WASHINGTON – The Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe of Arizona made history Feb. 10 as the first tribal government to visit the Obama White House.
The tribe met with newly appointed White House Tribal Liaison Jodi Archambault Gillette, a Native American and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, recently named one of three deputy associate directors of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
Gillette is the first American Indian to hold the position.
Members of the Pascua Yaqui Tribal Council discussed several issues during the meeting, including concerns about health care, housing and law enforcement.
Gillette indicated the Pascua Yaqui concerns regarding improvements needed in health care funding and accessibility, additional housing and law enforcement issues impacting the tribe were valid, and believed substantial progress on resolving them could be made in the future.
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe also discussed the proposed tribal leader’s summit scheduled to be hosted at the White House in the future as part of President Obama’s outreach program to Native American tribes.
“We’re honored to be the first Indian tribe to meet with President Obama’s newly appointed tribal liaison, and believe this signals an era of outreach appreciated by all Native Americans,” said Peter Yucupicio, chairman of the Pascua Yaqui Indian Tribe. “I’m extremely optimistic for a long and fruitful relationship with this administration.”