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Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate: Want to re-read the Self-Governance articles from recent issues of our Sota Iya Ye Yapi?

Whether or not the Tribe assumes administrative authority over your health services is a BIG DEAL. What do you know about it?

Here they are:

Self-Governance Articles from past Sotas

  Obituaries Editorials Editor's column Education
Trading post



Vol. 48 Issue No. 8

Anpetu Iyamni, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017

Inside this Edition –

1867 Treaty Days this weekend at Dakota Magic Convention Center

Special SWST General Council to consider Lake Traverse Reservation Indian Health Services

Exterior walls erected last week at Tribal grocery store site

Tribe awarded grant to help build community unity

Operation Christmas Blizzard after-event public comment period

Search underway for missing Tribal member

Next week: Highlights of Annual Ice Fishing Derby

Reminder: Deadline to submit copy for consideration in the Sota is 12:00 noon Friday

Special SWST General Council to consider Lake Traverse Reservation Indian Health Services

See this week's Section 2 for a recap of information provided by the SWO Self-Governance Working Group

A special Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribal General Council has been called for Friday, March 10th, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Sisseton Wahpeton College omniciye tipi.

Purpose of this General Council meeting is discussing possibility of the Tribe assuming partially or all of the operation of the Woodrow W. Keeble Memorial Clinic.

There will be a question and answer session.

Much of the information, and discussion, has been ongoing through public forums.

The Tribe's Self-Governance Work Group has archived information from these forums over the past several years. This material is available on the Sota website.

Presenters available for the General Council are:

*Travis J. Renville (Sisseton Dakota)

Travis is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and first attended courses at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in January, 2013 as scholarship recipient. He became an official Public Health Certificate scholar in May, 2015, and has completed 7 of the 8 courses. He will complete the Certificate in Summer of 2017. Travis will continue his studies at Hopkins pursuing a Master of Health Economics under the American Indian scholarship program. Travis is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in social sciences, and has completed his Masters of Business Administration from New Mexico Highlands University in the summer of 2014. Travis is also completing his Project Management Professional credential in early 2017.

Travis has consulted many tribes on economic develop-ment, real estate development, feasibility studies, technology implementation, business development, finance, portfolio management, health care related development, and tribal policy development.

Travis is visionary, strategic, and passionate in his work to impact health inequities and improve healthcare service and delivery to Native Americans.

*Myra Munson (Member of the SWO Self-Governance Work Group)

Myra M. Munson, J.D., M.S.W. was a partner in the Law Firm of Sonosky, Chambers, Sachse, Miller & Munson LLP from 1990 until the end 2016.

She worked with other tribal advocates to draft and implement the permanent IHS self-governance program and amending provisions of the self-determination contracting process that were used by IHS to restrict and control the program activities of the IHS.

Ms. Munson also served as a member of the National Indian Health Board Medicare and Medicaid Policy Committee (MMPC) from its inception and worked with tribal leadership to establish the Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to which she served as a technical advisor until her retirement from full-time practice at the end of 2016.

Ms. Munson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1972 and her Juris Doctor and Masters in Social Work (both with honors) from the University of Denver in 1980.

SWST awarded grant to build unity in community

Building unity through cultural exchange, discussions

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe has received notice of an award from the SD Humanities Council, funding "A Tale of Two Cities: Race and Civility" project.

Goals are:

1. To provide an opportunity for questions and discussions in a safe environment regarding the racial issues that divide our community.

2. To provide an opportunity to learn the diverse heritage, traditions, and history relevant to our community.

3. To build a positive relationship between Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and Sisseton citizens based on increased understanding, education, and communication.

This Program will assist the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and the community of Sisseton to grow through community discussions, discussions within the Sisseton Public Schools, and field trips around the Lake Traverse Reservation.

Waterlily and other historically accurate texts will be used to engage community members in the culture, history, and traditions of the Sisseton and Wahpeton people.

Sharing of the Sisseton-Wahpeton heritage as well as the heritage of non-Native Sisseton citizens will create better understanding of the rich history of our community and bring Native and non-Native citizens together with a better understanding and respect for each other.

Humanities Scholar, Ella Robertson, will facilitate this project and will be seeking collaboration from Sisseton Public Schools, Sisseton Arts Council, Aliive Roberts County, Sisseton Public Library, and ministerial organizations.

(Editor's note: Watch for more information as the project gets underway. All community members are encouraged to take part in activities provided by the project.)

Grass dancers called to planning meeting for Treaty Day celebration

SWST Chairman Dave Flute has called a meeting of all grass dancers to help plan the dance to be held at the opening of the Treaty Day celebration this weekend.

All grass dancers, young and old, are invited to attend a meeting at Dakota Connection this Tuesday, February 21st, at 5:30 p.m.

Search underway for missing Tribal member

Jim Pearson, SWST Emergency Management director, has announced a search party is being organized this week to search for a missing Tribal member, John Thompson, who is also known as "Johnny T."

Johnny's last known location was Sica Hollow and surrounding areas sometime after December 28th. This was during the ice storm.

Anyone willing to volunteer to assist in the search is invited to a meeting to plan for the search.

EMS is holding the meeting this Tuesday, February 21st, at 9:00 a.m. at the Sisseton Wahpeton College omniciye tipi (auditorium).

The search will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd, beginning at 9:00 a.m.

Everyone, whether joining the search team or not, is asked to "look on your property or nearby barns, sheds, abandoned houses, etc."

And "if you already have, please … look again."

Tribal employees will be granted admin leave to participate in the search, pending workload approval from their managers.

For more information, please contact SWST EMS at 605-742-0147.

Also, see the "missing poster" concerning Markus David Evans, 50, of Waubay, SD.

Markus has been missing since December 2, 2016 after leaving a residence in Ortley, SD.

Authorities believe he was returning to Enemy Swim Housing possibly in an unidentified vehicle.

If anyone has information concerning the whereabouts of either John Thompson, or Markus Evans, please contact Tribal Law Enforcement at 605-698-7661 or the Roberts County Sheriff's office at 605-698-7667.

Operation Christmas Blizzard after-event comments sought

The Tribe held an Operation Christmas Blizzard after-event review on February 9th.

At the meeting, held in the training room at Tribal headquarters, it was decided to open a two-week period to allow interested community members to submit comments.

Anyone may submit comments about what worked, what did not, and what could be done better during a future Reservation-wide disaster.

Deadline to submit comments is close of the work day this Friday, February 24, 2017.

To submit a comment, please contact SWST Emergency Management Services, Jim Pearson at (605) 742-0919; or email JimP@SWO-NSN.GOV.

Judicial forum on parenting, child support, business license codes

The SWST Judicial Committee is hosting a public forum next Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, to cover several proposed codes.

On the agenda are:

*Chapter 34 A- Uniform Parentage Act

*Chapter 34 C- Child Support Act

*Chapter 53- Business License Ordinance

The forum will be held from 5-7 p.m. in room 108B (Enrollment/Training room).

The purpose is to get community comments on the proposed codes.

Copies of the codes and/or changes are available at the District Centers and at the Judicial Committee office located in the Legal Department at the Tribal Administration Building.

Beverages and snacks will be provided to all in attendance.

Bryan Akipa receives "Living Indian Treasure Award"

The 2017 Governor's Awards in the Arts were presented last Wednesday, Feb. 15th, at Ramkota Hotel, Pierre, SD.

SD Governor Dennis Daugaard presided at the event, in which Bryan Akipa was recipient of the 2017 "Living Indian Treasure Award."

Bryan performed for event.

He was also presented with a star quilt from Sinte Gleska University.

More About the Living Indian Treasure Award


Recently honored with the National Heritage Fellowship, our nation's highest award for folk and traditional arts, Bryan Akipa is a local, national and international cultural treasure. A member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux tribe, Akipa's artistry includes music, dance, visual art, storytelling and graphic design.

An award-winning traditional Native American flute player and creator of his own red cedar flutes, Akipa is a self-taught craftsman who recognizes his elders, relatives and friends for sharing their knowledge. An educator and life-long learner, Akipa studied under Oscar Howe at USD in the early 1970s and more recently at the Santa Fe School of Art and Design. Akipa's "Dakota Horse Staff" was included in the Song for the Horse Nation exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Akipa's work is a cultural bridge linking past, present and future indigenous art. He is a culture-keeper of the Dakota flute song and the art of flute carving passed down from generation to generation, preserving traditions outlawed through much of the 20th century. In addition, Akipa is keenly aware of his responsibility to leave a legacy to future generations. As an educator, he mentors young Native artists in flute making on his own and through the South Dakota Arts Council's Traditional Arts Apprenticeship program. He eagerly takes his flute and his music into South Dakota classrooms to share his story and his culture with children.

Bryan Akipa values the artistic and cultural traditions of our First Peoples and exemplifies the spirit of that heritage with real accomplishments in diverse art forms illuminating Native culture, history and modern life. He truly is a Living Indian Treasure.

"From the desk of Geri Opsal, Tribal Veteran Service Officer"

Phone 605-698-3388

*UVA Meeting for the month of February is scheduled this Wednesday, February 22, 2017. It will be held at the TVSO Office at 1700HRS sharp!!! Please mark your calendars.

*Treaty Day Weekend February 24-25-26, 2017 held at DMC. Veterans please wear your uniforms, you'll be easy to recognize to assist with any tasks necessary. Pidmaya.

*VACompensation:WHO-IS-ELIGIBLE? Go to this VA site and you will get loads of information. T

*CEMETERY UPDATE: Brick is coming along on the entrance gate walls as well as the committal shelter. Things will be moving very fast the next two months. Gabe Fisher, Asst/Driver will be attending cemetery administrator training in the near future as we have to ensure everything goes according to federal regulations like all National Cemeteries. We are very excited for this to come to fruition after all these years. *CODE TALKER MEMORIAL: To be located in Pierre on the Capitol grounds along with all the other memorials. Please see the letter accompanying this column in the Sota.

*FAMILIES: of Veterans no matter what ERA from WWI, WWII, Korean, Vietnam Veteran, Gulf on to present the ones that are currently on active duty please contact our office as we want to make sure each and every one of our TRIBAL MEMBERS have an existing file in our office. I know sometimes we have had calls and we didn't have any information on your loved ones and we need your assistance to help us continue to build up our files in the office. We honor each of our Veterans and with your help some day we will have complete files!!! And unless you call and check to see if you're on the roster when we file for medals or badges for difference campaigns we will not know if you're loved ones or yourself are on the list. Women Veterans: Please contact me to update your information and status. I need to find out what services are lacking for our Women Veteran population and would like to take the opportunity to talk with you. Please contact me at 698-3388. Also check out this site dedicated to serving women veterans. The web address is: Take the time to check this out there are many empowering stories to read.

*VETERANS: PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE IF YOU NEED ASSITANCE; WE ARE HERE TO SERVE! We are asking that you get your appointment slips turned in as soon as you get your slip - do not wait the day before or 2 days before. We have other avenues that we can utilize and if we have at least 4-5 days in advance that will give us plenty of time. Thank you.

*WOMEN VETERANS CALL CENTER: 1-855-VA-WOMEN. Crisis Help Line: 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential.

