Column: Standing Rock Sioux chairman delivers strong speech

Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, at the North Dakota Capitol before his State of Native Nations address. Photo by Jodi Lee Spottedbear / Twitter

Columnist Mike Jacobs praises Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, for a strong State of Native Nations address to the North Dakota Legislature:
One of these high points occurred on Thursday afternoon, when David Archambault spoke truth to power. Archambault is chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council.

Things aren't good in Indian country, his speech indicated. "As our youth know, growing up on a reservation is difficult. Often forced to face stark realities at an early age, these children endure poverty, homelessness, violence, suicide, hunger and addiction."

Holding his hands before the lawmakers, he said, "Let's say that our 10 fingers represent our Indian children in school today. Now take one hand away. What you have now before you is the dropout rate that Indian children experience. Now clench four fingers. What you see now is how many Indian children will be skilled enough to go on and be successful in advanced levels of education.

"It is an alarming fact, isn't it."

Archambault didn't stop there. He made a plea for economic development on reservations, for environmental protection in the Bakken and for subtlety in dealing with Indian communities. "We ask that North Dakota reconsider its approach to its government-to-government relationships and bear in mind that although tribes embrace elements of a shared history, each tribe is also unique."

Get the Story:
MIKE JACOBS: Session hits high points and low in opening week (The Grand Forks Herald 1/13)

Also Today:
Tribal chairman asks ND to treat tribes as unique, protect environment and public safety (The Fargo Forum 1/9)
State of the Tribes Address (KXNews 1/8)

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