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Volume 51 Issue No. 40

Anpetu Iyamni, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020

Inside this Edition –

Weekly SWO Tribal Chairman's Update; Tribal offices closure extended, to reopen Oct. 5

Primary election next Tuesday, Oct. 6: REB safety plan for district center voting

SWO Tribal Program contact information

SWO Industrial Hemp project to resume in 2021

Coming in mid-October: Tekakwitha Survivors Public Forum

Reminder: Deadline for receiving copy is Friday noon

New: "After Deadline Section" for late-arriving copy

Weekly SWO Tribal Chairman's Update

Hau mitakuyapi, hello my relatives.

SWO Tribal headquarters were closed this week due to the COVID-19 outbreak we are experiencing on the Lake Traverse Reservation, but I have still been completing my administrative duties as Chairman and working with others to make progress on current projects like the new food pantry, daycare center, Tribal jail and COVID-19 quarantine facility. All three SWO Tribal Executives – the Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary – are considered part of essential staff so we remain at work with the others while the community is protected.

The Planning Department is working with SWO Natural Resources to resurrect the Tribe's promising Industrial Hemp Project. Read about the project in this Sota.

This past week I had the pleasure of swearing in a new Associate Judge, Randy Seiler. Judge Seiler brings decades of experience to the SWO bench. He is a Vietnam Veteran and a former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota. While US Attorney, he strengthened relations between his office and tribal governments. He also ran for Attorney General in 2018, as a Democrat.

I wish I had better news in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have community spread and the numbers change daily, but they don't appear to have peaked.

A COVID-19 positivity rate of 5% is considered too high and according to the World Health Organization, governments should not reopen until the rate is below that for two weeks. As of this update, the positivity rate in South Dakota is over 22%.

Tribal Council is working with Emergency Management, Law Enforcement, Indian Health Service, and other medical professionals to discern how to best move forward. We are reaching out to Roberts County as well.

Please continue to mask up in public places, wash your hands, social distance, and avoid large indoor gatherings.

It is up to us to protect each other.

We need your help to get this virus under control.

It's very important that we all vote.

The Primary Election for SWO candidates is on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

Please go exercise your right as a Tribal citizen and cast your vote, but also take precautions to protect yourself from the virus as you do so.

You can also cast your vote for the U.S. General Election now as well.

Early voting in South Dakota began on September 18.

Early voting is a great way to beat the crowds and protect yourself from COVID-19 while also taking part in this historic Presidential election.

If you have not yet done so, make sure you fill out the 2020 U.S. Census.

The deadline is September 30, 2020.

The Census is critical because it impacts tribal funding.

We do not want to be undercounted.

You can complete it online at:

Happy Fall!

Wopida Tanka, Hupahumaza.

COVID Corner

Submitted by Gypsy Wanna

SWO Community Health Education Program

The state of South Dakota has had a huge increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases including Roberts County, Day County and Marshall County.

There is substantial community spread.

Now, more than ever, is the time to practice preventive measures by wearing your mask, washing your hands and watching your distance.

Testing is limited to people with symptoms because of the nationwide shortage of tests.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

*Fever or chills


*Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


*Muscle or body aches


*New loss of taste or smell

*Sore throat

*Congestion or runny nose

*Nausea or vomiting


Please remember to stay home if you are sick. SWO COVID number is 698-8249 and the IHS symptom line is 742-3735.

Community Health Education initiates COVID Corner newsletter

Agency Village, SD – Sept. 28, 2020 – The SWO Community Health Education Program started a newsletter this week, "COVID Corner: Covering COVID News on the Triangle," with Issue #1, dated today.

The newsletter will be printed every other week and include up-to-date information about the coronavirus, what the Tribe is doing in regard to the pandemic, local resource contact numbers, and other health-related information.

This first issue introduces the Oyate to a few members of the COVID Response Team and tells what they do.

The month of September had the most new cases of COVID-19, and the area is rated at the "Substantial" level of community spread.

It is more important than ever to wear your mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.

If you are sick, please stay home.

Here are members of the COVID Response Team featured in this issue.

COVID-19 Coordinator

Gypsy Wanna is from the Heipa District and has been working in the Community Health Education Program for over eight years, providing training and health education to the community.

As the COVID-19 Coordinator, she will organize and participate in the Incident Command System and related COVID-19 response and preparedness. This includes planning/developing activities for COVID-19 preparedness and working with SWO Health, Tribal Administration, Emergency Management, healthcare providers and other community partners.

