What have 44 Presidents done for Indian Country?
Terrance H. Booth, Sr. – Tsimshian Tribe
A voice from the past, Vine Deloria, Jr. wrote introduction, in a book titled, “American Indian Policy in the Twentieth Century,” says, “Federal policy for American Indians shows the same line of progression as do other areas of policy consideration. A century ago Congress blithely and arrogantly dictated what would happen in Indian country and neither the Indians nor the federal agencies that served them had much to say about it. Today hardly a thought is voiced in the area of Indian policy without consideration with a wide variety of Indian people.” 
Mr. Deloria further elaborates what happens to Indian Affairs as the federal government deals with Indian Country, stating, “In Indian affairs, perhaps more than any other area of American political life, policy occurs at two levels of involvement. High-level pronouncement deal with the theory and ideology of social responsibility, and here the pendulum swings back and forth between accepting an onerous and continuing financial responsibility for providing services to Indian communities and abruptly casting Indians into the American mainstream where they can slowly be digested at the bottom of the industrial economic pyramid. This arena is defined by newspapers, politicians, and legislatures. It is usually phrased in pious but well-intentioned ideas that seek spiritual comfort and direction rather than instructions on how to accomplish the task. We find the classic statements of high-level policy in the presidential messages to Congress on Indian, in political messages to congressional resolutions. We rarely, if ever, find a simple statement dealing with the implementation of policy.” 
Mr. President, more than any group or race of this country America; Alaska Native and Native American people are by far the most federally regulated race in America. Ever since the very first President Natives have called out what they are confronting on a daily basis within their reservation life. Mr. President all you have to do is have your research staff research the Congressional Record Archives and you will find Native American Testimony very similar to the testimonies of our ancestors to our current day Tribal Leadership. We in Indian Country would think by now in during these times and in this era that all of the social and economic unfortunate conditions of our tribal people would now be resolved and we having our own tribal economies with substantial wealth development.
Listen to what was told to Dan Katchongva – his Hopi surname means White Cloud Above Horizon, on tribal prophecy he says, “In ancient times it was prophesied by our forefathers this land would be occupied by the Indian people and then from somewhere a White Man would com. He wil come with a strong faith and righteous religion which the Great Spirit was also given to him, or he wil come after has abandoned that great life Plan and fallen to a faith of his own personal ideas which he invented before coming here. It has known that the White Man is an intelligent person, an inventor of many words, a man who knows how to influence people because of his sweet way of talking and that he will use many of these things upon us when he comes We knew that his land beneath us was compose of many things that we might want to use later such as mineral resources. We knew that this is the wealthiest part of this continent, because it is here the Great Spirit lives. We knew that the White Man will search for the things that look good to him, that he will use many good ideas in order to obtain his heart’s desire, and means to get what he wants. These things we were warned to watch, and we today know that those prophecies were true because we can see how many new and selfish things we will lose or land and give up our very lives.” 
Today’s Native Voice, through National Congress of American Indians, stating in his speech on Indian Country, Jefferson Keel, State of Indian Nations: Looking for Federal ‘Flexibility’ said, “The state of Indian nations is “strong,” but in order to be stronger, they need the federal government to be flexible, according to a speech delivered by Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians.
Keel, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, hammered the point home in his 2012 State of Indian Nations address held January 26 at the Newseum on Capitol Hill.
“Tribal nations have proven our capacity. We don’t need the government involved in all our business decisions, we need flexibility,” Keel said to an in-person audience of almost 200 composed of tribal leaders, federal officials, and tribal citizens. “And by creating it, we will remove the barriers that cost us jobs and opportunity. This is a goal I think we can all agree on, across the political spectrum, and it is something we can achieve with a change in policy, not an increase in spending.”
A flexible federal government would “put decision-making power back in the hands of the people who live in Indian country – the people who know best because these are our homelands, these are our people,” Keel said.
Tribal leaders assembled for the speech, and watching and listening to it on the radio and online throughout the nation, have long said that the federal government needs to do a better job at focusing its resources on Indian country. Some see ways that current programs could be adjusted to better serve tribes, such as bonding authority first granted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.
Tribal leaders are also well aware of the current budget crunch in Washington, so they hope that instead of cutting Indian-focused programs, legislators will look at ways to spend the money more effectively.
“That is the kind of solution Washington is crying out for, and we in Indian country are eager to answer the call,” Keel said on the matter.
“This message comes directly from tribal leaders,” the NCAI leader added. “We need freedom at the local level to best use our limited resources. We know what’s best because we live in Indian country. We know where the needs are, and we know what works for our people. No one understands Indian life better than the Indian nations themselves. Give us flexibility.” 
Mr. President, you have called out to bring jobs home. This writer has advocated saying put these jobs on Native Land that have several tax incentives that are both beneficial to both a tribe and any American Corporation. Native lands several Native American Tribes have designated some of their lands to be utilized for commercial or industrial development. In addition several tribes have Native Colleges that can readily structure their curriculum for professional development. Corporate America only knows a few of us and to create awareness and education about Native Lands and Tax Incentives there needs to be a White House Summit to introduce Corporate American to Alaska Native and Native American Tribes with designated lands for commercial or industrial development with enticing tax incentives to bring the jobs home with a ready workforce at home in America.
Mr. President, perhaps just this initiative can resolve the high unemployment rate of Indian Country that is several times higher than that of the rest of the country. Your agenda calls for more jobs lets create them on Alaska Native and Native American lands.
1. American Indian Policy, edited by Vine Deloria, Jr., 1985, Introduction, page 3