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Today, Jefferson Keel, president of National Congress of American Indians and lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, delivered the "State of Indian Nation's" address, calling for “a new era in U.S. tribal relations defined by optimism and economic opportunity.” He gave the speech at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  In attendance were tribal government leaders, Native American organizational representatives, media, students and legislators—including Senator Daniel Akaka, HI-D.

President Keel stressed unrealized potential among tribal nations by outlining economic opportunities, such as the development of energy resources and broadband on Native lands. He went on to stress:

The Indian nations can do the work - if the federal government will clear the way for us to exercise our liberty and thus make a new era and a more perfect union.

As a member of the George Washington University's Native American Political Leadership Program, it was an honor and privilege to be in the audience amongst such highly respected tribal leaders in Indian Country. I was able to witness first-hand the hard work they are doing in collaboration with the Obama Administration to provide opportunities for the advancement of all Americans.