SD Legislature slow to support Native American issues

So far this legislative session, none of the 12 bills Rep. Shawn Bordeaux (D-District 26A) introduced have won a committee’s approval. (KOTA TV)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A series of bills supported by some Native American tribes in South Dakota has struggled to gain traction in the Legislature.

Rep. Shawn Bordeaux, a Democrat from Mission, says it shows a marginalization of Native American people. So far this legislative session, none of the 12 bills he’s introduced have won a committee’s approval.

A House committee voted down a proposal that had the backing of a majority of the nine tribes in the state. It asked the Legislature to support a request to Congress to repeal the 1863 Dakota Removal Act. Also failing was a proposal to allow tribes to use fund for law enforcement costs related to pipeline construction; and allowing graduates to wear beaded graduation caps.

Several bills addressing Native American communities have gained progress in the Legislature this year; including a bill to require businesses to accept tribal IDs and Native American charter schools.

No matter the outcome, some elected tribal leaders say it is important to make their voices heard.