President Barack Obama will lead his last Tribal Nations Conference Monday and Tuesday, bringing together more than 560 Native American tribes to discuss environmental concerns involving energy infrastructure.
The conference follows shortly after government leaders called for a “serious discussion” about how tribal groups are consulted regarding infrastructure projects as a result of the national protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.
Thousands of Native Americans and environmentalists are still encamped near a portion of the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota to protest the line, saying the project could contaminate water supply and destroy burial sites belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
Although Obama has not confirmed he will talk about the Dakota Access pipeline at the conference, attendees are eager to hear what he has to say regarding the present and future consultation process.
This conference is Obama’s eighth and final assembly of the Tribal Nations Conference. Between October 25 and November 21 the Army, Interior, and Justice Departments will hold listening sessions on the subject in six U.S. regions.