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Opinion
Mary Kim Titla: Reflecting on the inauguration


"It’s been days since I witnessed and soaked in the historic inauguration of our first black president, yet the amazing images I experienced with a mere 1.8 million people on Jan. 20 continue to run through my mind and are now embedded with my most significant of memories.

No doubt President Barack Obama is one of the best orators of our time and I felt privileged to have heard him give his inaugural address in person. As he spoke the words, “To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow,” I thought about my tribal community with its 70 percent unemployment rate. I know he was referring to the outside world, but he has promised to hire a senior cabinet level advisor on Indian policy to better build relationships with Indian tribes and he pledged to host an annual summit with tribal leaders to better address Native issues. It is a stark change from previous administrations and two of the reasons so many Native Americans voted for Obama.

While in Washington I was interviewed about Obama’s promises to Native people by a reporter who knew about my run for Congress. I said “people are anxious to see what happens.” Tribal leaders are ready to meet with the new president and they want direct access as expressed by Ron Allen, chairman of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, during the Tribal Leaders’ Strategy Session sponsored by NCAI and NIGA.

Triggering the most emotion during Obama’s inaugural address, for me, was when he spoke about Iraq, saying “We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people.” I thought of my 18-year-old son, Micah Mosley, an Army Private 2nd Class stationed south of Baghdad and other young warriors now defending our freedoms, including the freedom to celebrate in record numbers the inauguration of the new president."

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Mary Kim Titla: Inauguration reflection (Indian Country Today 1/30)