Gypsy will develop and contribute materials and information and will plan and disseminate messages to the public, individuals and families. She will also provide training and oversight to the project Wellness Screeners, that will be located at the SWO Administration building.

Gypsy is located in the Sisseton IHS and can be reached at 605-742-3809.

Emergency Management Deputy Director

Courtney Clark is the Emergency Management Deputy Director.

She assists Jim Pearson, the Director, with maintaining and updating resources and information on emergency disaster preparedness.

This includes updating policies, maintaining contact with volunteer organizations, notifying the public of imminent danger, providing elected officials with suggested guidance during an emergency, including activating the Incident Comand System (ICS) and disseminating information to the public.

She also coordinates trainings that will help members of the community become less fearful and more self-sufficient in emergency events.

Courtney is located in the SWO Law Enforcement building and can be reached at 605-742-0919.

Public Information Officer

Allison Renville is an Old Agency District member was recently brought on as the Public Information Officer.

Allison will bring updates and vital information to the Oyate and surrounding community.

The PIO is responsible for getting crucial information out to the public and can also be known as the Public Relations Officer, working for government agencies and large organizations to pro-mote a positive public image in the media, while providing essential information during a crisis.

As someone who was born and raised in the community, Allison is a familiar and accessible asset to the team.

Allison is located in the SWO Administration building and can be reached at 605-419-1263.

(Editor's note: The newsletter is available as an insert in the printed version of the Sota.)

Tribal Executives extend remote work order due to COVID-19 spread

Date: Thursday September 24, 2020

To: All Tribal Employees

From: SWO Executive Committee

Re: Extend Work Remote September 28-October 2, 2020

Due to the continued increase of positive COVID-19 cases in the area and workplace, the work remote from home order has been extended September 28-October 2, 2020; Administrative Leave will be granted during this time.

Exceptions to this directive will only be for duties considered business critical and cannot be completed outside of the workplace.

To ensure safety for essential staff and duties, Program Managers are to implement an alternating work schedule for staff that must go to the workplace, implement by-appointment-only visits with the general public, and ensure program staff meet all visitors at the Security Desk upon arrival.

Employees will return to the workplace and to regular schedules on Monday, October 5, 2020 unless otherwise directed; this directive will be reassessed and decided accordingly by that time.

To ensure no interruption in program services, program assistance applications and drop boxes must be available at the application center located behind the Security Desk at the main entrance.

Reminder, employees who choose to travel out of the area anytime during the week forfeits their Administrative Leave; they must get tested for the Coronavirus and quarantine for 14-days if needed, Personal Leave will be utilized.

The only exception to the travel restriction will be to visit area essential businesses, such as, health care facilities, grocery stores, gas stations, and/or banks; please ensure you and your family wear face masks when in public.

Also, please take personal responsibility to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus by keeping your families safe and sheltered-in-place during this critical time.

The Executive Committee continues to monitor the status of the Pandemic and will do what is necessary to keep the workplace, employees, and families safe.

Pidaunniyapiye/do (We Thank you) for your cooperation and understanding during this time of uncertainty.

Signed by the Tribal Executives.

Chairman's Facebook Live COVID-19 update

Agency Village, SD – Sept. 25, 2020 – Chairman Hopkins went on Facebook Live via KXSW this morning.

Here are excerpts from the transcript of his remarks.

(The Chairman begins by reading the Executive Memo extending the work remote order through October 2nd. See the full memo elsewhere in this Sota.)

The Chairman said that by Council motion, "Head Start and the Daycare … are going to be closed."

"I want to remind everybody, because of the spread of the virus and the rising cases, please monitor your systems, especially if you have fevers, if you have loss of taste or smell, or if you came in contact with anybody, but most importantly, please, please, (it's) essential that you stay home … please stay home."

"Keep your family members safe."

"Keep your elders safe."

"Keep your children safe."

"Please monitor, especially during the playground areas."

"… The playground areas are supposed to be closed anyway, but keep track of your children and these communities, too."

"Just reminder, the curfew is still in place."

"Law enforcement is still out there doing the best they can because we are still having school, so it is tough for them at this time, because the schools are still happening."

"They are doing the best they can…."

The Chairman gave a "shout-out to the IHS workers during this time for having these tests being done outside at the districts, and IHS, and even came to rotunda."

