Obama Reaches Out to Native Americans

(CBS)


From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:


CROW AGENCY, MONT. -- As he continues to reach out to new voting blocks, Barack Obama made a campaign stop at an Indian reservation today, where he told Native Americans that, as an African-American, he identifies with their struggles.

"I know what it's like to not always have been respected or to have been ignored and I know what it's like to struggle and that's how I think many of you understand what's happened here on the reservation," Obama said. "A lot of times you have been forgotten, just like African-Americans have been forgotten or other groups in this country have been forgotten."

Obama was adopted as an honorary member of the Crow tribe today, a ceremony that the campaign says is reserved for special dignitaries. Obama entered the rally at the Crow reservation with his honorary parents, Sunny and Mary Black Eagle. Obama was dressed in a dark suit with no tie, while his parents wore traditional Native American attire.

Obama thanked his new parents during his remarks and said he is fond of his new name, Barack Black Eagle. "I like my new name Barack Black Eagle," he said. "I mean that's a good name."

The chairman of the tribe presented Obama with gifts for his "wives" and children, a point which Obama quickly corrected. "I don't want to get in trouble when I get home," he joked. "I can have new parents but no new wives."

He told the crowd of a few thousand that Native Americans have gone ignored by Washington, and that the U.S. government has not been "honest or truthful" with the community. Obama vowed to protect Native American interests now that he is a member of the tribe. "We will never be able to undo the wrongs that were committed against Native Americans, but what we can do is make sure that we have a president who's committed to doing what's right with Native Americans, being full partners, respecting, honoring, working with you," Obama said. "That's the commitment that I'm making to you, and since now I'm a member of the family, you know that I won't break my commitment."
  • Maria Gavrilovic

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