PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — President Clinton will discuss his plans to bring jobs to one of the nation's poorest areas when he visits the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation today.
The president planned to tour the reservation this morning as part of a four-day tour of economically depressed communities in six states. He also planned an appearance at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City before leaving South Dakota.
He landed at Ellsworth at 7:56 Mountain time last night.
Business executives and government officials are accompanying Clinton on the tour, which promotes his proposals for encouraging investment in poor areas.
Clinton will tour housing projects, give a speech and sign a proclamation that designates the Pine Ridge Reservation as an empowerment zone. The designation will help the reservation get federal tax breaks and funding to boost economic development.
The president's trip should help bring businesses and jobs to the reservation, Oglala Sioux Tribal President Harold Salway said last week.
"How many times do we get the attention of the world out here in middle America so we can build bridges to the rest of the world?" he said.
Oglala Sioux officials also want to talk with Clinton about their belief that the Sioux tribes are entitled to the return of land taken when the government broke treaties more than a century ago.
Organizers of recent marches said they planned to demonstrate during Clinton's visit to call attention to alcohol problems and some unsolved murders.
The marches the past two Saturdays have focused on demands to shut down stores that sell beer in Whiteclay, Neb., a couple miles from Pine Ridge village. Alcohol is banned on the reservation.