Woodrow W. Keeble Memorial American Legion Post 314 - Delano Renville, Commander Cell # 268-0354; Vietnam Veterans Kit Fox Society - Doc Wanna, Commander Phone # 698-3299; Desert Era Veterans - Justin Chanku, 268-0977 Commander Cell# 467-9714; for GAS ASSISTANCE Geri Opsal 698-3388.

Have a great and safe week.

Geri Opsal, TVSO.

Code Talker Memorial Planning Committee

February 17, 2017

During World Wars I and II, thousands of South Dakotans served their country with honor and distinction. These dedicated souls endured untold hardships and sacrifices to the benefit of their communities then, and present day. Among these soldiers were a select few who served in a unique capacity, hidden from public knowledge but cemented in history for their contributions.

Native American Code Talkers, members of the nine tribal nations that share South Dakota's borders, used their language to communicate with one another across continents. These languages, forcefully and systematically suppressed by the United States federal government, became the means of deliverance from forces who sought that same government's demise. Over one hundred Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Code Talkers joined speakers from other tribal nations to communicate veiled instructions and commands in a way that was never broken by enemy forces and contributed to the preservation of life and liberty for present and future generations.

This history has now emerged from the shadows, and it is time for a grateful State to recognize these contributions. The Code Talker Memorial Planning Committee [Org ID #NS049785] was created with the expressed goal of planning, creating, and dedicating a Memorial that honors the unique sacrifice and service of Native American Code Talkers who were enrolled members of the tribal nations that share South Dakota's borders. The Committee is comprised of tribal veteran service officers and tribal representatives from the Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Oglala, Rosebud, Standing Rock, Yankton Sioux Tribes and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate - all of whom share their borders with the State of South Dakota. Working in collaboration with the SD Departments of Tribal Relations and Veterans Affairs, the Committee had sought to plan and raise awareness of the role that Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Code Talkers served in changing the course of history.

The Committee has selected an artist for a memorial that will be constructed two bronze figures at Capitol Lake in Pierre, South Dakota. These bronze figures will join a granite South Dakota, which will highlight the tribal nations from whence the Code Talkers - and their languages - originated. The granite for this memorial has been graciously donated by the owners of Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Committee would like to invite you to be a partner in bringing this memorial to fruition and recognizing the unique and history-altering service of Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Tribal Code Talkers. The Committee has partnered with the South Dakota Community Foundation in creating the Code Talker Memorial Fund. We are asking for a contribution to support this effort, your tax deductible contribution can be directed to the South Dakota Community Foundation (Attn: Code Talker Memorial Fund, 1714 North Lincoln, Pierre, SD 57501).

If you would like to know more about this effort, or speak to one of our Committee members, I invite you to contact any of the committee members. The Code Talker Memorial Planning Committee looks forward to working with you as we seek to honor and preserve this rich history that continues to inspire us. W need to raise $ 550,000.00 this would cover the monument as well as the grand opening expenses in which we invite you to attend.

Wopida Pidamaya, (Many Thanks).

Geri Opsal, Tribal Veteran Service Officer.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe Code Talker Memorial Planning Committee.

(Members of the committee besides myself are: Robert Dunsmore, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe TVSO 1-605-964-3050; Orlando Morrison, Rosebud Sioux Tribe TVSO 1-605-828-0025 & Minaja Hill, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe TVSO 1-701-854-8527).

Standing Rock Chairman calls protests an 'Awakening' at Cornell

By Matthew Ormseth

Cornell Daily Sun – Feb. 19, 2017 – David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe caught in the crosshairs of a $3.7 billion oil development, pledged Thursday to fight President Trump on the Dakota Access pipeline just two weeks after the Army Corps green-lighted the project's completion.

The Standing Rock Sioux's fight against the pipeline began in 2014, when Energy Transfer Partners announced plans to build a 1,172 mile pipeline that would pump 470,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois, according to an Energy Transfer press release. The conduit would run beneath a lake on the border of the Standing Rock Sioux's tribal lands and cut through land the Sioux believe was taken from them unlawfully, Archambault said.

Tribal leaders objected to the pipeline for two reasons, Archambault said. For one, it would damage lands considered sacred by the Sioux, including burial sites. And secondly, a burst or leak where the pipeline crosses the Missouri River would be catastrophic to the surrounding environment.

Leaderboard 1 Water holds a special significance for the Sioux, Archambault said, and an oil spill in the Missouri, which spans the length of their reservation's eastern border, would be more than just an environmental disaster.

"Water is part of our ceremonies. It's a source of life," he said. "We don't want oil in our water."

In 2016, despite protests from tribal leaders and environmental activists, the Standing Rock Sioux received a notice that construction was slated to begin.

Leaderboard 2 "All of our efforts fell to the wayside," Archambault said.

Archambault and other tribal leaders filed a request for an injunction in federal court to halt the pipeline's construction, arguing it would destroy sacred sites and threaten their drinking water.

"We knew our chances were not good. Throughout history, federal courts have never sided with tribes," he said. "The deck was stacked against us."

U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg ruled against the injunction, saying the Standing Rock people had been given adequate warning by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which issued the permit for the pipeline.

That same day, however, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior and the Army announced they would halt construction until they had conducted a more thorough examination of the pipeline's legality.

"This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes' views on these types of infrastructure projects," the joint statement of the DOJ, DOI and Army read.

People from across the country flocked to the Standing Rock reservation throughout the latter half of 2016, braving North Dakota's snowstorms and freezing temperatures in the waning months of the year to protest the pipeline. Archambault estimated the protesters numbered around 10,000 at the movement's peak.

President Donald Trump ordered an expedited review of the Dakota pipeline on his fourth day in office. Two weeks later, Robert Speer, acting secretary of the Army, gave Energy Transfer Partners the go-ahead to finish the pipeline, according to the New York Times.

Archambault was en route to a meeting with a White House aide when he heard the news.

After Speer's order, the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux sued — again — to stay construction. But the same judge who four months earlier denied their request for an injunction ruled against them a second time. On Monday, Judge Boasberg refused to halt work on the pipeline, which could be operational in as few as 30 days, saying the pipeline currently poses no threat to the tribes' well-being.

Archambault said the tribes are now appealing on the basis of treaty rights, which guarantee them access to hunting, fishing and water within their lands.

The courts represent the tribes' last hope, as governmental leaders mostly support the pipeline.

North Dakota Governor Doug Bernum praised the pipeline's approval.

"This is a key step toward the completion of this important infrastructure project, which has faced months of politically driven delays and will allow for safe transport of North Dakota product to market," he told The New York Times.

President Trump's support of the Dakota Access pipeline came under scrutiny when it was revealed he had owned stock in the project's owners. A 2015 disclosure showed him owning a share in Energy Transfer Partners estimated between $500,000 and $1 million. When he sold the holdings in the summer of 2016 their value had fallen below $50,000, according to his spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

Big oil has seeped into Congress, Archambault said, and he expects its influence to do nothing but grow in a Trump White House.

"You know why this has petroleum in it?" he asked, holding up a water bottle. "Have you heard of the Koch brothers? They own Congress."

The camp of demonstrators at Standing Rock has now dwindled to about 200 people, and Archambault has encouraged protesters to pack up and go home. The ice has dammed the river, he said, which could break free and sweep through the camp at any moment.

Archambault said some members of his tribe have misinterpreted his concern for safety as selling out to the oil companies. Some have even accused him of taking payoffs.

"I was put in a hard position," he said. "Because my priority has always been the safety of the people."

His decision-making has led him to reflect on deals struck by past tribal leaders, who he once scorned for selling out to federal agents, parceling away tribal lands treaty by treaty, piece by piece.

Now he realizes that "[they] had to sign, or [they] had to starve."

"Those leaders back then — they were thinking about me," he said. "And I'm here because of them."

A Trump presidency threatens indigenous people and the future of his tribe in more ways than one, Archambault said, and he envisions four years of fighting the administration at every turn.

"With this new president coming in, everything is going to be attacked — our economies, our healthcare, our education. It's a real threat, and we have to stand up and go beyond this pipeline," he said.

The Standing Rock Sioux will lead a march on Washington D.C. on March 10, and Archambault called for activists to organize similar demonstrations in their home cities.

"This movement — it's an awakening," he said. "It's time now. It's time to do something, and sit back no longer."

About the Author

Matt Ormseth is a member of the Class of 2017 in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a staff writer for the news department and can be reached at

Critical motion charges Trump administration circumvents law, ignores treaty rights

Washington, DC - SRST - Feb. 14, 2017 - The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe today filed a major legal brief challenging the Trump Administration's hasty approval of the controversial Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, a project in which the President and his associates have had close financial ties. The Tribe's summary judgment asks the Court to overturn recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits of the pipeline issued without environmental review or consideration of treaty rights.

The Tribe seeks resolution of these claims on an expedited schedule that would have the issues resolved before the pipeline can go into operation. "President Trump claims he has not received 'a single phone call' opposing this widely criticized project." said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. "Maybe he should turn the White House phones back on, because millions of people have raised their voices against this dangerous project."

On Feb. 8, the Trump Administration granted an easement allowing the pipeline to be constructed under the Missouri River half a mile upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. It reverses an earlier decision by the Corps to withhold the easement while the agency completed an environmental review of alternate pipeline routes and the Tribe's treaty rights. The environmental review, referred to as an environmental impact statement, has been wrongfully terminated mid-process. The lawsuit challenges the Corps' hasty and unexplained departure from its previous decision, and explains how the Corps ignored the Tribe's treaty rights and seeks to destroy culturally significant and sacred sites. It also explains how the Corps violated federal statutes requiring close environmental analysis of significant and controversial agency actions.

"In this arbitrary and capricious reversal of course, the Trump Administration is circumventing the law: wholly disregarding the treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux and ignoring the legally required environmental review. It isn't the 1800s anymore – the U.S. government must keep its promises to the Standing Rock Sioux and reject rather than embrace dangerous projects that undercut Treaties," said Jan Hasselman, the Earthjustice attorney who is representing the Tribe in its challenges against the pipeline.

UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples visiting US

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, is conducting an official country visit to the United States of America from February 22 to March 3, 2017.

As part of this visit, the Special Rapporteur will attend a series of regional consultations to examine the situation of Indigenous Peoples in the United States as it relates to energy development.

The dates of these consultations and their host institutions are as follows:

*Navajo Nation - Window Rock, AZ (February 24, 2017, 10am-4pm)

*University of New Mexico - Albuquerque, NM (February 25, 2017, 8:30am-3pm)

*Virtual National Indigenous Consultation - University of Colorado, online (February 26, 2017, 1-2:45pm)

*Standing Rock Sioux Tribe - Fort Yates, ND (2/27/2017)

*Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations - Fort Berthold, ND (February 28, 2017, 9:30am-12pm)

*United Tribes Technical College - Bismarck, ND (March 1, 2017)

*Meeting with civil society organizations and tribes in DC area, hosted by National Congress of American Indians - Washington, DC (March 2, 2017 - time TBC)

Additional information for each event, including a full agenda and directions to the venue, will be provided to participants and posted on the website: For questions, please email

Funds for Fargo flood protection infrastructure

Washington, DC – Feb. 17, 2017 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced $1,213,213 in federal funding to make improvements that will protect Fargo's waste water treatment infrastructure from potential flood damage.

