As part of the White House Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the high school commencement address to the Class of 2016 at Santa Fe Indian School on May 26.
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.
“I am so excited that First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver the commencement address at SFIS,” said Democratic Party of New Mexico Chairwoman Debra Haaland, in a statement. “The young people who attend high school there are the future leaders of their tribal communities and of our state, and this experience will be an inspiring memory for them.”
Haaland also credited President Obama for his initiatives to engage tribal communities.
“President Obama has demonstrated an invested interest in Indian communities—he has consistently worked to ensure tribes have a seat at the table and that decisions affecting our communities are made with our input,” Haaland said in the statement. “His efforts have truly made a difference and will shape how future government-to-government interactions are managed.”
Originally founded in 1890, as a federal off-reservation boarding school, the Santa Fe Indian School is now 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 percent, and over 90 percent of this year’s graduating class plan to pursue a post-secondary degree.