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Morales to visit tribal leaders at NMAI

WASHINGTON – Evo Morales, Bolivia’s indigenous president, plans to attend a meeting with North American tribal leaders at the National Museum of the American Indian.

The private event, which was requested by Morales, is scheduled to take place on Nov. 19.

“He wanted us to arrange a luncheon with Indian leaders from the United States and Canada,” a top NMAI official told Indian Country Today.

“It will be a quiet meeting with each other, and he will be making some remarks.”

The event, which is not planned to be open to the public, marks a landmark for NMAI, and signifies the museum’s growing influence on the national and international cultural stage.

Before the meeting, Morales is expected to attend a gathering at the Organization of American States.

Of Aymara descent, Morales is widely viewed as a hero among indigenous populations worldwide. He was first elected in December 2005, and won re-election with 67 percent of the vote after a recall referendum in August. He is Bolivia’s first fully-indigenous head of state in the 470 years since the Spanish Conquest.

One of the top goals during his leadership has been to increase power for his country’s indigenous via land reforms and redistribution of gas wealth.

Morales’ advisors were scheduled to meet with NMAI officials today to finalize details of the visit.