Thank you Chair Stewart and welcome to the tribal leaders, members and others gathered here with me today as we celebrate the 2013 Tribal Government Day.
I am once again honored to participate in the Tribal Government Day and kick off of Oregon’s 2013 American Indian Week.
This year’s theme is “We are teaching our children.” I cannot think of a more meaningful theme for every Oregonian than “teaching our children.”
As most of you know, I have dedicated a great amount of energy to supporting efforts to help reform Oregon’s public educational system. For many Oregonians, the key to economic prosperity, and to the promise that our children will be better off than we are, and their children better off yet, is the ability to access and achieve a good education.
But I also recognize, as many of you do, that our schools aren’t the only place where our children learn. In fact, the most fundamental and important principles that our children will carry forward are taught not only in schools, but all around us, in our homes, by our families, and by our communities.
The lessons we teach our children will chart their future course – and ours. Looking out on this room, and the traditions and values that are being passed along, I feel very good about Oregon’s future.
As tribal representatives gather today and teach about the cultures, traditions and values being handed down from one generation to the next, all of us should take this opportunity to reflect on the past. I can only imagine that the very notion of teaching the next generation has a profound meaning for Native people who have been forced to struggle with survival. But survive you have done – and not just survive, but thrive.
Native American tribes have contributed to every aspect of the state’s economy, and Native Americans have provided leadership in all sectors from government and industry, science and medicine, the arts and our Armed Forces, education and sports.
I want to thank you for gathering here and sharing with us the things you hold so dear.
As is tradition here in Oregon, I have a proclamation in hand declaring this week to be American Indian Week. I will now read the proclamation.