"While North Dakota is still in the middle of our winter season, folks have already begun to assess the risk of flooding and make sure our communities are prepared to handle any potential situation based on facts on the ground," said Heitkamp. "The Red River Valley is particularly prone to flooding which is why I have pushed to make sure resources are in place to protect communities as well as to make sure the federal government continues to live up to its responsibilities to recover from past flooding. The federal funding announced today will help Fargo make improvements to their sewer infrastructure that will help to lower damage to it and the community should a flood occur."

This federal funding is made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). This program is designed to help communities mitigate damage to infrastructure and property should an emergency occur, like the risk of flooding in the Red River Valley.

Heitkamp has been working to make sure the federal government lives up to its responsibilities of assisting North Dakota in recovery from past flooding and helping protect communities throughout North Dakota from future potential flood damage. In July 2016, Heitkamp joined officials in Fargo for the signing of an agreement to initiate construction for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion.

Backs thorough, bipartisan investigation of Russian interference

Washington, DC – Feb. 15, 2017 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today joined senators on both sides of the aisle in backing robust, bipartisan investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. democratic process—through congressional committees and law enforcement probes.

Heitkamp also called on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to follow U.S. Department of Justice guidance and recuse himself from the law enforcement investigation into Russian influence and interference.

"When American intelligence officials find evidence of Russia undermining our security and meddling in our democratic process, we should all be concerned—and we shouldn't let politics get in the way of thorough, independent, and transparent investigations," said Heitkamp. "The attorney general must also recuse himself from the law enforcement investigation into this matter. He's a lawyer, and he knows the plain language and meaning of the rules dictate that he must recuse himself. We'll soon find out if he's a lawyer for the people, or a lawyer for the president.

"Russia is an adversary that we need to take seriously and hold accountable through independent investigations. These investigations are about defending ourselves from cyberattacks that our intelligence officials have traced back to Russia, and about making sure we stop any nation that seeks to nefariously influence or interfere in our government. After the congressional committees do their investigations, if it is determined more issues need to be looked into, then our legislation supporting an independent commission could be a next step. The American people deserve answers so they can judge Russia's interference for themselves, and thorough investigations are the best way to get those answers."

Both Republican and Democratic senators alike have recognized the need to look into Russia's influence in our electoral process through Congressional oversight.

This month, Heitkamp joined 18 other senators in calling for a temporary select commission to investigate official and unofficial Russian interference in U.S. national security and the electoral process—pressure that helped lead to an investigation the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence will be undertaking. Other Senate committees may also conduct investigations into the issue.

Because so many U.S. Senate committees have jurisdiction over the issue—including Intelligence, Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs—the temporary select commission Heitkamp supports could help provide a comprehensive review to guarantee U.S. security.

Fighting veteran homelessness in Indian country

Washington, DC – Feb. 15, 2017 – U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, and Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, are calling on VA Secretary David Shulkin to prioritize helping Native American veterans obtain access to critical housing resources.

Native Americans serve in the military at a higher rate than any other group. However, they are also at greater risk of homelessness than their veteran peers.

In a letter to Secretary Shulkin, the Senators note that tribes have reached out to them with concerns regarding an initiative aimed at reducing homelessness among Native American veterans called Tribal HUD-VASH. The Senators raised concerns about the VA's lack of assistance in providing timely support services and case management.

"Tribal HUD-VASH grants are intended to provide rental assistance, case management, and clinical and supportive services for Native American veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness," the Senators wrote. "We are concerned the current level of support from VA is not allowing for the timely implementation of the program or achieving the goal of reducing Native American homelessness in tribal communities."

The Tribal HUD-VASH program provides substance abuse treatment, mental health care, job training, and other housing assistance. According to VA policy, participants should be provided with a case manager who serves as a direct link between VA support services and the Native American veteran recipients.

However, the VA's lack of focus on this program has led to poor service for Native veterans and the recent federal hiring freeze will likely compound the problem.

Through the Tribal HUD-VASH program, 26 grants were awarded to different Indian tribes.

The Senators requested that the VA provide information regarding how the grants are working at each of the 26 areas and any possible barriers to providing the resources to the tribes so they can carry out their housing plans.

Tester spearheaded legislation to make HUD-VASH funds available to Native Americans living on tribal lands. Tester later introduced bipartisan legislation to make the HUD-VASH program permanent.

In addition to cosponsoring the legislation led by Tester, Udall has fought as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee to increase funding for veterans programs on tribal land, including Tribal HUD-VASH.

Bill to strengthen military families' right to self-protection

Washington, DC – Feb. 15, 2017 – U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) today reintroduced legislation to allow military spouses to purchase handguns in the state where their husband or wife is permanently stationed for duty, or in a neighboring state if the military spouse commutes across state borders to their duty installation. Companion legislation to the Protect Our Military Families' 2nd Amendment Rights Act was introduced last month by Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) in the House of Representatives.

"Our military personnel and their families make incredible sacrifices to keep our country safe; allowing them to keep their families safe is the least we can do," said Rounds. "Our legislation makes certain that the Second Amendment rights of military spouses are protected when they are stationed away from home."

"Our military families shouldn't have to compromise their Second Amendment rights when their loved ones answer the call to serve," said Thune. "They undertake significant burdens, like manning the home front during deployments, taking new jobs, frequent moves, and placing kids in new schools, but personal safety and security should never be among the sacrifices made by those who protect our rights and freedoms. The least we can do for our military families is to provide them with the opportunity for the protection they deserve."

Current law restricts citizens from legally purchasing a handgun in any state other than the one in which they reside. An exception to this law was made for active duty service members who are on permanent duty station orders, so that they can be considered a resident of the state in which they are assigned. The Protect Our Military Families' 2nd Amendment Rights Act extends that exemption to their spouses as well. Additional cosponsors include Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla).

Tribal consultation updating Indian trader license regs

Washington, DC – Feb. 15, 2017 – Acting Assistant Secretary- Indian Affairs Michael S. Black announced today that the Department of the Interior has scheduled a series of tribal consultation sessions beginning February 23, 2017, on updating the Licensed Indian Trader regulations at 25 C.F.R. Part 140. The Department is taking this action in an effort to modernize implementation of the Indian Trader statutes consistent with federal policies of tribal self-determination and self-governance.

"The Interior Department's Indian Trader regulations need updating to reflect the present day realities of commerce and business development on tribal lands," Black said. "I strongly encourage tribal government and business leaders to give us their feedback on ways in which these regulations can be improved to better reflect their business environments and the Nation-to-Nation relationship."

The Department is asking for public comments on whether and how it should update the regulations, including how they might be updated to govern who trades on Indian lands and how they can better promote tribal self-determination regarding trade on Indian lands. The regulations were first published in 1957, revised in 1965, and modified in 1984.

On December 9, 2016, the Department published in the Federal Register an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) stating that it is considering whether to propose an administrative rule that would comprehensively update the Indian Trader regulations. The Department is seeking comments on questions that were listed in the December 9 notice.

On February 8, 2017, the Department published in the Federal Register a notice with complete information on the dates, times and locations for the eight tribal consultation sessions to be held.

The Department is seeking comments from tribes, states and their agencies, and the public. Comments must be submitted on or before April 10, 2017.

Paid Family & Medical Leave bill reintroduced in Senate

Washington, DC – Feb. 8, 2017 – During the 24th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), landmark legislation guaranteeing job-protected unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) today helped reintroduce a commonsense bill to build on that policy by providing working families with the paid flexibility to care for their loved ones, while boosting the ability of small businesses to support and retain employees.

Heitkamp is dedicated to making sure both small businesses and working families can stay healthy and continue to grow. But in North Dakota, less than 35 percent of working adults are eligible for and can afford unpaid leave, and almost 46 percent of the state's private-sector workforce cannot earn a single paid sick day. Those challenges can force hardworking families to choose between caring for their loved ones or their jobs – an impossible choice that often causes businesses to lose dedicated employees as well as money – in fact, businesses spend a nationwide average of one-fifth of an employee's annual salary on replacing workers.

By making sure all Americans have access to paid leave – including for child birth and adoption, or to care for an elderly or ailing family member – Heitkamp is working to make sure North Dakotans have the support they need to take care of their families without losing their jobs. And in North Dakota, where 61,100 North Dakotans are currently caregivers to ailing or elderly family members, and 74 percent of North Dakota children live in households where both of their parents work – the need for paid family leave is apparent. The bill also levels the playing field for businesses large and small so they have the resources to provide flexibility to retain good, hardworking employees without forcing businesses into the red. The bill would help prevent difficult situations for families and businesses across the country, where men and women will lose $284,000 or $324,000 respectively, over their lifetimes because of the lack of paid leave policies in their workplaces.

"Working families are the backbone of North Dakota communities and our state's economy – and they shouldn't face the impossible choice of keeping a job which pays the rent and caring for their loved ones. We can do better – and that's what this legislation is all about," said Heitkamp. "Making sure both families and small businesses have the certainty they need to fully dedicate themselves to their work and their families isn't just a core North Dakota value, it's just good commonsense – both for hardworking employees and for businesses' bottom lines. Life happens. Families welcome newborn children, parents and loved ones fall ill and need care – and businesses need to keep running. That's the reality our bill recognizes."

Heitkamp has long championed fairer, workable solutions that recognize the need for work-life balance, including by supporting the reauthorization of FMLA in the U.S. Senate. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act – first introduced by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) last Congress and supported by Heitkamp – would seek to strengthen those provisions by making sure working families have up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take leave for their own serious health condition, including pregnancy and childbirth recovery, the serious health condition of a child, parent, spouse, and the birth or adoption of a child. Funded through small employee and employer earned benefit of less than 0.2 percent of wages each, or about $1.50 per week for a typical worker – about the cost of a weekly cup of coffee. This legislation would create a self-sufficient program that would provide working families the flexibility they need without adding to the federal budget.

Last April, Heitkamp and Gillibrand highlighted the need for proactive, workable family paid leave policies both for working families and successful businesses during visits with local leaders, advocates, and working families in Jamestown, as well as Zandbroz in Fargo, a small family-owned business, where they spoke about the light of many small businesses that cannot afford to offer paid leave, and too often risk losing good employees when they need to care for a newborn or a family member.

Currently, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave. The other countries that do not offer it are Swaziland, Lesotho, and Papua, New Guinea.

2017 SD Legislative repots

Senator Jason Frerichs

Week 5

We have reached the halfway point in the 2017 South Dakota Legislative Session. Campaign finance, lobbying restrictions, and an independent ethics commission are our focus as we work to restore the voters intent with initiated measure 22 (IM22). I stood strongly against repealing IM22 in the form of HB1069. The discussion on repealing IM22 allowed all of us as legislators to debate the topic heavily but we have remained civil and will work together to honor the will of the voters. I will not support any legislation that creates additional hurdles for rank and file citizens to participate in the initiative, referendum, or constitutional amendment process.

Recently the Governor signed into law the package of State retirement system legislation that will ensure all of those participating will receive their benefits. I appreciate the efforts by the leadership of the retirement system and state investment council for their work to have a 5 year phase in period. This is important with the recent increases to teacher pay and to give certainty to those who plan to retire soon.

