on prior actions and strengthens our
government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes. It will ensure
that all Executive departments and agencies consult with Indian tribes and
respect tribal sovereignty as they develop policy on issues that impact