The Slatest

Obama Visit to Sioux Reservation Is Only Third Presidential Trip to Indian Land in 76 Years

The 2.3 million-acre Standing Rock reservation is home to more than 8,000 residents.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

An Associated Press story about Barack and Michelle Obama’s visit today to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the Dakotas mentions an astounding fact:

Obama is only the third sitting president to come into Indian Country in almost 80 years.

It’s three visits in 76 years, to be precise. “Indian Country” as a legal term includes reservation property as well as some related types of land. In the past 80 years the United States has had 13 presidents.

The Obamas will watch a traditional song-and-dance celebration and meet with tribal youth to discuss life on the reservation, where 63 percent of able-bodied workers are unemployed. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it would be making $70 million available for the improvement of tribal housing nationwide.