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Leaders of Tribal Nations Gather for Annual Summit in Washington

Pete Souza / The White House(WASHINGTON) -- More than 300 tribal nations sent their leaders to Washington Wednesday – some in buckskins and feathered head-dress, some in coat and tie – for the annual summit at which President Obama reminded them that as a presidential candidate in 2008 he was adopted into the Crow Nation by a Native American couple.

“As a proud adopted member of the Crow Nation,” he began, “let me say, ‘Kaheé – welcome – to all of you.”

The tribal summit is considered a meeting of sovereign nations coming together, built on a history, as turbulent as it was, of treaties and a Constitution.

“That’s the relationship we’re called upon to sustain for the progress of all of our peoples,” Obama said Wednesday. “And while we should be proud of what we’ve achieved together in recent years, we also should be focused on all the work that we still have to do.”

Unspoken in public was the growing debate over the term “Redskins,” and the Washington NFL franchise under pressure from some tribes to abandon a name many Indians consider a slur.

In private at the White House Tuesday, leaders of the Oneida nation presented President Obama with a sports jersey from a high school in New York state. The students dropped the name Redskins, becoming instead the Hawkeyes. And the Oneida tribe helped pay for the new uniforms.

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