First Lady Dr. Jill Biden spent about four and a half hours in Green Country, visiting the Cherokee Nation's Language Immersion School along with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
After landing at Tulsa International Airport around 2 p.m. Friday, Dr. Biden met with Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt on the tarmac for about 20 minutes.
They talked about Mrs. Stitt's initiative, Hope Rising Oklahoma, which is aimed at empowering people to better their lives through the science of hope.
“The fact that she took time to meet with me and hear about Hope Rising Oklahoma was very touching for me, and it’s very promising that I do believe we’re going to start to see a difference here in our state,” Stitt said.
A motorcade led Dr. Biden to Tahlequah, where people greeted her with signs of support.
“It's a big thing for such a small town, Tahlequah,” Cherokee County Democratic Party chair Yolette Ross.
Students performed a traditional song at the Cherokee Nation’s Language Immersion School.
Dr. Biden and Haaland, the first Native American in a cabinet role, shared their support for the preservation of native languages.
"We're going to invest in your community and in the revitalization of Native languages,” Dr. Biden said. “This is so important to us. We want you to know that President Biden and his administration are a partner to you."
Dr. Biden and Haaland toured the school and heard from teachers and students about their lesson plans.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. called it a “historic day” for the Cherokee Nation and its 400,000 citizens.
"We are marshalling the strategies and resources to succeed on this mission,” Hoskin, Jr. said. “Our language department, which is Indian Country's best, has expanded dramatically."
Tulsa mayor G.T. Bynum also talked with Dr. Biden at the airport.
In a statement from the mayor’s office, Bynum shared his experience:
“I welcomed her to Tulsa and told her it was an honor for her to visit Eastern Oklahoma. I also joked with her that it was nice to have a fellow Villanova alumnus in Oklahoma as there aren’t a lot of us around. We talked about that briefly and then she introduced me to her daughter, Ashley. She said she appreciated First Lady Stitt and me taking the time to welcome her to Oklahoma.”