I continue to work with my colleagues in the Legislature to find an equitable solution to fund the Animal Disease Research Diagnostic Laboratory in Brookings. I am not in favor of increase feed fees at 50 cents a ton or the veterinary inspection fees slated for 30 cents per animal in SB 172 that the Governor has introduced. I have worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft SB 162 which will utilize existing state resources to make a sizable down payment on the renovation of the laboratory along with bonding that can be paid through our state general fund. Last year the machinery excise tax was increased and that is a perfect funding mechanism to pay for the bonding with the ADRDL. Raising fees solely on livestock would not be fair because wildlife, companion animals, and livestock all benefit along with our entire State when we can have a high quality research facility.

There were a lot of bills that came through the Senate Transportation Committee this week. Senate Bill 118 would allow for the Dignity sculpture near Chamberlain to be depicted on a specialty license plate. She is the only state owned landmark, and her message of inclusion, understand, respect, and dignity gives us virtues to strive for in South Dakota. I want to thank my good friend, Senator Troy Heinert from Rosebud who is the prime sponsor of SB 118 and has worked closely with Dignity sculptor Dale Lamphere.

Senate Bill 154 passed out of Transportation Committee as well this week. I introduced this bill so the Department of Transportation would have to utilize native plants as landscape on any new or remodeled rest areas if it would be practical to do so. Since native plants are the most equipped to handle our varied climate, I thought it would be the most cost effective and efficient way to landscape our rest areas along the interstate while providing habitat for pollinators.

House Bill 1030 came through the Transportation Committee this week and it would allow farm equipment up to 18 feet wide to use state highways after dark. Currently, over width farm machinery is not allowed on state highways after dark and doing so can result in a fine. Since there is less traffic at night to impede the moving of large farm equipment and some parcels of land can only be accessed by state highways. I thought this was important bill, but unfortunately it did not pass out of committee.

It is my pleasure to represent northeast South Dakota in our State Capitol. Thank you for contacting me on issues that are important to you. Please feel free to continue to reach out to me with your opinions. My phone number is (605) 949-2204 and email is

Week 6

Serving in the Legislature is rewarding each day because I am fortunate to have a seat at the table in developing policy for our state. The latest news from Pierre is that our incoming revenues are down significantly based on sales tax collections over the last six months. We are all realistic of the fact that times are tough in the agriculture economy which has a direct impact on money available to drive our economy. I am hopeful that we will be able to maintain the modest increase of 1% for K-12 education funding and do whatever is possible to increase the wages for our frontline healthcare workers in nursing homes and community support facilities.

This year I have focused on issues such as water management, expanding scholarship eligibility, and saving resources by utilizing native plants on state property. I reluctantly asked my fellow members of the Senate Transportation committee to table SB 119. This bill would have provided $2 million to replace small bridges with large culverts that are located on our township and some county roads. This is a serious problem that was not addressed with the passage of the road funding package two years ago. Unfortunately, the process to designate some state road/bridge funding to assist local governments is difficult, and we will need to work on this after session to find solutions. I am committed to identifying more state funding to assist local governments to replace bridges of all sizes.

I brought SB 127 this year dealing with adverse possession and land surveying issues. Out of respect for the process, I asked for the bill to be tabled so that we can work on the issue after legislative session. The State Bar Association of lawyers has some ideas along with the Governor's office on how we can still respect current fencing law as well as the 20 year adverse possession practice. This issue is becoming more relevant with the cleanup of old fence lines and more land selling or changing hands. I look forward to working with the Bar Association, agriculture groups, and any landowners interested so that we can give some direction to issues where adjoining landowners are paying taxes on land but may or may not be operating that land.

The cost of a college education is a real issue and should be a focus of our state budgeting process in the near future. Studies from 2014 show that in South Dakota it requires 25% of the income for families with a median income in our state to help support a college student. I brought forth SB 132 to revise the requirements of the opportunity scholarship program. SB 132 would have lowered the ACT minimum from a 24 to a 22 provided the student would plan to reside in South Dakota for three years after college/tech school graduation. I also partnered on HB 1171 which would have appropriated $2.5 million for our needs-based scholarship program. Due to the low revenue projections, the need-based scholarship wasn't able to survive the appropriations committee at this point.

Replacement government accountability, campaign finance reform, and ethics legislation continue to be worked on during the remaining weeks of the 2017 Legislature. I have also been deeply involved in the discussions to fund the upgrading of the Animal Disease Research Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University.

It is my pleasure to represent northeast South Dakota in our State Capitol. Thank you for contacting me on issues that are important to you. Please feel free to continue to reach out to me with your opinions. My phone number is (605) 949-2204 and email is

Representative Steven McCleerey

Week 5

Week five of the 92nd Legislative session has come and gone quickly. It is hard to believe that we are already halfway over with the session. We have been very busy with multiple bills coming through committees and being debated on the floor.

The Health and Human Services committee has had a full week. We debated SB 61, which would remove barriers to the private practice of nurse practitioners and midwives, and create more health care providers for our state. This bill would allow for nurse practitioners to have their own practice, which would allow for more facilities, especially in rural areas. This bill was extensively debated, and ended up passing out of committee and will move on to the House floor for further debate and action.

In Commerce and Energy, we have had quite a few bills come before the committee. We passed HB 1045, a bill that would modernize the methods that an insurance agency can receive credit on their books for reinsurance, to the House floor. I will be interested to hear the debate on the bill, and see what further action is taken. We also discussed HB 1060, which would standardize the process for insurers' risk and solvency assessments, and we passed that to the House floor as well.

One of the bills that I sponsored, HB 1168, passed out of the House Ag and Natural Resources committee. This bill would change the time period for waterfowl licenses from one 10-day period, to two 5-day periods. The numbers of in-state licenses has been on a steady decline, and by making the licenses more accessible to out of state residents; it would increase the revenue for our state. I look forward to the debate and I am hoping we can get it passed through the House floor and sent over to the Senate.

Representative Soli, a legislator from district 15, is bringing forward HB 1176. This bill will create a board of ethics that will provide oversight to the executive branch. The board will consist of members who are retired circuit court or Supreme Court judges. This helps ensure accountability and provides confidentiality until the board votes to conduct a contested case hearing. This bill will allow for an avenue for citizens to report conduct that they believe to be illegal. I was not happy to see the repeal of IM 22, but I think that this is a great bill to put back into effect some of the provisions in the initiated measure, and I look forward to working further with Representative Soli on this bill.

As always, I am honored to be your representative, and I look forward to the rest of session. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at

Week 6

The sixth week of the Legislature has flown by. We've been enjoying the nice weather in Pierre, and have stayed busy at the Capitol. I attended the Governor's Awards in the Arts banquet on Wednesday evening. Bryan Akipa, who is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, gave a phenomenal music performance, and was awarded The Living Indian Treasure Award. We are thankful for his long lasting contributions to our state's cultural history.

The House Health and Human Services committee has been very busying hearing different bills. We heard HB1191 and passed it to the floor and it is waiting to be debated. This bill would require all people who apply for SNAP benefits to work with the Division of Child Support to make an effort to collect. This would be beneficial because it would allow for the families to receive the most benefits as possible. There is a clause in the bill that states that if you are victim of domestic violence, you are not required to contact your abusive partner. I think this is a great bill, and I look forward to hearing the debate on the floor.

We also passed HCR 1008 that encourages Congress to develop a funding formula for the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Health Service that accurately reflects the true needs of the various Indian Health Service regions. As many of you may know, IHS runs out of funding before the year is over, and does not provide adequate care to patients, because they lack the resources to do so. While this is not binding because it is only a resolution, I feel strongly about this issue, and I think that passing it will send a clear message to the United States Congress.

House Commerce and Energy Committee has been busy as well. We discussed HB1179, which would revise certain provisions related to the exemptions from licensure for nonresidential mortgage loans. It would exempt lenders making fewer than 5 loans, or 3 million dollars, from licensing requirements. This bill would pertain primarily to small communities.

The House State Affairs Committee narrowly passed HB 1072 out of committee with a vote of 7-6. This is a constitutional carry bill, which would allow the carry of a concealed weapon anywhere in the state, including in the Capitol and on college campuses, places that otherwise outlaw it. This bill would also allow for anyone to carry a weapon without a permit. I oppose this bill for multiple reasons. It would allow for anyone over the age of 18 to be able to legally carry a weapon, and anyone under the age of 18 to carry a weapon if they were with a parent. The bill also strikes out the criminal section of the statute, which would allow for criminals, even those with a violent history to carry a weapon. This bill will be debated on the floor next week, and I hope that my fellow legislators will realize this is a solution looking for a problem.

As always, I am honored to be your representative, and I look forward to the rest of session. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at

Representative Susan Wismer

Week 5

South Dakota, in part because of our interstates and perhaps because of our lax laws, is facing an invasion of human traffickers, and we are playing catch-up on our enforcement efforts. House Bill 1118 passed through House Judiciary committee this week. The bill makes it easier to prove a human trafficking case without requiring the victim to testify to prove coercion. One of the agonies of trying to recover from this life is retelling your story and waiting for months or years for the courts to put away the bad guys who trafficked you. Hopefully, reducing the burden of proof of human trafficking will help solve that issue.

On the House floor Wednesday I offered an amendment to a bill that extended whistleblower protection to local government employees. My amendment said that state government can't tell their employees that they can't talk to their legislators. My amendment passed!

I have been frustrated for many years at the scripted interactions between legislators and state administrators. In my floor speech I recounted several examples I have accumulated over the years of times state employees have told me they weren't allowed to talk to me. I believe this gives legislators a skewed perspective. They can only know what the bureaucrats want them to know. That's not healthy, particularly in a state where one party has been in control for over 40 years. We need information to do our job, and hopefully legislators are astute enough to sort the substantive from the unsubstantive input they receive.

Now the bill goes to the Senate. I expect my part of the bill will meet just a bit of opposition from the administration over there, but I am certainly enjoying this rare victory!

House Bill 1156 is a "Second Amendment" (I.e. gun rights) bill. It would allow legislators to carry a concealed weapon in the State Capitol. Speeches portrayed all sorts of dire potential situations, and how they were concerned about protecting themselves here. I wish that this body would devote as much time to education and healthcare as we do to minor details of gun rules. The bill passed 46-20. That vote is a reflection of how the Legislature is becoming dominated by those who win low turnout GOP primaries. Extremist single issue candidates, as opposed to moderates, win those primaries, and several districts are so overwhelmingly GOP that the Democrats often don't find candidates or can't give them the financial assistance to run, to give a choice to the citizens at the ballot box.

Judiciary Committee considered House Bill 1159 on Wednesday morning. This bill would allow local government entities to sell or otherwise dispose of animals that have been impounded in animal abuse and neglect situations.Think of the situation out in Ziebach and Dewey counties, around Lantry/Eagle Butte. There, hundreds of horses have run for over 10 years on a parcel of land that is far too small to support them. Horses have died from malnourishment, and the carrying capacity of the land has been completely abused and destroyed for the time being. The county finally took action. They moved the animals, treated the ill ones, and fed them. It's costing them thousands of dollars the county doesn't have. However, this bill failed. I was disappointed to learn that SD Farm Bureau has been a consistent opponent to this type of provision, though it is law in 34 other states. There has to be a way to address a situation like Lantry's before it's gone on for 10 years that farmers can live with. As it is, SDFB's intransigence is contributing to our state's inability to address truly horrific animal abuse and neglect situations.

