Tribal Leader: Obama Is ‘First American Indian President’

By Penny Starr | December 6, 2012 | 4:43 PM EST

Brian Cladoosby, chairman of the Swinomish Nation, called President Barack Obama the 'first American Indian president' at a tribal conference on Dec. 5, 2012 in Washington, D.C. ( Starr)

( – President Barack Obama was touted as the “first American Indian president” by a tribal leader who introduced him at the 2012 White House Tribal Nations Conference on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

"Think about it for a second," said Brian Cladoosby, who is chairman of the Swinomish Nation. "The president loves basketball.

“He has an Indian name. He knows what it's like to be poor, and he hasn't forgotten where he came from,” Cladoosby said. “And his theme song is 'Hail to the Chief.'

“I think he definitely qualifies as the first American Indian president,” Cladoosby said.

It is the fourth year that the Obama administration has held the event, inviting leaders of all 566 federally recognized tribes to the nation’s capitol.

“Every year, I look forward to this event,” Obama said in his speech at the event, which was held at the Department of the Interior. “It’s especially wonderful to see so many friends that I’ve gotten to know from various nations all across the country.

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“You guys inspire me every single day, and whenever I’ve traveled to your home states, there’s been such a warm welcome that I’ve received,” Obama said. “So I’m truly grateful to all of you.”