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American Indians Visit White House

Mar. 5, 1963 - A band of 100 American Indians visited Chief Curly of the Crows in the White House today to shower him with gifts and beseech him to correct the rights of his fellow redmen. Chief Curly — known to most Americans as John F. Kennedy — responded with a pledge to work toward providing Indians with better educational and employment opportunities. As he looked out upon members of the group wearing vivid tribal regalia, Mr. Kennedy noted that American Indians “hold a romantic grip on our imaginations.” But he emphasized the hope that their problems can be met in a practical manner. Mr. Kennedy was proclaimed Chief Curly by the Crows a couple of years ago in Montana. He also is chief High Eagle of the Blackfeet and honorary governor of the Zuni Pueblo Indians. The Indians, representing about 50 tribes, gathered in Washington for a meeting of the National Congress of American Indians. The group presented Mr. Kennedy with a pink-and-yellow feathered and beaded war bonnet, a peace pipe, a large black kachina doll, six hand-painted plates, a black and white beaded medallion which he wore around his neck, and other tribal gifts. Mr. Kennedy pointed out that when he entered office, 5,000 Indian youngsters had no schools to attend. The President said in the past two years this need has been met through construction of schools for 7,000 young Indians.


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