Video | First Lady Michelle Obama Delivers 2016 Santa Fe Indian High School Commencement Address

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the 2016 Santa Fe Indian High School Commencement Address.

Watch the entire ceremony below

Watch it live here

First lady Michelle Obama concluded her remarks at the Santa Fe Indian School graduation just before 3 p.m. To view Obama’s remarks, rewind the video player to 2:01:30. A video archive of her remarks will be posted Friday evening.

Will update with video when available.

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34 Responses to Video | First Lady Michelle Obama Delivers 2016 Santa Fe Indian High School Commencement Address

  1. eliihass says:

    This was posted by a muslim native American woman who was at the Commencement ceremony …As I watched the video of FLOTUS’ speech, I remember noticing a couple of the women in hijab in the audience..This must be one of them…She posts under ‘Native_Veil’…

    • eliihass says:

      “…To go forth and change not just the world, but what the world thinks of you, became the charge given to the 2016 graduates of the Santa Fe Indian School by first lady Michelle Obama, as well as the class’s salutatorian and valedictorian.

      She called on them to see the challenges that test them as their greatest strengths and to ask for help immediately upon needing it when they arrive at college..”

      “I still can’t believe it, honestly. I had it in the back of my mind since the beginning of the year, and now that the day is come, I still believe it’s not happening, especially with Mrs. Obama here,” said Eddie Humetewa, who graduated today from SFIS. Humetewa comes from the San Felipe, Santo Domingo and Santa Ana pueblos. His father attended SFIS, and his great-grandfather helped found the school, helping to secure the land grant and speaking with Pueblo leaders to recruit their students to the school when it started.

      “The way she speaks to Native youth is so eloquent, and I love the way she really wakes us up and kind of gives us the momentum we need,” Humetewa says. “What she’s been doing, talking to us about changing, I guess empowering us, essentially, empowering us to do what we want, to think however we want and to be in charge of our own destiny.”

  2. eliihass says:

    “…In bestowing this sacred blanket, which is a symbol of unity, you are welcomed into our community as our own people,” they told her. They placed it around her like a shawl blanketing her in the comfort of their gratitude and respect; she stooped a bit to help them…”

  3. eliihass says:

    “…First Lady Michelle Obama came to listen to the 2016 graduating class of the Santa Fe Indian School. And then she spoke from her heart.

    Inside the auditorium, where every seat was occupied, the audience patiently waited for the First Lady. The stage, where Mrs. Obama would deliver her message, was decorated with drums, colorfully patterned blankets, shawls, weavings, painted ceramic pots, intricately woven baskets, arrays of bougainvillea and deers’ heads with racks.

    Mrs. Obama floated in, escorted by Columbia University-bound Valedictorian Emanuel Vigil (Jicarilla Apache) and University of New Mexico-bound Salutatorian Chyanne Quintana (Ohkay Owingeh/Santa Clara), and was met with cheers and a standing ovation. A sea of cameras were raised overhead to capture this first moment of a promise fulfilled—the First Lady of the United States had traveled all the way across the country to honor these young Native students and their guests with her presence.

    She and the Secret Service officers charged with her protection quickly integrated into the ceremony and listened to the drumming and chanting of two men whose sonorous voices filled the vast auditorium. Spirits were stirred by the Tewa Dancers of Ohkay Owingeh. Again symmetry was a key aesthetic—there were two powerful men dancing in Buffalo headdresses, two vigorous women adorned with eagle feathers meeting the men step for step, two musicians. This processional dance harkened to the Buffalo Dance, a winter dance offered to a First Lady in the late winter of her tenure. It is also fundamentally a dance about resources for human survival, and in that sense, profoundly political.

    Mrs. Obama was welcomed to the podium as “the mother of our nation,” and she addressed the graduates as a mother might speak to her children, saying over and over how proud she was of them, as they beamed that pride back at her. While she adhered pretty rigorously to her prepared remarks, sometimes she deviated from the script. “I wish I could spend a whole week with you,” she declared. “I love you all so much.”

    She personalized the history of the African American experience, and shared her family’s roots in 19th century American chattel slavery. Her remarks seemed geared toward moving beyond a sense of connection between her and the audience, which was already palpable in the hall, to something deeper, something more akin to identification.

    She pled with the students to seek help if they find themselves struggling at college or in other future endeavors. Like she was speaking to her own daughters, Malia or Sasha, she looked the kids in the eyes, paused and said: “Do you understand me?”

    Student presenters Shilyn Platero-Fisher (Diné/Paiute) and Fatima Garcia (Santo Domingo) presented the 2016 graduating class’ commencement speaker First Lady Michelle Obama with a gift of thanks for “protecting us as your own children.”

    “In bestowing this sacred blanket, which is a symbol of unity, you are welcomed into our community as our own people,” they told her. They placed it around her like a shawl blanketing her in the comfort of their gratitude and respect; she stooped a bit to help them…”

  4. eliihass says:

    “…So we desperately need your voices and your values in this conversation reminding us that we’re all connected, we’re all obligated to treat one another with respect, to act with integrity, to give back to those in need.

