Tribal leaders from the Northwest and around the country had the opportunity Wednesday to tell the Obama Administration what they want in the coming year.
The White House convened what has become an annual conference with Native American tribes. Ron Whitener, a University of Washington law school professor, will be giving advice all year long thanks to his appointment to a new Justice Department advisory panel.
Whitener says the group is specifically looking at violence faced by American Indian children.
"One of the things that I think is important to remember is that when we have examples where tribes have been economically successful, they have been able to put their own funds into interventions tailored to their community and those have the best effect."
Whitener directs the Native American Law Center at the University of Washington and is a member of the Squaxin Island tribe in South Puget Sound.
He says American Indian and Alaska Native youth experience disproportionately high rates of all kinds of violence -- including child abuse, neglect, homicide, suicide and rape.