Michelle Obama: 'Our Government...Outlawed Indian Religions'

By CNSNews.com Staff | April 9, 2015 | 10:41 AM EDT

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) - On Wednesday, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed a gathering at the White House that focused on the topic of creating opportunity for Native American youth. The White House posted her prepared remarks online.

The full speech, as posted by the White House, can be read by clicking here. Here is an excerpt from the First Lady's remarks:

You see, we need to be very clear about where the challenges in this community first started.

Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems. 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. 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. I could continue on like this for hours.

So given this history, we shouldn’t be surprised at the challenges that kids in Indian Country are facing today. And we should never forget that we played a role in this. Make no mistake about it – we own this.

And we can’t just invest a million here and a million there, or come up with some five year or ten-year plan and think we’re going to make a real impact. This is truly about nation-building, and it will require fresh thinking and a massive infusion of resources over generations. That’s right, not just years, but generations.