    Now, I know that perhaps I’m asking a lot of all of you. And I know that sometimes all those obligations might feel like a heavy burden. I also know that many of you have already faced and overcome challenges in your lives that most young people can’t even begin to imagine — challenges that have tested your courage, your confidence, your faith, and your trust.

    But, graduates, those struggles should never be a source of shame — never — and they are certainly not a sign of weakness. Just the opposite. Those struggles are the source of your greatest strengths. Because by facing adversity head on and getting through it, you have gained wisdom and maturity beyond your years. I’ve seen it in you. You’ve developed resilience that will sustain you throughout your lives. You’ve deepened a well of compassion within yourselves that will help you connect with and give back to others who struggle…”

    —First Lady Michelle Obama to the 2016 graduates of the Sante Fe Indian School in New Mexico; May 26, 2016 #ReachHigher 🎓

  5. eliihass says:

    dtnla1 Thank you for broadening the reach of the White House. You rock!

  6. eliihass says:

    calisoul84 I can’t wait to still follow you through the years to come. You will forever be inspiration to many.

    amieje0808 I’m in the Navy with 3 kids, you must know you made my daughter see the good in our country. You stand up for our kids. We have been through a lot that even the Navy can’t touch but you give us hope! Sad to see you go 😞

    davsbizGreatly said First Lady, you have really been an enormous inspiration to our World. #veteranjobs

    mabell33 The transcript to your speech is amazing and inspiring! Thanks for being so rad!

    crysee You are such a neat First Lady. I will miss you.

    grayyseagrace #excellence #mrs1stLady we will miss you!! Mi-yah-waeh ✨🙏🏽✨

    bedonnahayes 🎓 we love you @michelleobama

    cldmylesgmailcom I am soooo very proud of you as my/our First Lady of The United States of America, so very proud! 😃💗💋🎆🎊🎉😘☝☝☝

    baby__mexico It’s amazing how a black woman with power can change the world by applying her self with the understanding of what’s needed and what’s not needed you a hero in my eyes for all your efforts to help this country

  7. eliihass says:

    samsontory My dearest Michelle, I never thought I would miss any politician but you are different.lots of love from Iran

    lorbah.liz Thank you for being there & for the awesome speech!! The class of 2016 was very very fortunate to have you there! Watched entire ceremony on live stream.

    thornton.cecelia Our First Lady Mrs. Michelle Obama, I am so proud of you and your kind heart to all people

    geri.harney I was very inspired and impressed by your Commencement Address. I watched the entire ceremony livestream from Phoenix, Arizona. You are a wonderful Role Model to these graduates. As a Tribal member from the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh and a Parent of a SFIS graduate from the 2011 class, Thank you for your time.

    henryandlu Thank you for visiting our State and making the graduates day unforgettable.

    erlindat Thank you for coming to NM and for honoring the students at Santa Fe Indian school! You are awesome!

    missyfussy Trump brings his negativity to NM and the FLOTUS brings her energy and optimism. That’s what I know today.

    jaminrenn @jadethamermaid go tell Michelle Obama that I love her

  8. eliihass says:

    kasiarayy Thank you for coming out to our home state of New Mexico. It meant a lot and your commencement speech was amazing. It was an honor for you to come. And an honor for my four cousins in the photo to dance for you.

    shiannexvaldez I am so blessed and honored to have danced for our First Lady. 💕🇺🇸

    _n_jen ❤Beautiful and very uplifting speech! Thank you @michelleobama 💯

    pastrystudio Incredible speech, so much sincerity and love shared with this wonderful community. THANK YOU.

    mrsa2theg You are the epitome of grace and class. I will miss you so much as our First Lady!

    jenniemauldin Listened to your speech online. So very heartfelt and touching. Thank you!

    stellalanell Thank you, lovely lady. We really appreciate your time in NEW MEXICO 💜

    curriepat Absolutely love that you went to support the first people’s.

    bglsmith I’m grateful that our First Lady is recognizing our Native People. It is so important.

    • eliihass says:

      Some of the comments..

      e_lissaaaThank you so much, Mrs. Obama for speaking at our graduation. It was truly an honor, and we are all blessed. 😇❤

      mizz_dee01Your are always welcome back to New Mexico!! Your speech was unbelievable and touching to everyone in the that room and watching live. Thank you for sharing your story! You are an inspirational woman, kind hearted and sweet !💙

      dana_arvisoThank you @michelleobama for honoring our Native graduates! You are hands down the BEST FLOTUS we’ve ever had. ❤️

      rodluva You are One of a kind @michelleobama

      miranda505 I love you @michelleobama #PuebloPride

      soursopbabe Thank you First Lady for Gracing this group of our people with your recognition 🙏🏼❤️😍

      original_esme Thank you for acknowledging the Native American population! They are faced with so many barriers in their life, resilience is very important. Michelle, next time make it up to White Clay NE, Pine Ridge South Dakota . It is almost a third world country, plagued by Health epidemics including alcoholism domestic violence and fetal alcohol syndrome

    • Ametia says:

      I love this PHOTO! So much joy, hope, & love in these shining faces.

