Lloyd Tortalita: Hillary Clinton has always cared about Native peoples

An aerial view of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Photo from Sky City Cultural Center/Haak'u Museum / Facebook

Lloyd D. Tortalita served as governor of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton visited his tribe in May 1999. He explains why he supports the Democratic candidate's bid for the presidency:
Hillary arrived at Acoma looking great in a cowboy hat and turquoise jewelry. One of the first things we did was tour Acoma Sky City, our ancestral mesa-top village. She saw the San Esteban del Reyn Mission, built in the 1600’s. A number of Acoma potters presented her with exquisite gifts of hand-coiled pottery and one of our dance groups performed for her.

But most memorable may have been when she met Concepcion Faustine, one of Acoma’s oldest and most beloved members. At that time, Concepcion was over 90 and was one of a handful of people who lived year-round on the mesa-top. Hillary and Concepcion embraced, with Concepcion giving a gentle kiss to Hillary’s cheek. In their embrace you could see two women, coming from very different worlds, bonding in a moment of love and appreciation for each other. It was beautiful.

At the foot of the mesa, nearly a thousand Native people waited for Hillary to speak. But first, she was greeted by the Acoma Dancers — a dance group made up of 3 and 4 year olds! Hillary is known for her long years of advocacy for children and families, but that is a very serious way to describe her love of kids. When she danced with the eagle dancers, you could see in her smile and laughter the delight she took in the love, energy and enthusiasm of our children.

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Lloyd D. Tortalita: Getting to Know Hillary (Indian Country Today 6/7)

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