The former president, campaigning in Havre for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, made the pledge to about 30 Montana tribal leaders in a private meeting before his morning speech in the MSU-Northern Armory Gymnasium.
The meeting was attended by tribal leaders from the Blackfeet, Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, Chippewa-Cree and Little Shell tribes.
His commitment to the tribes at the hour-long meeting surprised some leaders who've been dissatisfied with the Bush administration's Native American policies during the past seven years.
"He said if she's elected, he'll commit himself to the concerns of Indian Country. It was a profound statement," said Fort Peck Tribal Councilman Tom Christian, who attended the meeting. "He said as a president, he never had time to pursue the things that needed to be done for Indians. I felt he was sincerely committed to that statement."
That statement in itself should be a slap in the face of Native Americans. And now he is going to take the time? IF Hillary is elected. If it is so important to him, why doesn't he commit himself to the concerns of Indian Country now or even if Hillary isn't elected?