United Tribes News Speech Archives

Renewing America's Promise – for American Indians

Remarks of
Dr. David M. Gipp
President, United Tribes Technical College
Democratic National Convention
August 26, 2008, Denver, Colorado

Hau, anpetu waste yelo.

My name is David Gipp. I am Hunkpapa/Lakota from the Standing Rock Lakota-Dakota Nation. I am president of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota.

David M. Gipp
David M. Gipp, President, UTTC, delivering speech at 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Photo courtesy of Rob Capriccioso of Indian Country Today.

And I am one of thousands of tribal citizens who support Senator Barack Obama for accepting tribal nations and their citizens into the future he sees for America.

We are not just another special interest group trying to claim a share of the American pie. We are, after all, the First Americans. We have paid for our place with land and blood.

Our status as tribal sovereign nations is specially 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."

Every step you take across this great nation, every vista you admire, every city you call by its tribal name, was once Indian Country.

The places many of our tribal nations occupy, unfortunately, have long been pockets of poverty in America, where the words "Liberty and justice for all," have become empty words on a piece of paper. Our health care is a disaster. Our public schools need repair. Our law enforcement officers lack the resources to guarantee safety. People in the Green Zone in Bagdad may be indeed safer than citizens in Indian Country.

Yet, we have never turned our back on America. Our tribal veterans have served in every one of this nation's wars and conflicts in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. We recently honored the late Woodrow Keeble of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, a hero of the Korean War who received the Medal of Honor. We never forget the sacrifices of our veterans and elders.

We can only renew America's promise when tribal citizens are legitimate participants in framing the future of America.

I urge you to look to the nation's 37 tribal colleges and universities to lead the way in renewing that promise for American Indians. These institutions provide tribal citizens with the skills they need, to be vital contributors to society and to our culture. Tribal colleges are a key to the renaissance in American Indian life, as we save our languages and rebuild over 550 Tribal nations.

American Indians are still here and we are seeking justice for our people.

We offer the strengths of our spirituality and our connection with Mother Earth in renewing America's promise for all.

Let us remember the words of the great Lakota patriot Sitting Bull: “Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”

Pilamayayelo! Thank You.

Mitakuye Oyasin. We are all related. Every race, creed and color, we are indeed all related.

Pilamayayelo. Thank You.