Saturday, April 18, 2015

Michelle Obama Stands Up for Native Americans, Says Natives Were Stripped of Their Culture

Though it hasn’t gotten much attention in the media, Michelle Obama made some truly groundbreaking remarks at the Generation Indigenous convening Wednesday on the topics of Native American youth and Native American history.

The White House has posted a transcript of her full remarks online and it is available here.

But I would like to call special attention to the following excerpts in which the First Lady discusses the source of challenges facing Native American communities and the role of the United States government in stripping Natives of their culture:
“You see, we need to be very clear about where the challenges in this community first started. Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems. Poverty and violence didn’t just randomly happen to this community. These issues are the result of a long history of systematic discrimination and abuse.”
The First Lady recognizes and affirms that many of the challenges Native American communities face have roots in systemic discrimination.
“Let me offer just a few examples from our past, starting with how, back in 1830, we passed a law removing Native Americans from their homes and forcibly re-locating them to barren lands out west. The Trail of Tears was part of this process. Then we began separating children from their families and sending them to boarding schools designed to strip them of all traces of their culture, language and history. And then our government started issuing what were known as ‘Civilization Regulations’ – regulations that outlawed Indian religions, ceremonies and practices – so we literally made their culture illegal.”
Make the jump here to read the full article at Blue Nation

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