August 27, 2008

On the DNC floor (Day 2)

Robert Moore, Proud DNC MomentThe Democratic National Convention’s opening ceremony was a show stopper as Robert Moore of the Rosebud Sioux Nation sang the national anthem. It was a moment of pride and dignity for me to watch one our own sing America’s sacred song to the world. I was taken back by the rush of emotions that ran through me as I reflected on the struggle of his people. Surely this was a proud moment for the Rosebud Sioux Nation. What a wonderful roll model for Indigenous youth too. He mesmerized the audience of 80,000 as well as the world with his powerfully beautiful voice. Truly a grand performance for this budding world class entertainer.Gipp addresses Indian issues at Democratic conventionThough many delegates were still finding their seats, Gipp received cheers from across the floor of the Pepsi Center as he introduced himself around 3:30pm Mountain Time. He was one of the first speakers on a stage that drew the likes of former presidential candidate Sen. Hilary Clinton of New York, popular Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, who sits on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.

"Hau. Anpetu Waste. My name is Dave Gipp. I'm a Hunkpapa Lakota from the Standing Rock Lakota and Nakota Nations. I'm president of the United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota," said Gipp, who wore a bright blue beaded vest and bolo tie.

"I'm one of thousands of tribal citizens who support Senator Barack Obama for accepting tribal nations and their citizens in to the future he sees for America," he continued.

Gipp, the only Native person scheduled to speak during the convention, used his time on the podium to educate the nation about the history of Indian people and the challenges facing them today. He addressed a wide range of topics, from treaties to health care to education.

"We're not another special interest group trying to claim a share of the American pie. We are, after all, the First Americans," said Gipp. "We have paid our price with land and blood. Our status as tribal sovereign nations is specifically recognized in the U.S. Constitution. Our rights as tribal nations to determine our destiny within our great United States should be protected and honored by our government. Our treaties with the U.S. are the supreme law of the land."

In an audience sprinkled with Native people, his next statement was met with a resounding "Yes!" from the delegates. "Every step you take across this great nation, every vista you admire, every city you call by its tribal name was once Indian Country!" Gipp said.

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