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Tribal Summit Opens in D.C. Wednesday

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Tribal leaders from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C., this week for face-to-face meetings with President Obama and his administration, the Navajo Times reported.

The White House announced that the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference would open Wednesday at the Sidney R. Yates Auditorium at the Department of the Interior, which is hosting the conference because the White House does not have a space large enough to accommodate all the attendees, the Times said.

It is the fourth year for the conference, which began with a 2008 promise by then-candidate Barack Obama to host an annual summit with tribal leaders, the paper reported.

The aim is to give tribal leaders from the 566 federally recognized Indian tribes to interact with Obama and members of his administration, according to the Times.

Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim will represent the tribe because President Ben Shelly has a prior commitment, Erny Zah, director of communications for the Office of the President and Vice President, told the Times.

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