      Thanks for all your post on FLOTUS’ visit to Santa Fe, showing how much her very presence and wisdom has inspired the 2016 graduates of Santa Fe Indian High School.

      • eliihass says:

        Thank you so much Ametia…

        It’s really something…

        A mostly overlooked people but so integral to our story..

        Our First Lady reached out and embraced them as family…loving and rooting for all the kids as if they were hers…And they in turn saw, recognized and felt her deep sincerity, her genuine heart, her honest and warm spirit…and embraced her right back..

        She was there simply because she cares…She could have been anywhere else…But she chose to be there…and traveled to be with them…

        Not as a campaign stop…not as a politician looking for votes…not as some martyr…

        There was no ulterior motive or dubious agenda…no exploitation…nothing transactional..

        There was nothing glamorous…and certainly no missionary complex…

        There was humility, love, caring…a shared hope for the future, an understanding of overcoming…only a great humanity…

        She’s the secret whisperer…her mission is to level and even the playing ground and make sure that those who otherwise wouldn’t know how, not only know how…but never give up..

  9. eliihass says:

    I would very much love to hear her full thoughts, her unfettered truth …unfiltered, unadulterated…unrestrained..

    Don’t know that she’ll ever fully tell…

    Don’t know that anyone will ever quite understand – what she saw, what she endured and everything she went through and had to put up with…

    What she lost…

    All she sacrificed..

    And even as she’s expected to ‘know her place’, fade to the background…suck it up ..and even pretend like it’s all heaven, that she’s grateful, and that she’s completely ok with some of the stuff – even stuff we all know that if we were in her shoes – that even in our own normal and ordinary lives – that we absolutely wouldn’t be…that we wouldn’t stand for it…that there’d be hell to pay..

    She’s not allowed to show hurt, disappointment, frustration…Or, heaven forbid fall apart…

    – And only because it would all be just too completely inconvenient..

    Sure, she presents as strong…stoic…

    But even as she smiles, her eyes tell…

    It’s become a convenient excuse and cop-out for everyone to disregard and overlook her, her needs…her hurts, her pain..

    She’s ‘strong’ – that is the familiar and dismissive retort…that all too familiar and dismissive retort that glosses over black women’s pain again and again, and allows everyone who should be responsible for her to instead shirk their responsibilities to her..

    The story of many a black woman…and the excuse used to stomp on them since the ages…

    She’s ‘strong’…and also too, it’s not about her they say..

    That ironic retort of same folks – men and women, black and white – who are falling all over themselves trying to outdo themselves in their defense of her now powerful husband – the President; intent on sheltering and protecting him..

    But she? Nah..she’s ‘strong’..


    What’s wrong with this picture…

    And then they complain that you’re hardened…that you’re not soft enough…that you don’t grin enough or play your ‘the little woman’ part well enough…but when you’re a black woman, you can’t win…

    Strong is great – but only when it is to be exploited for work, but not for love…But somehow soft isn’t great either because in black skin, soft isn’t seen as damsel in distress needing chivalry…soft is seen as you bring nothing, you want something, you’re needy…you become inconvenient.. You still lose..

    But, but, she gets to live in the White House…think about all the perks…she’s ‘lucky’..


    I do know that even as jaded as I’ve become about our politics and the many strains of politicians that fuel and encompass it, I have never before been so strongly drawn to any public personality…Sure I’d appreciate something about one or two…but I never felt drawn to them..

    There’s so much I see and hear…and I often wonder how people can’t see and hear it too…Or perhaps they do, but prefer to ignore it…She’s a black woman after all..

    I root for her; I root so hard for her…And I pray only the absolute best for her…I want her to triumph..triumph..triumph..

    Permanently and Joyously triumphant…

    I want her enemies – known and stealth – to be made her permanent footstools…even if she has no desire, interest or need for footstools..

    I want her to have the very last and longest laugh in all of this…

    And in the end, what I want most for her, is that as she’s always prayed… that long after this time has come and passed, that she and her family not only come out of this thing whole and intact…but that she, they, remain so throughout a long, healthy, wonderful, glorious, joy-filled, abundantly blessed, secure and fulfilling life..

  10. eliihass says:

    We love her..

  11. yahtzeebutterfly says:

    I just finished watching the ceremony.

    It touched me deeply… the processional with the dancers, drummers and singers… the graduates and their families and our First Lady Michelle Obama’s deeply moving address to the students. My heart rejoices that I had the opportunity to watch this event.

    Congratulations Class of 2016 Santa Fe Indian School!!!

  12. rikyrah says:

    I could not love her anymore if I tried.

    • Ametia says:

      I concur.
      And don’t think for one minute that these students will ever forget her coming to their school and honoring them with her wisdom. She in fact most certainly honors them.

  13. vitaminlover says:

    She is so pretty! I want to meet her. I know she is gracious.

    • Ametia says:

      FLOTUS most certainly gracious. I met her in 2008 at Macalister College in the Twin Cities.

      It was my dad’s birthday. I told her this when she came to where we were standing behind roped, and she said wish him a happy birthday for me. Authentic!

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