CO-SALUTATORIAN ALMETA DESAUTEL
Last updated 6/20/2022 at 3:11pm
Hello Everyone, for those of you who may not know me, my name is Almeta Desautel (yes, Nate Desautel’s daughter) and I am the co salutatorian for Lake Roosevelt›s graduating class of 2022. While I sat writing this speech, wondering what I could possibly say on a day as important as this, I reflected back to the moment that inspired me to strive for this position. It was the day I heard Khani Priest give her speech as the 2018 class salutatorian directed towards the native youth on our reservation and in my hea1t I knew I wanted to do the same, so this one is for you guys.
If there is one thing that I have learned growing up on the reservation, it is that there are toxic cycles surrounding us. Whether those cycles be domestic violence, dropping out of school, drug and alcohol use/abuse, poverty, mental health and suicide, many of us have found ourselves caught in at least one of these cycles, including myself. Throughout my childhood I witnessed domestic violence and the dehumanizing acts associated with it, along with the forgiveness that followed, and the normalization I created in my young brain. I watched my loved ones fade away to substance abuse, and I’ve silently fought my own battles with depression and anxiety.
With that being said, I am here to encourage you to break these cycles that were created long before many of us were born. I know that at times it is easier to fall into these cycles because that is what you have been taught to do, and at one point I found myself doing the same. It took me removing myself from the toxic environment, for me to recognize I was accepting the lifestyle I never envisioned for myself. I had to be vulnerable and reach out to find a positive support system, and through that I realized I didn’t always have to put on a front that everything was perfect. It is okay to open up and let people help you, personally without that help I wouldn’t be standing here today as the co salutatorian, graduating with my AA, and University of Washington bound.
I want to thank my class for all the memories we’ve created together, many of you will forever hold a special place in my heart. Speaking of my support system, Lisa Carlson and Mrs. Darnold you both have helped me through more than you will ever know. To my family, friends and community thank you for believing in me, and providing unconditional love and support. Lastly,! want to thank Khani Priest for her inspirational words, as they at least touched one rez kid, and my hope is that my words will do the same.