State of the Tribes addresses tribal concerns

South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.
South Dakota State Legislature at the Capitol building in Pierre, S.D.(KOTA)
Published: Jan. 16, 2020 at 10:19 PM CST
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In the annual state of the tribes address chairman Lester Thompson from the Crow Creek Sioux tribe said, “to achieve success, we must work in union” between the state and the tribes.

Some of the main points addressed included strengthening infrastructure, working together to provide safer communities, and an array of environmental concerns, as well as the importance of communication, or lack thereof.

"When state and tribes work together, increased prosperity follows, however, when relationships collapse, miscommunication, distrust, and dishonesty, lead to failures in government action," said Thompson. "It is miscommunication, or complete lack of communication that has been the largest single obstacle in furthering our relationships.

According to Thompson, in the last five years in Rapid City, approximately one third of Native American students entering high schools ended up graduating, which Thompson says is a stark contrast of the rates of non-Native students, which he said is triple.

"New educational opportunities, such as a Native American, community- inspired charter school that properly address the achievement gap by meeting the needs of the individual student in a culturally-appropriate manner is one of the many innovative solutions to addressing the growing educational crisis," said Thompson.

Following the address that called for the spirit of engagement, the first ever Great Sioux Nation Tribal Address took place, where 12 tribal leaders spoke, a common theme being the meth problem across the state. Initially, with a funding problem, Rosebud-Sioux Tribe has a meth treatment facility.

"And our funds are flowing now, and we're moving forward," said Rodney Bordeaux, President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. "We currently have a 40 bed meth treatment facility. I think we're the first tribal nation to have a meth treatment facility."

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