Feds Start Discussion On Indian Civil Rights

Albuquerque – About 300 tribal officials and representatives of several federal agencies are in Albuquerque for what they call a serious conversation about protecting the civil rights of American Indians.

Indians have made strides, but those at the two-day conference say they continue to face discrimination when it comes to education, religion, voting rights and housing.

The U.S. Department of Education's general counsel, Charlie Rose, says the conference is a first and an important step in meeting the directives President Barack Obama set last fall when he asked all of the agencies to consult with tribes in the hope of building a better relationship.

Rose says he's optimistic that when the key payers sit down and listen to each other, they will develop a better understanding of the problems faced across Indian Country.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.