President Obama Visits Sioux Lands to Honor Native Americans Who Served in U.S. Wars

President Obama and David Archambault II, a leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, at a tribal ceremony in Cannon Ball, N.D. (Credit: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)
President Obama and David Archambault II, a leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, at a tribal ceremony in Cannon Ball, N.D. (Credit: Gabriella Demczuk/The New York Times)

Hours after adjourning a tense Oval Office meeting about the Iraq crisisPresident Obama found himself on the ancestral lands of Chief Sitting Bull, taking part in a celebration to honor American Indians who have served in America’s foreign wars.

On a windswept plain next to the Missouri River, dancers and drummers from the Sioux and other tribes, encircled by American flags, created a pulsing swirl of color and noise as Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, nodded their heads in time to the music.

In his first visit to an Indian reservation as president, Mr. Obama told the raucous crowd of 1,800 people that he had delivered on his promise as a presidential candidate in 2008 to improve relations between the government and the nation’s Indian tribes.

“There’s no denying that for some Americans, the deck’s been stacked against them, sometimes for generations, and that’s been true of many Native Americans,” the president said. “But if we’re working together, we can make things better.”

Mr. Obama announced a series of modest education initiatives to improve schools for Indian children. Before the flag ceremony, Obamas met with high school students at a school on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to hear about the pressures they face growing up here.

Tribal leaders praised Mr. Obama and presented him with a ceremonial blanket with an eight-point red, white and blue star. “No other president comes close to the honesty and compassion he has shown for our tribal nations,” said David Archambault II, one of the leaders. It was a rare respite for a president lurching from crisis to crisis. Mr. Obama tried out a few words in the Lakota language and held children in his arms during the farewell ceremony.

But he also encountered pressure on a familiar front as some of the leaders and protesters urged him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and other oil-sand pipelines, which they say would devastate their land, water, climate and treaty rights.

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The New York Times


  1. Thank You, Mr President. Thank you for taking the time to see our Original Peoples, and their honoring of life, through a Celebration. Look and see the lack of “access to cash”. With access to cash, our non-Original Peoples, were able to build homes,own cars, fund education, go on vacations, buy toys, start businesses, fund campaigns to the senate – governors office – mayors, build huge industries that became fortune 500 companies, and basically live a good life with access to cash.

    As you look around the Original Peoples land, you will see, NO “ACCESS TO CASH:, the barriers have been written into policy to punish the Original People who refuse to give up the dancing and celebrating life, and their speaking of their language. They have refused to become White Peoples. Instead, they continue to stand as a Proud People, deep deep in their culture, and are punished by white corporate American, by also having no fortune 500 companies being built around and with them.

    What a Awesome Day for the World to see. The American’s most Powerful Man, President of the U.S. mingling with the Original Peoples, and doing what White America Government wishes would just disappear if ignored as a Proud Original Peoples.

    Change is acoming. White America must come “Face-to-Face” with their decisions to punish the Original People through “no access to cash”, when time value of money says: the real estate of America by square footage was worth X back in 1776, and now sense land does not lose its value and only increases in value, is worth XX in today’s dollars.

    Thank you Mr President for coming to the Reservation to give White America the view they wish would just disappear, and see that the Original People need “Access to Cash” to get caught back up with the rest of America. Industrial Revolution was purposely written to by-pass the Original People to punish them until they forgave their Culture and became White.

    America can return to its Peace, only through ceremonial harmony with ALL its people.

    Your Jesus’s Father or God created the Original People too, remember your sunday school lessons.

    God Bless America – Come Enjoy and celebrate life through a Celebration – Peace

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