Tribal members watch as Obama touches down in Cannon Ball
CANNON BALL, N.D. – Generations of American Indians gathered to take pictures and video as President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama landed in Marine 1 helicopter at 2:49 p.m. Friday in Cannon Ball.
Standing in her uncle’s driveway with about 20 relatives, Alycia Yellow Eyes, 34, of Mandan, shot video with her cell phone and waved at the procession of seven helicopters as they descended on a grassy field below a residential area of the community of about 900 people.
“I never thought I’d see a president landing in our front yard, you know?” she said.
Across the field, 19-year-olds Austin Kelly and Christopher Ell and others had prepared to watch Marine 1’s landing from the back of a pickup truck on the lawn of Kelly’s Bar.
“I don’t think Cannon Ball’s been noticed ever ‘til today,” Ell said.
The president and first lady, running about half an hour behind schedule, stepped off Marine 1 with U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and were quickly shuttled to Cannonball Elementary School for a roundtable with youths from the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.
They were expected to hear about the challenges facing the young people, what it’s like to grow up in Indian Country and their hopes for the future, according to the White House. The roundtable was closed to the press.