Editorials –

Sota guest editorial –

Racism: In Sisseton?

By Sierra Wolcott

So, if there is no racism in Sisseton, I call on the white people of our community to demand better living conditions for renters, culturally relevant curriculum in schools, and an end to the Redmen.

If there is no racism in Sisseton I call on the white people of our community to show up at the walks for suicide awareness, to demand county and city collaboration with the Tribe for treatment and post treatment facilities, and for standing up when you hear or see inequity.

We Dakota continue to battle inner demons and we are working hard to establish and strengthen support systems.

The generational trauma isn't going away overnight, but we are working hard to heal.

If healing and peace and a united community is what everyone truly wants, it's not that difficult.

Sota guest editorial –

Mni Wiconi: Where we go from here

By Sarah Sunshine Manning

Feb. 17, 2017

Perception. You can choose what to see.

I see that there were so many wins in this re-awakening, this movement for Earth and humanity.

And still, there are so many wins ahead.

So many seeds have been planted and they are already beginning to grow.

Watch our communities in good time. One year's time. Five years' time.

Water, all the right seeds birthed from this movement – unity, passion, love, family, community... and the future, will be bright. Real bright; If you will it to be that way.

This stand for Water and Earth and all of the immense beauty of it, has given me so much life.

And I know it's this way for so many of us.

Let us remember that it has been beautiful, and never over.

Sota guest editorial –

Petition being shared on social media

I am sharing this because it says it all:

This is long but it is important.

This is where I stand. Our 45th President, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all the people I love. Some people are saying that we should give Trump a chance, that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president." This is my response:

*I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...

*I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.

*I will not "work together" to build a wall.

*I will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.

*I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from other countries.

*I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.

*I will not "work together" to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.

*I will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.

*I will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.

*I will not "work together" to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.

*I will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.

*I will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.

*I will not "work together" to slash funding for education.

*I will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.

*I will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.

*I will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.

*I will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.

*I will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.

*I will not "work together" to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.

*I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.

*I will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.

*I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.

*I will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.

*I will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.

*I will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a "pre-existing condition."

*I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.

*I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.

I will not "work together" to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.

*I will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.

*I will not support anyone that thinks its OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.

This is my line, and I am drawing it.

*I WILL stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.

*I WILL use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN:

That "winning", "being great again", "rich" or even "beautiful" is nothing... When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.


Brief editorial comments from the editor's desk –

On and Off the Lake Traverse Reservation

Tribal Chairman Dave Flute spent last week in Washington, DC taking needs of the SWST directly to the Congressional delegates and top officials of the federal agencies that provide services for this Tribe and others.

We look forward to a comprehensive report from the Chairman in next week's Sota.

There is a long list of needs for Sisseton-Wahpeton, Oceti Sakowin, and all the federally recognized tribes across the country.

Coupled with that list is a great unease about not only the Trump administration, but all three branches of the federal government that seem steeped in policies that greatly conflict with the tribes.


Oyate, because of the vital importance to health services delivery, please attend, if possible, the upcoming special general council on Friday, March 10th at the SWC omniciye tipi.

Decisions made concerning whether or not the Tribe chooses self-governance, in part or in whole, of the Indian Health delivery on the Lake Traverse Reservation will impact not only the Oyate today, but generations to come.

Due to the importance, and scheduling of the general council session, we are devoting a section of this week's Sota to information from past issues provided by the Self-Governance Working Group.

This information is also available on our website.

Please refresh your memory about what has been shared in the past public forums.

Consider past problems identified, including quality of care and covered (and non-covered) services.

Consider options that have been explained, pros and cons of assuming self-governance: setting priority care categories; flexibility in third party pay; assuming administrative responsibilities; possible contracts with private hospitals; and more.

You are being asked to make important decisions. Please, be as informed as possible and participate in the decision-making process.


Community members, you have until this Friday, February 23th, to submit your comments concerning the Tribe's response to the Christmas Blizzard.

You may share what you think worked, what did not, and any advice concerning how the Tribe, its Emergency Management, Law Enforcement, and other programs can prepare for future disasters.

To submit a comment, please contact SWST Emergency Management Services, Jim Pearson at (605) 742-0919; or email JimP@SWO-NSN.GOV.


Please see photo highlights of the exterior pre-cast cement walls being erected last week.

Photographer John Heminger captured the work at the site along SD Highway 10 near the Woodrow W. Keeble Memorial Clinic.

The Tribe's Dakota Crossing grocery store is scheduled to be up and running by the July 4th weekend annual wacipi.

Watch for updates from Dakota Nation Development Corporation and from Chairman Flute.


Work is also underway on expansion of Dakota Magic Casino.

Watch for continued progress reports.


Part 8 in our series of reports from the Tribe's winter 2016 general council is being postponed.

This report will conclude reports given during the two days of general council last December.

There are several other annual reports available, and we plan to follow-up with at least one more article to provide them.

To get a bound copy of the reports while they are available, contact your District Councilmember or the office of Tribal Chairman.


While on the subject of picking up booklets at Tribal offices, the SWST Natural Resources Department has ordered new plat maps of the Lake Traverse Reservation.

We don't know when they are scheduled to arrive and will be available, but it is supposed to be soon.

Cost is $25 each.


We encourage all members to be actively involved in Tribal and District business.

If you are unable to come to Tribal headquarters to attend a Council meeting, these meetings are now being broadcast live over Tribal radio station KXSW-FM and live-streamed over the internet by announcer Tom Wilson.

Last week was the first broadcast, and Tom had some technical difficulties.

Hopefully, the IT will be working well for upcoming meetings.

Check out KXSW 89.9 FM and the station's Facebook page.


Elder's Meditation:

Laughter is a necessity in life that does not cost much, and the Old Ones say that one of the greatest healing powers in our life is the ability to laugh." –Larry P. Aitken, CHIPPEWA

Laughter is a good stress eliminator. Laughter causes healing powers to be distributed through our bodies. Laughter helps heal relationships that are having problems. Laughter can change other people. aughter can heal the sick. Laughter is spiritual. One of the greatest gifts among Indian people has been our ability to laugh. Humor is natural to Indian people. Sometimes the only thing left to do is laugh.

Great Spirit, allow me to laugh when times get tough.


Words to consider (or, perhaps not!):

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length. Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices. William James (1842 - 1910)

You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. Charles Austin Beard (1874 - 1948)

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough Mario Andretti (1940 - )

I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it. Jack Handey (1949 - ), Deep Thoughts


The Sota is always looking for news of the Oyate.

If you have information and/or photos of newsworthy happenings in your family or community, please consider sharing with your Sota staff.

For submission deadlines and other information, see below:

Except for holidays copy to be considered for publication – news, advertising, editorial opinion letters, etc. – is to be submitted to: Sota, P.O. Box 5, Wilmot, SD 57279 by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. FAX and e-mail submissions will be accepted until 12:00 noon on Friday (with the exception of letters to the editor/open letters to the Oyate, or "opinion" letters, which must be received by 10:00 a.m. Thursday).

If you are writing an opinion letter, please note that it must be signed and the author's name will appear in print. Letters must not contain libel and must be brief, ideally 500 words or less. Letters may be edited for content. Omissions will be identified with periods . . . editor's explanations will be provided in [brackets]. Readers who want access to unedited versions will need to contact the authors.

Earlier receipt of copy is always appreciated. So, if you are aware of a date or message that needs to be publicized or advertised, please let us know about it in advance of the weekly deadline.

The preferred way to submit typed articles and ads, art and photos, is by e-mail.

The editor can be reached at the following e-mail address:

For more information, leave a message on the Sota production office voicemail (605) 938-4452, or send a fax to the 24-hour dedicated line (605) 938-4676.

-- CDF

Obituaries –

Services held for James Grazier

James Eugene Grazier, age 81, of Hot Springs, SD, passed away on January 14, 2017, at his home in Hot Springs.

James was born December 18, 1935, in Cheyenne Agency, SD, to Steven and Myrtle (Keoke) Grazier. He served in the United States Navy from 1955, until his honorable discharge in 1958.

After the Military James became a Ranch hand and continued to do so throughout his life until he became disabled in 1997. At that time he began living at the Brookeside Apartment Complex in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

James enjoyed taking walks daily and reading books.

James leaves behind one Aunt, Arlene (Keoke) Miller of Peever, SD and numerous cousins.

Preceded in Death by his parents, Steven and Myrtle (Keoke) Grazier. One brother, Thomas Grazier. Maternal Grandparents, Jacob and Etta (Grant) Keoke. Aunts, Phyllis E. Keoke, Blossom Keoke, Uncles Levi Keoke, Willis Keoke, William Keoke, Marquette Keoke and Robert Keoke.

Urn Pallbearers, Byron Renville, Mark Keoke, Levi Keoke, Vernon "Pasa" Renville, Stacey Miller and Larry Keoke.

Memorial service was held on Saturday afternoon, January 28, 2017 at the SWO Community Center in Agency Village, South Dakota.

Burial will take place this Spring at the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Chamberlain McColley's Funeral Home in Hot Springs.

Special thank you to Vernon "Pasa" Renville and Drum Group and Military Rights by: SWO United Veterans Association

My Morning Walk

Thank you "Lord" for the dew kissed mornings and

For strength you give me.

Just walk and see the splendor you created so lovingly.

Flowers blooming by the walkway.

Trees that seem to touch the sky.

Lifting up my weary spirit like birds that soar so high.

Little squirrels in the tree tops, some times searching on the Ground for food that you supply them. There they curry all around.

As the leaves change their colors to orange and golden hues,

Thank you "Lord" for all the splendor beauty we receive from you.

May I never ease to marvel or to praise you every day. Just to walk and talk to you "Lord" give me sunshine by the way.

Thank you "Lord" for all your blessings, may I live in such a

way that the world may see your beauty shining through me every day.

Notice of editorial policy

(Editor's note: The following comes from the editor's column and the Sota "deadlines and policies" statement published weekly in the Sota.)

Copy to be considered for publication – news, advertising, editorial opinion letters, etc. – are to be submitted to: Sota, P.O. Box 5, Wilmot, SD 57279 by 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. FAX and e-mail submissions will be accepted until 12:00 noon on Friday (with the exception of letters to the editor/Open letter to the Oyate, or "opinion" letters, which must be received no later than 10:00 a.m. Thursday).

If you are writing an opinion letter, please note that it must be signed and the author's name will appear in print. Letters must not contain libel or offensive language and must be brief, 500 words or less. Letters may be edited for content. Omissions will be identified with periods . . . editor's explanations will be provided in [brackets]. Readers who want access to unedited versions will need to contact the authors.

Vice-Chairman's report to the Oyate

By Donovan White

SWST Vice-Chairman

Hau Mitakuyapi.

Elden Lawrence was one of my professors at SWCC years ago. I had him for Indian Law and Tribal Government.

He understood the issues of the Tribe, and we talked about them extensively.

He was such a humble man and I learned a lot from him in those two classes.

But what I remember from him the most was that greed and money were changing our ways the same way that alcohol was destroying our Dakota ways prior to us having gaming money.

It's sad to say that change has not taken hold yet, even after all the indictments, and convictions.

