Obama Notes ‘Tragic’ US Past

Laurie Au, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 28, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama, speaking to a gathering of minority journalists yesterday, stopped short of endorsing an official U.S. apology to American Indians but said the country should acknowledge its history of poor treatment of certain ethnic groups.

“There’s no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we’ve got some very sad and difficult things to account for,” Obama told hundreds of attendees of UNITY ‘08, a convention of four minority journalism associations.

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“I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said.

“I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it’s Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”

Obama, who appeared tired in his first major appearance since returning Saturday from a 10-day trip abroad, met with a receptive audience at the Chicago convention. Some journalists had waited three hours for the 40-minute appearance.

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When Obama walked on stage at the McCormick Center, many journalists in the audience leapt to their feet and applauded enthusiastically after being told not to do so. {snip}

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Obama, who acknowledged that he needed a nap, stood up to say farewell to the audience of journalists, many of whom gave him another standing ovation.

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