Remarks by the Second Gentleman at a Bay Mills Indian Community Event in Brimley, Michigan

May 16, 2024

[As prepared for delivery.]


Thank you, Chairman Lowes. You've been a strong advocate for social services and cultural programs for the Sault Ste Marie Tribe, and you've made a real difference in the lives of your community members.

It's great to be in Michigan with my good friend, Dr. Biden. She is a passionate advocate for so many issues, and she puts her heart and soul into everything she does.

As Second Gentleman, I've had the honor of meeting Tribal leaders and visiting Native communities across the country.

My first solo trip was to New Mexico where I visited a COVID-19 vaccine clinic with the Kewa Pueblo. On that trip, I learned about the challenges Native Americans were facing to protect their Tribal members, especially elders, during the pandemic.

They were fighting to preserve their heritage and ensure their communities could continue to thrive for many generations to come.

Last year, the Vice President and I traveled to the Gila River Indian Community where I met with a group of military veterans. I had the chance to speak with them about their service and thank them for their bravery and dedication to our nation.

Many of you who are here today are also veterans, service members – patriots.

Native Americans have served our country in every major conflict in the past 200 years. And today, Native Americans serve in uniform at the highest rate of any population.

This unique dedication and commitment to service is echoed throughout every generation.

Today's young Native leaders are upholding this legacy and defending our nation's values.

They are also carrying forward the language, culture, and traditions of their tribes – while fighting back against disparities that have harmed Tribal communities for decades.

To achieve economic justice in Indian Country, we must address historical barriers and support tribal self-determination.

When President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, they acknowledged the duty to safeguard and strengthen the bonds between our nations.

They also vowed to build a future in which every Native person can realize their aspirations and every Native community can be a place of opportunity.

That is why President Biden and Vice President Harris have invested nearly $45 billion in Indian Country.

This includes $32 billion from the American Rescue Plan and $13 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Through these transformational investments, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking historic action to: rebuild Tribal roads and bridges; expand access to clean drinking water and clean energy; ensure every Native American has access to high-speed internet; and create good-paying jobs.

Under President Biden and Vice President Harris's leadership, we will continue to invest in, and support, Tribal Nations and Native communities.

The Vice President has worked with Native communities her entire career.

As District Attorney of San Francisco, she represented Native children and families in Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases. And as Attorney General of California, she partnered with Tribal leaders, child welfare agencies, and law enforcement officials to enforce ICWA.

President Biden and Vice President Harris, working hand-in-hand with Native leaders, will continue to safeguard the protections of ICWA. They understand its significance and the importance of acknowledging the truth about this country's history.

They will also keep fighting to address the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous people.

There is much more work to do, but together, I know we will build a better future for this generation and generations to come.

Now, I am proud to introduce Whitney Gravelle, President of the Bay Mills Indian Community.

Doug Emhoff, Remarks by the Second Gentleman at a Bay Mills Indian Community Event in Brimley, Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Simple Search of Our Archives