Best thing that could happen to us today elders say is that we lose all of our gaming funds and that our true leaders and our Akicita have to go back to fighting for our people and following our Dakota values, where we are more concerned about our people our unsika, our elders, our children, our addicted, more concerned about our people's needs than being concerned about our huge salaries and over inflated benifits, leave, fica, bonus, and severence scams and shady handouts at the tribe. Dr Lawrence believed this.

R I P Dakota Akicita.

Our ancestors would be very, very disappointed in what we have become.

Like yesterday I hear it more and more from our elders is that our gaming money should go away. We would go back to acting and being Dakota.

Maybe it will now under President Trump.

USMC Combat Akicita Donovan White, SWO Vice Chairman.

Open letter to the Oyate

I read in (last) week's paper (Sota) Tribal Council is considering a way of voting for those of us who are residing off the reservation.

I can cry and smile at the same time. It is joyous and an overcoming political situation to be considered to be allowed to vote in Tribal elections living off the reservation.

Thank you SWST, Lake Traverse Reservation and Council for considering us who are out here … as Tribal memberes.

I can give a few suggestions of doing this: a printable form via the Sota to be printed voted on and mailed back to REB; a bulk mailing; a non-profit mailing; perhaps some electronic (method).

Well, I will leave it at that.


Bless you.

Laura White.

Open letter to the Oyate

"To be a Warrior"

As we roam "Unci make', we as Akicita are not meant for fighting like cats and dogs. Akicita must be intelligent to realize the very importance of human life, and refuse to be ordinary, we as Native people are anything but inferior. Our history alone speaks volumes for our very existence, etched in the memory of time by the bloodshed of our WARRIORS. Our WARRIORS died for the people, because we are sacred, no-one has what we have, we have culture. We live for a fate that will stand long after we are gone,_empowered by the laws of Nature, our people are spiritually strong.

As WARRIORS we have no fear-prepared to risk our life, with natural power our strength is immeasurable. Guided & protected by "Waken Tanker, out of our natural compassion for our people...we will sing a war song loudly,..."Victory" is always with the WARRIORS of Tunkasina...the son's of great chiefs!

Our destination is the spirit world-whenever and wherever the spirit is present, our people live in good fortune...because fortune never exist on it's own without victory. Tunkasina is felt in the hearts of our people, and directs our senses. To believe in Tunkasina, there's nothing to fear...even in the midst of the greatest war. Tunkasina looks upon us in all aspects-either being awake or in our sleep we feel Tunkasina, in our dreams, in our songs.

Imagine if we had to come together and battle for our people, our elders, our Native way of life, who would you see beside you ready for war,...prepared to die for our people?

On the battlefield...within the army of those against us,...imagine seeing all kinds of relatives. Sitting on his painted horse ready for war, this WARRIOR scanned the battlefield and saw all these friends and relatives both young and old, he instantly became overwhelmed with compassion and this is what he spoke.

He said: Wankan Tanka...everything that you made me to be, is for my people, yet seeing my friends and family present before me in such a fighting spirit has saddened my heart.

Any man who has genuine devotion to Tunkasina has all the good qualities which are found in WARRIORS of the people, those who are nondevoted, no matter how advanced in the material world lack in WARRIOR qualities.

This WARRIOR sat staring across the battlefield, after looking upon his friends and family, he at once became overwhelmed by compassion for them who had so decided to fight amongst themselves.

As far as his WARRIORS were concerned he was sympathetic from the beginning, he also felt compassion even for the WARRIORS of the opposite army, foreseeing their imminent death. Pondering the meaning and story to be told long after left him in a daze, his horse was restless stomping his hooves, which slowly turned into the sound of thunder. Lightning struck like never before and shook the ground, began to rain, the WAYKINYANS spoke as he was more or less astonished to see their fighting spirit.

Practically the whole community, all blood relatives of Creator had come to fight with him. Although it is not mentioned here, still one can easily imagine that not only were this WARRIORS limbs quivering, but he was also crying, out of compassion.

Such emotions in our Native way of life are not due to weakness but to his softheartedness, a characteristic of a true WARRIOR of the people_


For a warrior, the first qualification should be fearlessness. Because there may come a time, where he will be alone without any support of his people. If one thinks, "After I leave my people, who will protect me?" he should, not accept the life of a warrior.

A warrior has an unconquerable spirit; he has great courage, and has self-discipline.

The warrior's energy is concerned with training men to be "all they can be" in their thoughts, feelings, speech and actions.

A warrior should exercise a consciousness that is pure, like water, do not pollute this water of life, or mix it with color, or we will suffer from the poison.

A warrior through his clarity of thinking, realistically assesses his capacities and his limitations in any given situation.

A warrior can evaluate his circumstances accurately, and adopt himself to the situation at hand.

A warrior accurately assesses his own strength and skill.

A warrior is one who is detached from the false reflection of reality.

A warrior's life is meant for sharing knowledge with the people, and those who have forgotten the path to the red road.

A warrior must never hesitate, and take decisive action, don't "Think too much", because thinking too much can lead to doubt, and doubt to hesitation, and hesitation to inaction. Inaction can lead to losing the battle.

A warrior says little, moves with the physical control of a predator, attacks only the enemy. His control is, first of all, over his mind and his attitudes, if these are right, the body will follow.

 Submitted by Trinity L. Thompson.

Weekly weather round-up

By Ken Siyaka

Ken, a SWST member, enlisted in 1988, after graduating observing school at Chanute AFB, spent 4 years at Hill AFB observing and honing weather techniques. Graduated forecasting school at Keesler AFB, 1996.

Assigned to Minot AFB, where his forecast area of responsibility consisted of the NE sector of the US, ( North and East of Omaha, NE), Southern California and trans- Atlantic and Pacific flights.

After a tour on the Korean Peninsula, he was assigned to HQ Air Force Weather Agency, Offutt, AFB, NE where he was assigned to forecast for locations worldwide and to classify and tracking tropical storms, identifying geophysical events such as dust storms and volcanic eruptions.

Other placed forecasted for; Panama and South America, Kosovo, Iraq.

Ken also was assigned to Learmonth Solar Observatory, Learmonth, Western Australia to monitor solar events that could potentially disrupt global communications, shuttle flights and for the protection of astronauts on the International Space Station.

After his retirement Ken also spent 2 seasons at McMurdo Station, Antarctica forecasting for the National Science Foundation supporting United States Antarctic Program.

Current and Long Range Forecast

Well, looks like winter still trying to make a comeback this week, as a system develops in the Southwest and makes its way across the country, But only temporarily as warm temps return next week.

The Night Sky: in the predawn hours of the 20th, watch as the Moon approaches Saturn. down and to the left.


20 Mon, Mostly Cloudy, Rain, Temp 55F/35F, Wind S 18-25G32mph, SR0722/SS1803

21 Tues, Mostly Sunny, Temp 60F/40F, Wind W12-18mph, SR0720/SS1804

22 Wed, Partly Cloudy, Temp 52F/30F, Wind W15-20G25mph, SR0718/SS1806

23 Thu, Mostly Cloudy, Flurries Temp 32F/19F, Wind NE15-20G25mph, Lowest windchill, 20F, SR0717/SS1807

24 Fri, Mostly Cloudy, Flurries, Temp 27F/15F, Wind W 12-18G25mph, Lowest windchill 18F, SR0715/SS1808

25 Sat, Mostly Cloudy, Temp 28F/20F, Wind W 12-18G25mph, Lowest windchill 18F, SR0713/ SS1810

26 Sun, Mostly Cloudy, Temp 28F/20F, Wind W 12-18mph, Lowest windchill 18F, SR0712/SS1811

Bill to increase mental health care access for Medicare recipients

Washington, DC – Feb. 16, 2017 – Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) today introduced the Medicare Mental Health Access Act. If enacted, this bipartisan legislation would give Medicare recipients better access to mental health care by removing barriers that force seniors to be referred to a primary care doctor before seeing a clinical psychologist.

"Millions of older Americans, but especially those in rural areas, lack adequate access to critical mental health services," said Rep. Noem. "Recognizing the important role clinical psychologists can play in a healthy aging process, we're hopeful this legislation will break down the barriers of access many seniors face. I thank Rep. Schakowsky for joining me in this effort to boost the mental health and wellbeing of seniors in South Dakota and across the nation."

"Over 55 million seniors and people with disabilities are currently enrolled in Medicare. Far too many of them need critical mental health services and are unable to access them" said Rep. Schakowsky. "This bill would make a real difference in the lives of Medicare enrollees by allowing clinical psychologists to provide their services to beneficiaries without unnecessary burdens. I am proud to introduce the Medicare Mental Health Access Act with Congresswoman Kristi Noem today."

The Medicare Mental Health Access Act would define clinical psychologists as "physicians" for the purposes of Medicare, thereby allowing patients to see them directly, rather than relying on a referral from their primary care doctor. Noem and Schakowsky first introduced this legislation in 2015.

Cannibals and the "shivers"

By Richard P. Holm MD

50 years ago in the highlands of New Guinea, a strange neurodegenerative epidemic began to occur among one tribe. This particular native society was being devastated by a condition they called "kuru," which in their language means "to shiver or shake". People affected by kuru would start showing symptoms of an unsteady gait, tremors, and slurred speech. Although dementia was minimal, kuru would cause mood changes and eventually result in an inability to stand or eat. The victims of this disease would die in a coma about 12 months after gait changes started.

As medical science analyzed this condition, it was discovered that kuru was caused by an infectious virus-like prion-a misfolded protein-which causes other protein molecules to become misshapen, clump, and accumulate in the brain. Kuru characteristically concentrates in the cerebellum, which is the balance and coordination center of the brain. The macabre turn to this story came when scientists discovered kuru was spread as a result of the rather gruesome practice of ritualistic cannibalism practiced by this remote tribe. Recently deceased beloved relatives would be prepared and consumed, especially the brains, in a ceremony to honor the dead; thus the infection would spread.

Kuru, like several other brain prion diseases, causes neurological symptoms which can occur months or even decades after transmission of the infection, making the diagnosis difficult. Other examples of this kind of brain infection include Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, mad cow disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep, and chronic wasting disease in deer and elk. Although this kind of protein-changing infection cannot be transmitted through the air or by casual contact, it can be transmitted by consumption of infected tissue or bodily fluids.

One should not jump to the conclusion that other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's are due to a prion infection like kuru. However, there are protein changes and clumping noted in these brains too, giving one pause to consider that there could be some sort of infectious relationship to these neurological conditions as well. The research goes on.

With a great deal of effort and local governmental intervention, the people of that tribe in New Guinea were convinced to no longer consume their recently dead relatives, and kuru has mostly disappeared. Ritualistic cannibalism may be gone, but other prion-infections of the brain are not. It is through careful scientific research and work that we have hope.

Ripple Effect –

Traveling Green

Many of you may be heading out for a spring break or just beginning to plan a little summer vacation. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ( has tips to make it easier on the environment. If you are able to do just one or several of these things, it all adds up in helping our environment!

Traveling sometimes can be busy, expensive, and stressful. It can also generate a lot of waste and pollution, even with the best intentions.

A one-way trip for one passenger flying from Minneapolis to Los Angeles causes more than 1740 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. It would take more than 20 trees seedlings grown for 10 years to sequester that amount of carbon. With a few changes you can green up your time away from home.

