Tomorrow President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Cannon Ball, North Dakota, on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The visit has been touted by some as a historic one given that America’s Indian country has seen few visits from the nation’s executive branch leader.
The last visit to Indian country from a sitting US President was President Bill Clinton’s trip to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. Prior to that, no sitting President had visited a reservation since Franklin Delano Roosevelt visited a Cherokee tribe in North Carolina in 1933.
But according to information about the trip sent out to the media by the White House, Obama won’t be in North Dakota very long. Less than four hours, in fact, the bulk of which will likely be travel time.
The President is scheduled to land in Air Force One at the North Dakota National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility Complex in Bismarck at 1:35 pm central time.
From there the President and the First Lady will travel to Cannon Ball, North Dakota, approximately 60 miles south of Bismarck. Driving time for that trip is approximately one hour, according to Google Maps, though it’s not clear if the President will be driving to the reservation or taking another form of transportation.
After the visit in Cannon Ball, Air Force One is expected to depart Bismarck at 5:15 pm.
All together, that’s just 3 hours and 40 minutes on the ground in North Dakota for President Obama during which time he plans to “attend a powwow and meet with tribal leaders to discuss a number of important topics, including jobs, education and self-determination in Indian Country,” according to the Bismarck Tribune. And give a speech to the assembled media and public too, no doubt.
“The president’s visit to North Dakota will likely be big on symbolism,” opines the Tribune. “How much substance it contains can only be measured as his visit unfolds and takes place.”
It’s hard to imagine a lot of substance getting crammed into less than four hours on the ground, the bulk of which will probably be travel time.
Here’s the information about the visit sent to the press. I’ve redacted the email address for the reporter who forwarded me the information.