Obama’s Vision for Standing Rock & Native Youth
… [Native American] children deserve a world-class education too, that prepares them for college and careers. And that means returning control of Indian education to tribal nations with additional resources and support so that [tribes] can direct [their] children’s education and reform schools here in Indian Country. – President Barack Obama at Standing Rock
This promise Obama made for Native youth is more of a vision. He and the First Lady spent a lot of time listening to Standing Rock youth, hearing about their challenges and their victories. Obama voiced the desire to strengthen education and job opportunities so that everyone in America, including Native America, has a fair chance to work hard and get ahead. He also made it a point to remember Native American veterans and their contributions to the United States.
President Obama acknowledged that “throughout history, the United States often didn’t give the nation to nation relationship the respect that it deserved.” He emphasized he is working hard to respect tribal sovereignty and uphold treaty obligations in a spirit of partnership, touching on these strides he has made thus far in behalf of tribes:
- Settlement of long-standing claims related to mineral rights (Cobell) and loans to Native American farmers and ranchers (Keepseagle)
- Access to affordable healthcare for Native Americans (Obamacare)
- Strengthening the sovereignty of tribal courts in prosecuting violence against women (VAWA)
Owner and Editor of the Lakota Country Times attended Obama’s Standing Rock visit in Cannon Ball, ND, along with 1800 tribal members and friends, as the President attended a Flag Day celebration and greeted the crowd in Lakota language. I am only sorry that I cannot link to her story, but the Times is a subscription-only newspaper.
In the story Vi Waln cites Tribal Chairman Archambault of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as saying “no other Presidents come close to the honesty and compassion [Obama] has shown for our tribal nations.”