Planning for your green vacation:

For a low-carbon option, consider taking a train or motor coach.

If you fly, choose a nonstop coach flight.

Driving solo has the heaviest environmental footprint. Consider carpooling or renting a fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicle.

If you drive, choose a green route.

Book a green hotel.


Bring and use a reusable bottle.

Pack light. Those few added pounds in planes, trains, and automobiles will cause more carbon to be emitted into the atmosphere.

Bring your own toiletries. The miniature soaps and shampoos from hotels contribute to thousands of bags of waste each year.

Before you go:

Unplug any unnecessary appliances such as televisions, computers, toasters, and microwaves. They still use energy in their off mode.

Set your thermostat and water heater at low settings so that energy isn't wasted while you're gone.

During your stay:

If the hotel or lodge promotes sustainable practices participate as much as possible.

Keep your showers short and shut off the water while brushing your teeth.

If you use the complementary toiletries, take them home and use them up.

Let the hotel know that you prefer not to have towels and sheets changed every day.

Turn off the lights when you're not in the room.

Lower the thermostat if you'll be gone for a long period of time.

Recycle and sort your trash.

Traveling around:

Walk, rent a bike or use public transportation.

If you rent a car, choose a hybrid or fuel efficient model.

When hiking or camping, stay only in marked areas.

Shop at farmers' markets and eat at restaurants with locally produced ingredients. Find locally sustainable foods in the US and Canada on the Eat Well Guide.

Think about your choices and what is best for our environment – you can make a difference. For more tips, go to

Until the next Ripple Effect, The Red River Basin Commission (RRBC).


The RRBC is a grassroots organization that is a chartered not-for-profit corporation under the provisions of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota law. Our offices in Fargo, ND and Winnipeg, MB can be reached at 701-356-3183 and 204-982-7250, or you can check our website at

Youth, school activities highlights –

Education watch on the Lake Traverse Reservation

ESDS closes school last Thursday due to flu outbreak

Enemy Swim Day School closed last Thursday and Friday, Feb. 16 and 17, and this Monday, February 20 (Treaty Day holiday).

School was cancelled on Thursday "due to the high number of absences and influenza cases."

Staff did come to school and worked to sanitize the school on that day.

There were no classes on Friday due to staff professional development, and this Monday the school is closed for the Treaty Day holiday.

A note sent to parents and guardians stated, "See you Tuesday! Please rest up and get better! Take care!"

ESDS honors students of the month

By Rebecca Dargatz

Enemy Swim Day School honors one student from each grade for each full month that school is in session. The Students of the Month are chosen because they demonstrate the four school wide expectations consistently or have shown great progress toward them.

The school wide expectations are:

*Awanicihdka: Be Safe.

*Waokihi: Be Responsible.

*Waunsida: Be Caring.

*Woohoda: Be Respectful.

Home room teachers choose the Students of the Month in collaboration with the paras and other teachers who serve a particular candidate.

Students of the Month are honored during opening ceremony on the first Monday following each full month of school. Students of the Month attend dinner with two guests on the Wednesday evening following each Students of the Month honoring.

The January 2017 Students of the Month are: Kindergarten - Storm BlackThunder, 1st Grade - Lorelei Gill, 2nd Grade - McKaya Running Hawk, 3rd Grade - Ari Selvage-Jackson, 4th Grade - Ignatius Ryan, 5th Grade - Jaun Rios (not pictured), 6th Grade - Payton Jackson, 7th Grade - Jade White, and 8th Grade - Keith Hagen.

Reading Royalty at Enemy Swim Day School

By Rebecca Dargatz

Enemy Swim Day School students participating in the Accelerated Reading program have the opportunity to earn various prizes as they earn AR points.

Alvan Jackson recently earned Reading Royalty for the day through his participation in the Accelerated Reading program!

Alvan earned a throne to sit on for the day, and had a reserved table for lunch.

Kunsi's Garden update at ESDS

School Chef Project is Complete!

Our school food service staff worked with a Healthy Hand chef to explore new recipes and choose two to try out on the entree line and the garden bar.

We chose Chinese Chicken Stir Fry and Wild Rice Salad.

See accompanying photos.

FACE program shares Dakota culture

By Renee Kwasniewski

Enemy Swim Day School's center based FACE program provides time for families to work on Dakota Culture. Recently Justin White and Allan Owen started work on Moccasin games. After compiling a list of supplies that were needed, they collected items and began the task of designing and assembling the parts of the game.

Moccasin games have fringing around them. Working between two chairs the strands of yarn became fringe.

An important element of the FACE program nationally is connecting families with their Native culture.

Driver license exams at Sisseton

Driver license examinations are held in Sisseton at the City Hall, 406 2nd Ave.

Examiners are there from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each Wednesday of the month.


File application at least one hour in advance of scheduled closing hours if you wish to complete the exam on the same day.

Driver license applicants should bring one item to prove identity, date of birth and lawful status (such as certified birth certificate, etc.); one document to prove Social Security number; and two documents to prove residential address.

If your name is different from the name on your identity document, you need to bring additional proof of your legal name, such as a certified marriage certificate, certified adoption document, or court order authorizing a name change.

The examiners must be able to trace from your birth name to your current name.

No driving tests will be given from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

For more information, call 1-800-952-3696 or visit the website at

Garden Corner

Submitted by Eric Hanssen

Browns Valley, Minnesota

African violet

One of my favorite house plants that I enjoy. The blooms are just so pretty and with many different colors. Outstanding among small, flowering potted plants, African violets in a good location should flower without interruption for years. In addition to their free-blooming character, they are well adapted to home conditions, easy to propagate and available in a wide range of flower colors.

Miniatures as well as more compact standard varieties are usable in limited space.

Care of the new plant:

· Maintain night temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit; day temperatures 10 degrees warmer. Do not expose to temperatures below 60 or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

· Place in windows with bright light but no direct sunlight.

Some midwinter sunlight is not harmful, but avoid it at other times of the year. If no suitable window space is available, plants grow well in fluorescent light. Place about 8 to 12 inches beneath cool white fluorescent tubes lit about 14 hours daily.

· Water frequently enough to keep soil moist, but allow slight drying between waterings. They are easily killed by excess soil moisture. Wick watering is adaptable.

· Humidity is important. In homes with low humidity, place on trays of gravel containing water. Home humidifiers can help.

Reblooming African violets:

African violets rebloom easily in the home. If located properly and watered regularly, little need be done besides occasional fertilization. Use either special African violet fertilizers or a houseplant fertilizer high in phosphorus. A very dilute fertilizer solution at each watering keeps growth constant and eliminates any chances of over fertilization.

Pale green leaf color may indicate too much sunlight or low fertility. Do not use water softened by a system using salt in the process.

African violets seldom need pots larger than 4 inches in diameter. The danger of overwatering and development of root and crown rots increases if pots are too big.

Old plants sometimes develop long woody stems. The tips of these plants may be cut off and rooted to form new, more compact plants. However, plants developed from leaf cuttings are generally more vigorous and bloom more abundantly.

Information from MU guide Number G 6511 "Care of Flowering Potted Plants" Published by MU Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia. Web site


Dakota Nation Development Corp.

Board of Directors Qualifications

Voting Board of Director positions shall be filled by Tribal members. Each candidate for a Board of Director position shall submit to a background investigation.  Each member of the Board of Director shall have the following education, expertise, and experience:

Education equivalent to an Associate's degree or at least five years of relevant work experience;

Expertise in business, science, agriculture, finance, accounting, government contracting or procurement, or human resources;

Experience in working with or for tribal business entities, business related ventures;

Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age, who must meet the requirements for holding elected office;

No federal felony convictions;

No violent State felony convictions;

No non-violent State felony convictions within the past ten (10) years;

No convictions involving tax evasion, tax fraud, embezzlement or crimes of moral turpitude as determined by the Tribal Council;

Shall not have held an executive level position in any entity that has been placed on the barred list by the federal government contracting authorities;

Shall not have been previously removed from the Board of Directors for cause within the past five (5) years; and

Shall not have filed for bankruptcy, either personally or when owning or managing a business, company, or firm.


Request for Bids

The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority is seeking bids for the following:

Scope of Work

1.  Installation of drain tile in Unit 359, a three (3) bedroom unit located in the Crawfordsville Housing site.

2.  Furnish all materials, labor, tools, equipment, and services for all drain tile installation work.

3.  Plumbing work is required.

4.  Electrical work is required.

5.  A on-site inspection of the site is encouraged to assure a complete bid.

The objective of this Request for Bids is to locate a source that will provide the best overall value to the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, with price being the most significant factor, other criteria will form the basis of the award decision.

Submission Guidelines and Requirements that apply to this Request for Bids (RFB).

1.  Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe (SWST) Business License (attach to bid).

2.  SWST Tribal Employment Rights Office Certification if applicable (attach to bid).

3.  Liability Insurance (attach to bid).

4.  Workman's Compensation Insurance (attach to bid).

5.  Bidders shall be aware of the SWST Chapter 75, Sex Offender Code.

6.  Bidders must document at least two (2) similar projects as part of their response.

7.  The bid price must be provided by the bidder that is not more than three pages. This bid price must indicate the overall fixed price for the project.

8.  A start date and completion date must be included.

9.  Proposals must be signed by a representative that is authorized to commit the bidder's organization.

10. Proposals shall be valid for sixty (60) days.

11. All bids shall be submitted to the SWHA in a sealed envelope marked clearly on the outside "Bid for drain tile installation of Unit 359, Crawfordsville Housing." where it will be time recorded and secured no later than 12:00 p.m., noon, February 24, 2017.

12. The bids shall be opened February 27, 2017, when they will be read aloud and recorded.

Evaluation Factors

1.  Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this RFB.

2.  Relevant past performance/experience with similar projects

3.  Experience of bidder and bidder's work force.

4.  Start date and completion date.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority reserves the right to award to the bidder that provides the best value, and responsiveness to the owner's requirements, as determined by the SWHA in its absolute discretion.

JC Crawford

Executive Director


Request for Bids

The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority is seeking bids for the following:

Scope of Work

1.  A labor only Rehabilitation of Unit 14, a three (3) bedroom unit located in the Sisseton Housing site.

2.  All materials will be furnished by the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, Maintenance department.

3.  The contractor will furnish all labor, tools, equipment, and services for all rehabilitation work.

4.  A Complete list of all work will be available at the SWHA office along with the specifics of all work requested.

5.  Plumbing work is required.

6.  Electrical work is required.

7.  A on-site inspection of the site is encouraged to assure a complete bid.

The objective of this Request for Bids is to locate a source that will provide the best overall value to the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, with price being the most significant factor, other criteria will form the basis of the award decision.

Submission Guidelines and Requirements that apply to this Request for Bids (RFB).

1.  Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe (SWST) Business License (attach to bid).

2.  SWST Tribal Employment Rights Office Certification if applicable (attach to bid).

3.  Liability Insurance (attach to bid).

4.  Workman's Compensation Insurance (attach to bid).

5.  Bidders shall be aware of the SWST Chapter 75, Sex Offender Code.

6.  Bidders must document at least two (2) similar projects as part of their response.

7.  The bid price must be provided by the bidder that is not more than three pages. This bid price must be detailed and itemized for the overall fixed price for the project.

