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Presidential highlights at Cannon Ball

FNS Photo by Kevin Cederstrom President Barack Obama addresses the crowd Friday at the Cannonball Flag Day Celebration in Cannon Ball.

CANNON BALL — Presiden Barack Obama had plenty to say during his speech here, which lasted approximately 15 minutes. Here are the highlights.

On his and first lady Michelle Obama’s closed-door roundtable discussion with tribal youths at Cannon Ball Elementary School:

“Before we came here, Michelle and I sat with an amazing group of young people. I love these young people. I only spent an hour with them. They feel like my own. And you should be proud of them because they’ve overcome a lot, but they’re strong and they’re still standing, and they’re moving forward. And they’re proud of their culture. But they talked about the challenges of living in two worlds and being both ‘Native’ and ‘American.’ And some bright young people like the ones we met today might look around and sometimes wonder if the United States really is thinking about them and caring about them, and has a place for them, too.

“And when we were talking, I said, you know, Michelle and I know what it feels like sometimes to go through tough times. We grew up at times feeling like we were on the outside looking in. But thanks to family and friends, and teachers and coaches and neighbors that didn’t give up on us, we didn’t give up on ourselves. Just like these young people are not giving up on themselves. And we want every young person in America to have the same chance that we had, and that includes the boys and girls here in Indian Country.”

On Standing Rock’s tribal court, which has become a national model:

“My administration has gone further than any in history to strengthen the sovereignty of tribal courts, particularly when it comes to criminal sentencing and prosecuting people who commit violence against women. And Standing Rock has done a terrific job at building a court system that is open and efficient, and delivers justice to your people. So we want to support more tribes as they follow your lead and strengthen justice in our communities. And that includes protecting important rights like the right to vote, because every Native American deserves a voice in our democracy.”

On preserving culture through education:

“And even as they prepare for a global economy, we want children, like these wonderful young children here, learning about their language and learning about their culture, just like the boys and girls do at Lakota Language Nest here at Standing Rock. We want to make sure that continues and we build on that success.”

On his first visit to a reservation in 2008 and the relationship between the United States and sovereign tribal nations:

“When I was first running for President, I had the honor of visiting the Crow Nation in Montana. And today I’m proud to be making my first trip to Indian Country as president of the United States.

“I know that throughout history, the United States often didn’t give the nation-to-nation relationship the respect that it deserved. So I promised when I ran to be a president who’d change that – a president who honors our sacred trust, and who respects your sovereignty, and upholds treaty obligations, and who works with you in a spirit of true partnership, in mutual respect, to give our children the future that they deserve.”

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