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United Tribes selected for Inaugural Parade
16 December 2008

BISMARCK (UTN) - A group of American Indian veterans from United Tribes Technical College will march in the national parade for the new President on January 20th in Washington, DC.

      President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s Inaugural Committee officially extended an offer December 15 to the college to march in the 56th Inaugural Parade.

      The United Tribes veterans will be those who have served in Middle East conflicts. They will be among representatives from across the country in the historic parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House following the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony on the steps of the Capitol.

      “I am honored to invite these talented groups and individuals to participate in the Inaugural Parade,” said Obama as part of his invitation to all groups participating. “These organizations embody the best of our nation’s history, diversity and commitment to service. Vice President-elect Biden and I are proud to have them join us in the parade.”

      United Tribes was among 1,382 organizations that applied to participate. The application was supported by North Dakota U. S. Senator Kent Conrad and the other members of the state’s Congressional Delegation.

      According to a spokesperson for the Inaugural Committee, at this time United Tribes is the only organization from North Dakota selected. Approximately 70 to 90 groups will participate, said the spokesperson.

      “It is truly an honor for us to be accepted into the President’s Inaugural Parade,” said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. “We also look forward to representing the citizens of North Dakota at this historic event.”

      Veterans who will be part of the United Tribes entry include employees and students. Some will be dancers and singers using traditional American Indian hand drums. United Tribes Chief of Staff Wes Long Feather is organizing the group. Participants will also represent the state’s five tribes, who govern the college: Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold, Spirit Lake Tribe, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

      In 2009, United Tribes celebrates 40 years of educational service to American Indian students and their families. The college was established in 1969 as one of the first tribal colleges in the country and serves 1,000 students per year.

      According to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, selections for the parade were made by a group of experienced military musicians, who used their expertise to help assess the presentation skills of marching bands, musical acts and drill teams.

      The committee said its choices are in keeping with the commitment to hold inaugural events that celebrate common values and reflect the diversity and history of the nation.

      All participants in the Inaugural Parade are responsible for paying for their own lodging and transportation to and from Washington, D.C. The Committee has been working closely with area governments and civic organizations to facilitate access to affordable accommodations and would like to encourage citizens from across the country to reach out and help the groups raise the necessary resources to participate in this historic event.

      If you are interested in finding out more about supporting United Tribes Technical College and their participation in the 56th Inaugural Parade, please contact Wes Long Feather at 701-255-3285 x. 1218 (wlongfeather@uttc.edu) or visit www.uttc.edu.


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