There’s a long road ahead regarding reconciliation between South Dakota’s government and tribes in the state.
This could play a factor in the coming election.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s C.J. Keene has more.
While attending a recent Sioux Falls rotary club meeting, South Dakota Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jamie Smith was faced with a question about reconciliation with the state’s tribes.
“We keep working towards it, but I think it’s something that’s probably never done, but the focus has to remain. The people that were first shouldn’t be treated last. So, I have a friend named Ed Iron Cloud, some of you might know Ed from Pine Ridge. He came, and he’s a real quiet man, he comes and sits in my office and kinda rocks. He said ‘Jamie, we gotta figure out how to make Native Americans be a part of the fabric of South Dakota again, instead of just being kinda over here.’”
Incumbent Republican Governor Kristi Noem has vocalized desires to improve state-tribal relations. But she has faced pushback on issues like tribal sovereignty over COVID-19 restrictions, as well as her so-called “riot boosting” act – which some tribal members saw as an effort to limit their right to protest.
Representatives from Noem’s campaign pointed to chapter eighteen of her book “Not My First Rodeo,” in which Noem says her guiding principal on tribal issues has been to quote “let me try.”
Smith described Noem’s administrative policy surrounding Native issues as “combative”.
“Covid was part of that – but I think we have to respect their sovereignty in making a different choice for their people. And when it comes to how do you work together through our issues, it can’t be us as a state going to the tribe and saying, ‘this is what you have to do.’”
Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer says reconciliation plays a part in every facet of government.
“We need to look at all things that the State of South Dakota is involved in, especially around economic development, and how to open up those doors. And I know the Governor has the GOED program around economic development, and they have influence over how that’s administered. Things like that would go a long way.”
Killer also cited healthcare and law enforcement as issues he’d be interested in collaborating with state government on.
One of the focuses is how to help tribal and nontribal cultural institutions work together as Rhonda LeValdo reports.
Full-day workshops started off the 2022 ATALM conference titled International Cultures: Stronger together.
In a presentation, representatives from federal repositories showed attendees how to search their collections online.
Historian Barbara Bair, curator with the Library of Congress, explains the importance of doing the training.
Amy Mossett is director of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara education department. She talked about finding her grandmother’s recording done by Frances Densmore in the collections.
“I was able to hear my grandmother singing a garden song, I was able to share that recording.”
The Smithsonian, National Museum of the American Indian, and National Archives also were present and welcomes more people to search their collections as they are always updating the information they have, as well as contacting them if more guidance is needed.
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