Native youth are standing up and making their voices heard every day. But today, we’re calling attention to youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation who made their voices heard to a special party of two: the President and First Lady.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama made his first presidential trip to an reservation. He visited the North Dakota tribe to attend their annual Flag Day Powwow where dozens of traditional dancers greeted the President and First Lady Michelle Obama. But earlier that day, the two spent some time talking with a small group of the tribe’s youth. Gathered at the Cannon Ball Grade School, the Obamas listened as Native youth told them about the challenges of life on the reservation and the challenges that come with identifying as both Native and American. But the President’s biggest takeaway was from something the youth never had to say. That Native youth are resilient.
“And you should be proud of [your young people]—because they’ve overcome a lot, but they’re strong and they’re still standing and they’re moving forward. And they’re all proud of their culture,” Obama said during an address he gave later that day to a crowd of 1,800 powwow attendees.