8.  A start date and completion date must be included.

9.  Proposals must be signed by a representative that is authorized to commit the bidder's organization.

10. Proposals shall be valid for sixty (60) days.

11. All bids shall be submitted to the SWHA in a sealed envelope marked clearly on the outside "Bid for Rehabilitation of Unit 14, Sisseton Housing." where it will be time recorded and secured no later than 12:00 p.m., noon, February 24, 2017.

12. The bids shall be opened February 27, 2017, when they will be read aloud and recorded.

Evaluation Factors

1.  Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this RFB.

2.  Relevant past performance/experience with similar projects

3.  Experience of bidder and bidder's work force.

4.  Start date and completion date.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority reserves the right to award to the bidder that provides the best value, and responsiveness to the owner's requirements, as determined by the SWHA in its absolute discretion.

JC Crawford

Executive Director


Request for Bids

The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority is seeking bids for the following:

Scope of Work

1.  This project is a labor only installation, the SWHA Maintenance Department will furnish all materials for the steel roof replacement.

2.  The installation of a Steel Roof over existing asphalt shingled roofs in one unit located in what is known as Rehab Village Housing site, specifically unit 449.

3.  Furnish all labor, tools, equipment, and services for all preformed steel roofing as indicated. The selected bidder will install all components required for a complete metal roofing system to include furring strips, panels, panel clips, trim flashing fascia, ridge, closures, sealants, fillers, pipe flashing, ice and water barriers, seamless rain gutters, and downspouts.

The objective of this Request for Bids is to locate a source that will provide the best overall value to the Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority, with price being the most significant factor, other criteria will form the basis of the award decision.

Submission Guidelines and Requirements that apply to this Request for Bids (RFB).

1.  Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe (SWST) Business License (attach to bid).

2.  SWST Tribal Employment Rights Office Certification if applicable (attach to bid).

3.  Liability Insurance (attach to bid).

4.  Workman's Compensation Insurance (attach to bid).

5.  Bidders shall be aware of the SWST Chapter 75, Sex Offender Code.

6.  Bidders must document at least two (2) similar projects as part of their response.

7.  The labor only bid price must be provided by the bidder that is not more than three pages. This bid price must indicate the overall fixed price for the project.

8.  A start date and completion date must be included.

9.  Proposals must be signed by a representative that is authorized to commit the bidder's organization.

10. Proposals shall be valid for sixty (60) days.

11. All bids shall be submitted to the SWHA in a sealed envelope marked clearly on the outside "Bid for Unit 449 steel roof labor only installation" where it will be time recorded and secured no later than 12:00 pm, noon, February 24, 2017.

12. The bids shall be opened February 27, 2017 when they will opened read aloud and recorded.

Evaluation Factors

1.  Responsiveness to the requirements set forth in this RFB.

2.  Relevant past performance/experience with similar projects

3.  Experience of bidder and bidder's work force.

4.  Start date and completion date.

The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority reserves the right to award to the bidder that provides the best value, and responsiveness to the owner's requirements, as determined by the SWHA in its absolute discretion.

JC Crawford

Executive Director



The Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority (SWHA) is seeking contractors for labor for the SWHA Homeownership Rehab Program, FHLB Project #2016A08022 of 20 private homes owned by tribal member residing within the original boundaries of the Lake Traverse Reservation. Labor may include, but not limited to, the repair and/or replacement of:

*Roof (includes rain gutters, soffit, fascia, down spouts, etc.)






*Walls, Ceiling, Windows, Doors


*Water and Sewer Lines

*Handicapped Accessibility

*Removal of Health and Safety Hazards

Interested Contractors, please submit a current copy of the following to the SWHA:

*SWO Business License

*TERO License

*SD Contractor's Excise Tax License

*Electrician's License

*Plumber's License

*Proof of Insurance

PLEASE SUBMIT TO: Angeline "Angie" Johnson, FHLB Homeowner Rehab Administrator Sisseton Wahpeton Housing Authority ~ 605 Lydia Goodsell Street Sisseton SD 57262 ~ (605) 698-3901, Ext. 21

Estimated Start Date: May 1, 2017

RFP's and Scope of Work will be issued by the SWHA Contract Specialist to those contractors submitting the required documentation.


Trading Post ads

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

Job Openings

The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate is seeking to fill the following positions(s):

Dispatcher, Law Enforcement

Building Supervisor, Tribal Chairmans Office

Security Supervisor, Tribal Chairmans Office

Administrative Assistant, Department of Health & Social Services

Process Server/Investigator, Office of Child Support

Manager, Café Administration Building

Deputy Clerk, Tribal Court

Treatment Court Administrator, Tribal Court

Closing Date: February 24th, 2017 @ 04:30 PM

Bus Driver (part-time), Head Start

Teacher, Early Head Start

CD Technician, Dakotah Pride

Janitor/Cook Helper, Tribal Elderly

Closing Date: March 03rd, 2017 @ 04:30 PM

Application and job description information can be seen at SWO Human Resources Office or Application can be downloaded from "Apply Now" and emailed to ArnoldW@SWO-NSN.GOV or DeniseH@SWO-NSN.GOV. Contact can also be at Arnold Williams 698-8238 or Denise Hill 698-8251 with questions. (Tribal preference will apply).



Sisseton Swimming Pool hiring for 2017 summer season. Positions: lifeguard, water safety instructors, basket room attendant. Applications available from Addy Veflin at Catholic Community Center, 120 E. Chestnut, Sisseton. Applications close Wednesday, Mar. 1 at 5:00 p.m. Interviews to be scheduled.



Sisseton Wahpeton College

Has the following vacancy:

Facilities/Shuttle Drivers There are openings for two (2) part-time Shuttle Drivers in our Facilities Department. Requirements are: High School Diploma or GED. Must be at least 25 years of age, have a valid driver's license and a clean driving record. Position closes at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3, 2017. Visit our website for a complete job description and application or contact the HR office at 605-698-3966, ext. 1118.


Tiospa Zina Tribal School

Current Vacancies:

Substitutes needed for custodial, kitchen, teaching, and transportation - starting at $10/hr, varies per position Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma (please contact the HR office for more information) Applications are accepted on an on-going basis

2016-2017 School Year Vacancies:

Vacancy: High School Science Teacher ($2,000.00 Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a High School Science Teacher Opening Date: January 29, 2016 Closing Date: open until filled

Vacancy: Career and Technical Education Teacher ($2,000.00 Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a Career and Technical Education Teacher Opening Date: March 11, 2016 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Middle School Social Studies Teacher ($2,000.00 Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a Middle School Social Studies Teacher Opening Date: April 22, 2016 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Gear-Up School Based Coordinator Qualifications: Current South Dakota Teaching Certificate and possess a valid South Dakota drivers license Opening Date: May 23, 2016 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Art Teacher Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a School Art Teacher Opening Date: January 20, 2017 Closing Date: Open Until Filled

Vacancy: Bus Monitors (3 routes - Veblen area, Dakota Magic area, Wilmot area) Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma and willing to obtain First Aid and CPR certification Opening Date: January 26, 2017 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Custodian Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma

Opening Date: February 14, 2017. Closing Date: February 28, 2017

2016-2017 Coaching Vacancies- Closing Date: Open until filled

Proof of all SDHSAA coaching requirements at the time application is submitted. Requirements are to complete the following courses through the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS): Fundamentals of Coaching, and First Aid and Safety for Coaches. Must also submit a letter of intent that answers the questions found on form Athletics Coaching Questionnaire. **Do not need SDHSAA/NFHS Coaching Requirements.

Jr. High/Assistant Track Coach

Assistant Track Coach

2016-2017 Extra-Curricular Vacancies-Closing Date: Open until filled

Horse Club Adviser

Science Club Adviser

Destination Imagination Coach

Drum Adviser

Military Club Adviser

If you would like to apply to be a part of the TZ tiwahe you may pick up an application and background check form from the TZTS HR office located at #2 Tiospa Zina Dr. Agency Village, SD 57262. Applications may also be printed off the HR web page. Completed applications may be sent to PO Box 719, Agency Village, SD 57262. Faxed to: 605-698-7686. For further information call 605-698-3953 ext. 208. Indian Preference employer. At will employer. All applicants are subject to a Background Check and Pre-Employment Drug Test, pursuant to SWSB policy and United States Code Title 25 Chapter 34 - Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention.


Dakota Magic Casino

Job Openings

C-Store Department:

Clerk (Full-Time or Part-Time) Graveyard

Cage Department:

Trainer/Assistant (Full-Time or Part-Time) as needed

Foods Department:

Bus Persons (Full-Time or Part-Time) as needed

Cashiers (Full-Time & Part-Time) as needed

Dishwashers (Full-Time or Part-Time) as needed

Wait Staffs (Full-Time or Part-Time) as needed

Housekeeping Department:

Porter (Full-Time or Part-Time) as needed

Hotel Department:

Night Audit Clerk (Full-Time or Part-Time) Graveyard

Room Attendant (2 Full-Time or Part-Time) 8:00 am to Finish

Security Department:

Officers (Full-Time or Part-Time) as needed

Surveillance Department:

Observer (2 Full-Time or Part-Time) Rotating

Closing Date: February 24, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.

High School Diploma or GED required for most positions.

Two identifications documents required upon hire.

If interested please submit application to Human Resources Department, 16849 102nd Street SE, Hankinson ND 58041.For complete Job Description contact James Neconish 701-634-3000 ext. 2582 Indian Preference will apply / EEO. (Please Provide Tribal Enrollment). Must be licensable by the SWO Gaming Commission.


Dakota Connection Casino

Job Openings

C-Store Department: Deli Attendant (1) full-time, rotating shifts, day, swing, graveyard, includes weekends & holidays. Ability to operate necessary equipment. Physical ability to stand for long hours, clean, lift heavy objects up to 30 lbs., and restock inventory; 6 mos. Previous cooking experience preferred, 6 mos. working with the public. Knowledge of food preparation safety requirements. Must be dependable & available to work any and all shifts. Must be at least 18 years old and have a High School Diploma or GED.

Restaurant Department: Prep cook/cook (1) full-time, rotating shifts, day, and swing, includes weekends & holidays. Previous experience is preferred. Must be able to multi-task; have the ability to work under pressure; the ability to operate necessary equipment; knowledge of food preparation safety requirements and ability obtain a "Food Handlers" certification; physical ability to clean, lift heavy object up to 20 lbs. or more and restock inventory. Have the physical ability to stand for prolonged periods of time. Appropriate dress code. Must be very dependable. Must be at least 18 years old & must have a High School Diploma or GED.

Dishwasher (1) full-time, rotating shifts, day, swing, includes weekends & holidays. Experience in food service, food handling safety, and sanitation. Mobility throughout the facility. Able to lift 20-50 lbs. occasionally. Good health, able to stand and walk for long periods of time. Frequent bending, stooping and twisting. Appropriate dress code. Ability to obtain a "Food Handlers" certification. Must be at least 18 years old.

Opening date: Thursday, February 16, 2017

Closing date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 @ 4:00 p.m.

All positions will be exposed to noise & tobacco smoke

Indian preference will apply/EEO Employer.

Apply with the Human Resources Department, call or write for job description. Submit application to: Human Resources Department Dakota Connection Casino, 46102 SD Hwy 10, Sisseton, SD 57262.




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