By Mark Trahant
But those 10 minutes were significant, especially across Indian country. This was the first time an American Indian woman was given the opportunity to tell a story as important as any keynote.
“It looks great to be up here,” she said with a smile. “All the way from Big Sky Country. I am proud to be here as a Montanan. As an educator. As a Democrat. And as a member of the Mandan and Hidatsa Tribes.”
She also said she’s proud to be the first American Indian woman in history to win a statewide election.
Transcript of Denise Juneau remarks as prepared for delivery, Democratic National Convention
President Obama knows that the value of education is not just in the equations our students memorize or the books they read. For some students, school is the only place where they get a hot meal and a warm hug. Teachers are sometimes the only ones who tell our children they can go from an Indian reservation to the Ivy League, from the home of a struggling single mom to the White House.
Our schools are where we pass down our stories and our history. And in my family, that American history goes back centuries—back to the first residents: Native Americans. President Obama understands that the Native American story includes both painful chapters and hopeful ones. He knows that the Native American story is part of America's story and that we deserve to be part of the American dream. That is why he welcomed the tribal nations to the White House and joined them at the table. He signed the Cobell Settlement to correct a long-standing injustice that the late Elouise Cobell—a warrior woman—spent 15 long years fighting for. He's made investments to prevent violence against women in Native communities and to increase opportunities for our youth and veterans. And when he brought health care to all Americans, he helped build hospitals, train nurses, and ensure healthy moms and healthy babies in tribal communities.
It was a proud day in Montana when President Obama visited the Crow Nation and became an adopted Crow tribal member. In fact, I think there are a few of his Crow relatives here tonight. He was given a Crow name that day—it translates to "one who helps people throughout the land." That is more than an adopted name; that is at the core of who he is. It is his mission. And that's why, this November, we will re-elect President Barack Obama!
For more on the subject, see Elizabeth Warren Ducks Native Delegates and Indians at the 2012 Democratic Convention.