ABC News' Yunji de Nies, Lisa Chinn and Jen Duck report:
First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Department of Interior, the first time a First Lady has visited the agency in over 12 years. The agency is responsible for millions of acres of parks and public land, protecting endangered species, and managing America's oil and natural gas resources. It is made up of eight bureaus, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That bureau got special attention in Mrs. Obama's speech today, when announced that her husband will create a new position to advise on Native American Affairs.
"Barack has pledged to honor the unique government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government," she said. "And he'll soon appoint a policy advisor to his senior White House staff to work with tribes and across the government on these issues such as sovereignty, health care, education -- all central to the well-being of Native American families and the prosperity of tribes all across this country."
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Barack Obama voiced his intentioned to create an American Indian policy advisor and to host annual summit in Washington with tribal leaders. "That's how we'll make sure you have a seat at the table when important decisions are being made about your lives, about your nations and about your people. That'll be a priority when I am president," he said last May, on a stop in Crow Agency, Montana.
Today marked the First Lady's third visit to a federal agency in as many weeks since her husband took office. At each, she has been met with packed rooms, flashing cameras and adoring federal employees. An Interior Department employee gave her a handmade shawl, which she twirled and modeled for the crowd. She was also 'serenaded' by the Black Bear Singers, an inter-tribal Native American drum corps, with an "honor song" - a traditional Native American song meant to provide "strength and courage."
The First Lady was "honored and moved" by the song, and nodded and her head several times throughout. Afterwards, she thanked the employees of the Interior Department for their hard work and service to the country, saying that some of the people who were behind her on the dais were "folks [who] have been in this department longer than I have been alive."