Reactions from spectators of the President's speech at Cannon Ball
Cannon Ball, ND (WDAY TV) - The 14th visit to the state of North Dakota by a sitting president was in many respects historical.
Some Native American people of the state already say its significance will forever stand apart from other presidential visits.
Children are sacred. That's the message many are taking away today on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation from President Obama's speech. And it's a message he tried to impart himself using the Lakota language.
Reporter: "I noticed the president trying to speak in Lakota. How did he do, if you had to guess?"
Barbara Archambault/ Standing Rock Tribe Member "Eh, he needs some practicing."
Reporter: "Not... not quite the best?"
Of course... many... including tribal council members from around the state... gave him an A for effort.
Jim Barker/ Turtle Mountain Tribal Council Member:"Well, the good was, first of all, by being here, and coming here to Indian Country. And our tribal chairman was able to, I haven't talked to him yet, but give him our wish list you might say. Because all tribes, regardless of where you are, have needs."
Prior to the speech the president met with 6 children from the reservation to discuss problems they face.
He also took in several ceremonial dances featuring children.
Wakiyan Cook/ Dancer: "Sometimes when I looked over there, they'd be smiling and pointing at some of us."
Senator Heidi Heitkamp says the president's remarks about youth struck a chord on the reservation.
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp/ (D) North Dakota: "The children are always the future. And we can't leave the children behind. And where we are right now is a 50% high school graduation rate, where we are is 2 1/2 times the suicide rate."
In his introductory remarks, the chairman of the Standing Rock reservation said he knew that not all the problems of Indian Country could be solved in a single visit. But I believe many of these people leaving tonight are hoping it was the first of many to come.
On top of being a rare occasion for North Dakota, today marked the first visit by a sitting president to Indian Country in 15 years.