First Lady visit Standing Rock Reservation
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe welcomed President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to the community of
|Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II, left, provided the official welcome for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to Cannon Ball and the Standing Rock Reservation.
PHOTO BY KEVIN CEDERSTROM
Cannon Ball on the Standing Rock Reservation June 13.
This was the first time a sitting president of the United States has visited a reservation in North Dakota, and was just the third visit a sitting president has made a trip to North Dakota.
After landing in Bismarck on Air Force One, the president and first lady were helicoptered about 40 miles south to Cannon Ball. Upon arrival there, the Obamas visited Cannon Ball Elementary School, meeting in private with children, hearing about life on the reservation and the challenges they face.
Then, the Obamas attended a festive reception – begun with a series of traditional dances – held in their honor at the Cannon Ball Community Powwow Arbor. This served as a kickoff to the tribe’s annual powwow.
Tribal Chairman David Archambault II welcomed the Obamas, thanking them for their visit and for the work the Obama Administration has done on behalf of American Indian people.
“I know that all the challenges of Indian Country cannot be solved in one visit. But this is a historic step in our sovereign relationship, in our government-to-government relationship,” Archambault said. As a welcome gesture, Archambault and tribal leaders presented a star quilt to the president and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe flag to Mrs. Obama.
In his remarks, President Obama emphasized strong mutual collaborations among the federal government and American Indian people.
“My administration is determined to partner with tribes, and it’s not something that just happens once in a while. It takes place every day, on just about every issue that touches your lives. And that’s what real nation-to-nation partnerships look like,” he said.
President Obama said his administration has made major investments to help grow tribal economies, including investments in job training and tribal colleges; roads and high-speed Internet; and energy, including renewable energy.
The president said he and the first lady were particularly impressed with the young students they visited. “Before we came here,” said President Obama, “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.”
President Obama said more collaborative work needs to be done to foster economic growth on reservations such as Standing Rock.
“Let’s put our minds together to build more economic opportunity in Indian Country – because every American, including every Native American, deserves the chance to work hard and get ahead, everybody. That means creating more jobs and supporting small businesses in places like Standing Rock – because young people should be able to live and work and raise a family right here in the land of your fathers and mothers.”
In his remarks, Archambault affirmed this direction for the future. “Working together, we need to find better ways to develop our tribe’s economy. We need to create a sustainable environment for jobs and eliminate the roadblocks to investment in Indian country. Education is critical for our future. Our children deserve a fair chance to grow and prosper,” Archambault said.
Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, Flasher, serves the North Dakota section of the Standing Rock Reservation.
new EPA carbon proposal
Electric cooperatives and other utilities are studying the proposed guidelines for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, which was released on June 2 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and published in the Federal Register June 18.
Dubbed the “Clean Power Plan,” the proposed guidelines establish goals for each state to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions rate. The plan would give states the flexibility to choose how to meet their goals using a combination of measures that reflect each state’s particular circumstances. States have one to three years to submit their final plans to EPA.
While there is no overall national goal specified in the EPA plan, it’s expected that meeting the individual state goals would result in a 17 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emission levels for existing power plants by 2030 based on 2012 emission rates. North Dakota’s proposed 10.6 percent emission reduction from its 2012 level is the lowest goal of any the 49 states affected by the rule.
The public will have an opportunity to comment on the EPA proposal during a 120-day comment period which ends in mid-October.