In a speech earlier this year at the Creating Opportunity for Native Youth event, First Lady Michelle Obama linked the obstacles in Indian Country to historical mistreatment by the United States. "Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems," Obama said, according to her remarks. "Poverty and violence didn’t just randomly happen to this community. These issues are the result of a long history of systematic discrimination and abuse."
"Let me offer just a few examples from our past, starting with how, back in 1830, we passed a law removing Native Americans from their homes and forcibly re-locating them to barren lands out west. The Trail of Tears was part of this process," Obama added. "Then we began separating children from their families and sending them to boarding schools designed to strip them of all traces of their culture, language and history. And then our government started issuing what were known as 'Civilization Regulations' – regulations that outlawed Indian religions, ceremonies and practices – so we literally made their culture illegal."
"And these are just a few examples," the first lady said. "I could continue on like this for hours."
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