Michelle Obama To Visit Santa Fe Indian School for Commencement

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown April 10th, 2016 Last Updated on: April 10th, 2016

In a press release from the White House this week, it was announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will be giving the commencement speech at Santa Fe Indian School on Thursday May 26, 2016.

Santa Fe, New Mexico – As part of the White House Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Initiative, the First Lady will deliver the high school commencement address to the Class of 2016 at Santa Fe Indian School. Gen-I works to improve the lives of Native youth by promoting a national dialogue and programs to cultivate the next generation of Native leaders. Last year, the First Lady addressed the White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, DC.

Originally founded in 1890, as a Federal off-reservation boarding school, the Santa Fe Indian School is currently owned and operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. Recently honored as a National Association Secondary School Breaking the Ranks Showcase School, SFIS is a leader in Native American education and proud of its history to educate the next generation of tribal leadership. Graduates of SFIS participate in the culture of their communities and will have the skills to pursue the education and careers that will benefit them, their families, and their people. For the past five years, SFIS has had an average graduation rate of 98%, and over 90% of this year's graduating class plan to pursue a post-secondary degree.

In a story from the Santa Fe New Mexican, it seems like the kids are excited for the announcement.

The first lady’s appearance at the Indian School is reason for Native Americans to rejoice, Santa Fe Indian School senior Emmanuel Vigil said Monday.

“We are so honored to have her here,” he said. “She and President Obama have been very generous and supportive of the Native American community, so her coming here is like a fulfillment of what they said they planned to do … for that community.”

He said he is impressed the Obamas have visited Native American reservations and seen “the issues on the reservations and the challenges that Native Americans face there.”

Senior Chyanne Quintana echoed Vigil’s thoughts, saying, “It’s really good to be recognized. Not a lot of people recognize us as a people. The Obamas bring up Native Americans quite often, and that’s why a lot of Native Americans in general are excited about her coming here.”

Vigil and Quintana said each of the school’s 100-plus seniors were asked to nominate someone to deliver the commencement address. Many of them suggested either the president or his wife, they said.

Vigil said he chose Lady Gaga. “But this is even better. Nobody compares to Michelle Obama.”

Do we have any readers with kids at the school? Will you be attending the event? Send us a snapshot if so!

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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