O’yu’kwee! Yurok Tribe Youth Introduces Bernie Sanders Before Crowd of Thousands in Seattle
On Sunday, an 18-year-old Yurok youth introduced presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to thousands in a rally in Seattle, Washington. Over 15,000 people converged on the arena which had to set up monitors for the overflow crowd. Charles Adkins greeted the throng with “O’yu’kwee” then told them he was a member of the Yurok tribe in California. (Watch below.)
Adkins says he has lived in “Klamath, Ferndale, and a small town called Loleta” though he was mostly raised out of the area. “My mother is a member of the Frye family, and is originally from the Yurok Reservation,” he explained. “My father is from Anaheim.”
The path to introducing Bernie Sanders to a crowd of thousands wasn’t easy. “My father joined the Army around 2004,” said Adkins. “We moved to Texas, Southern California, and then finally Washington. I attended school in Washington until 2012 when I went to Chemawa Indian School for a year. And finally I became homeless after a fight between my father and I, And I eventually ended up in a homeless shelter in Everett, WA.”
But, he now has a home and is vice president of the Washington State High School Democrats. Through that organization and his activism for the Bernie Sanders’ campaign, Adkins said that he became known to campaign staff.
Adkins, who wants to get a master’s degree in Public and Tribal Administration, asked that we be sure to say, “Bernie Sanders is the candidate for Indian Country.”
The speech below shows the notes used by Charles Adkins.
My name is Charles Adkins
I am the Vice-President of the Washington State High School Democrats
I am also an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe
I am going to tell you why I support Senator Bernie Sanders
First I am going to tell you a little about myself
I was raised around the Yurok Tribal Reservation in California
I witnessed racism and absolute poverty
And although We are often a people forgotten by most
the Native People of this country are hardy
From the terrible exploitation of our land by corporations,
to the ridiculous and useless drug war that is adversely affecting our people.
We are an afterthought;and that needs to change.
one day my father joined the army after the invasion of Iraq
Soon my home life started getting more and more hostile after every tour my father served
Eventually I became homeless
I was homeless for most of my high school career
If it wasn’t for the kindness of my community
and my friends Jacob and Seth
I would have never survivedLuckily, though, a kind and caring family took me in
While being homeless was a terrible experience
I learned extensively from those experiences
I was able to see the disastrous effects of a lack of mental health care in this country
It taught me to be grateful for what I have
My experiences from these events are the reasons why I support Bernie
Because he’s been consistent on his values
He opposed the disastrous war in Iraq
He opposed the disastrous free trade policies of the 90s
He opposes the disastrous drug war
He has been fighting for the people all of his life
He has shown he is a true man of the people
And the reason why I am on this stage is because Bernie gives us a future we can believe in
I am honoured to introduce The Next President of the United States
Senator Bernie Sanders!