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Collecting Indian stories about DC

Our elected tribal leaders and many of our community and traditional leaders spent last week in Washington, DC visiting the Great White Father and the Halls of Congress. President Obama is generously in support of us – perhaps tied to his own experiences as a mixed race African/European American, perhaps because he really believes in our claims for justice and reparations, perhaps because he recognizes our rising political resources as tribal nations, perhaps because it is the right thing to do. I saw pictures in both the news and social media of the events and meetings. I was reminded of the narratives and pictures we have in our family records, in our tribal archives, in the Smithsonian museums and the Library of Congress, commemorating the visits of our ancestors in the capital of the emerging United States, looking for allies, often eloquently speaking of our values and people, sometimes pleading for the resources needed for our survival. We have pictures of my great grandfather, Felix Crazy Bull, posed in front of a backdrop of the Nation’s capitol building, and copies of the transcripts of his speeches before Congress. There are many stories in our families of the sacrifices made by our chiefs and warriors as they protected us and our rights through their nation-to-nation meetings in Washington, DC. Look around you in the coming weeks and gather the stories of our leaders who travelled to the Tribal Nations gathering. Collect those stories in your family memory and in your photo albums. Send copies to the tribal archives. These personal stories are our story.

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