The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians opened its winter conference at the Coquille Tribe’s Mill Casino in North Bend, Oregon, on optimistic and ominous notes. ATNI President Brian Cladoosby celebrated the achievements of 2010 and spoke of good deeds yet to come from what he called "the ATNI powerhouse of 57 collective sovereign nations."
Other speakers, however, were more concerned with challenges posed by the current political climate and fiscal crisis. “We have been down this road in the 1990s and in the early 2000 years when the political leadership changed,” said W. Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam. “The Republican-led House is underscoring this notion that nothing is going to move forward unless it is constitutionally based. We are constitutionally based, and we are going to move forward because we are the most underserved communities in America ... We are going to have to fight for what we have, and what we need.”
USET President Brian Patterson added that "this is no time to be timid in Indian Country."