First Lady to Indian Youth: We’re Finally Embracing ‘Wisdom of Your Ancestors’ on Climate Change

First Lady Michelle Obama said on Thursday at a tribal youth gathering at the White House that the United States is “finally” embracing the wisdom of Native Americans on conservation and climate change, and claimed that America’s founders modeled the U.S. government partly on the “Iroquois Confederacy.”

“Today, on issues like conservation and climate change, we are finally beginning to embrace the wisdom of your ancestors,” Mrs. Obama said at the event where youth from 230 tribes from 42 states participated.

“Now, long before the United States was even an idea, your ancestors were harvesting the crops that would feed the world for centuries to come,” Obama said. “And places like Seattle and Michigan and natural wonders like Niagara Falls and Yosemite can only be named using your Native languages.”

“Your artwork has inspired generations of artists,” Obama said. “Your healing techniques have spurred great medical advances and saved countless lives.”