Standing Rock Sioux Nation Chairman Dave Archambault II issued the following statement on June 23 regarding President Obama’s June 13 visit to the tribe.
“The primary purpose of the visit was for the President to announce new initiatives for Indian country. Now that this historic visit has concluded, I hope that my fellow tribal leaders and I can engage and strategize on ways to maximize the impact of the President’s new initiatives, and maintain an ongoing, open dialog with the Administration on ways to improve the lives of our people.
“During their visit to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the Cannon Ball Flag Day Celebration, where they were able to watch one of the tribe’s annual pow-wow events, and experience tribal culture first hand. During the pow-wow, the President and First Lady watched several inter-tribal songs and dances from a wide spectrum of dancers from around the Great Plains area, and were presented with a star quilt and shawl, respectively, as a showing of respect and honor to our guests. Children from the Lakota Immersion Nest program – a tribally-run program which teaches children re-immersion of Dakota/Lakota languages – sang to the President and First Lady the Dakota/Lakota flag song. President Obama spoke to the people of Indian country, reaffirming the need to focus on improving federal resources for Native American children, and working with tribes on solidifying our government-to-government relationship.
“However, from the tribe’s perspective, the most important event that occurred during the President’s visit was a private roundtable attended by the President, First Lady and six youth from our tribe. The six youth were able to tell the stories of their challenges and successes to the President and First Lady. In a day that focused so importantly on Native American children, the President and First Lady’s ability to meet with those six youth was truly monumental, and a true inspiration for not only the youth who participated in the roundtable, but for all Native youth who know that the President and First Lady are truly listening to them.”