"That's a lot of work that your teams are (doing), these individuals are taking their time to do all this…."

"And also … thanks all those people that are in the labs, everybody involved."

"It is a lot of work and I am pretty sure the staff at IHS, everybody involved, that fatigue comes, but nonetheless, you're doing this for your frontline workers … for our community."

"We say wopida tanka to you, the IHS members that are doing these tests for everybody in the community."

"I commend you … for that, on behalf of the leadership."

He called for members of the community to report "… positive sightings to Gary Gaikowski of SWO Law Enforcement."

"Just this keep in mind, there's a law in place."

"So if you've tested positive, you could get in trouble."

"Stay quarantined."

"Call the COVID lines, the hotlines numbers."

"We can get you the food or whatever you need, just let us know."

"Call the numbers out there."

He advised against taking "chances … trying to sneak off."

"Keep yourself and your family safe, and the community."

"Also, too, keep in mind … if you're doing those things and if you test positive, you could forfeit your resources on that COVID hotline, so don't lose those."

"As Council and Execs put out, too, our mask is very important … to keep your mask on."

"It's mandated in the workplaces…."

The Chairman called people to be "mindful of that … even here in the rotunda we've got to wear masks."

"I, myself, wear the mask."

"We have got to keep those masks on."

Another reminder: "Limit your gatherings."

"I know we, as Dakota people, we like to have family gatherings … but just keep those limited…."

"Don't let our guards down on this pandemic that we're going through right now."

KXSW Announcer Tom Wilson had a question about the mandate to wear masks.

Chairman Hopkins clarified the mandate, "It is all Tribal entities."

"It is the for-profits, the casinos, Dakota Crossing," he said.

He said work is underway on a "unified COVID policy" to be brought to Council for approval.

The Chairman concluded by saying, "We are a praying people."

"We are born with that spiritual compass to believe in a higher power."

"We got our medicines, our Western medicines and also our traditional medicines."

"If you need those medicines, especially if you're quarantined, just let us know."

"We'll reach out and we'll help you … personally."

"We come together in a strong prayer, even in our own homes."

"Hau mitakuiyapi. Wopida tanka."

SWO Primary Election next Tuesday, Oct. 6

Agency Village, SD – Sept. 25, 2020 – Here is the revised official list of candidates certified by the Reservation Election Board (REB) for the SWO 2020 Elections, which are held on the first Tuesday in October (Primary Election Oct. 6, 2020) and November (General Election Nov. 3, 2020).

Polls will be open in the seven district centers next Tuesday, October 6, from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Ballots will be counted afterwards in the Tribal administration building, with limited access to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Counting will be broadcast on Facebook Live by KXSW-Radio.

Executive Offices

Candidates for Tribal Chairperson: Delbert Hopkins Jr., Ella Robertson, Donovan White.

Candidates for Tribal Vice-Chair: Eddie Johnson (incumbent), Lisa Jackson. (There will be no primary election.)

Candidates for Tribal Secretary: Myrna Thompson (incumbent), Winfield Rondell Jr. (There will be no primary election.)

District Offices

Big Coulee District: Danielle DeCoteau, Norma Perko, Lydia Riveria.

Buffalo Lake District: Louis Johnson (incumbent), Lorraine Rousseau, Arnold White Jr.

Enemy Swim District: Cheryl Owen (incumbent), Dallas Owen, Brice Roberts.

Heipa District: Bryan Akipa, Charlene LaFontaine, Branden LaBatte, Merlin Jay Renville, Brandon Gypsy Wanna.

Lake Traverse District: Dionne Crawford-Lake, Michael Selvage Jr., Shannon White.

Long Hollow District: Curtis Bissonette (incumbent), Janell Cook, Gretta Lavergne, Darrell Quinn Jr.

Old Agency District: Milton "Nippy" Owen (incumbent), Brandon Adams, Floyd Kirk Jr., Gladys Renville, Martha Renville.

REB COVID safety plan


This guidance provides recommendations on the routine cleaning and disinfection of polling location areas at ALL seven districts, namely; Lake Traverse District, Buffalo Lake District, Old Agency District, Heipa District, Big Coulee District, Long Hollow District and Enemy Swim District.

*All voting equipment and District Center area (e.g., pens, voting stations, voting tables, District Election Board (DEB) members tables). It suggests actions that polling station workers can take to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the survival of the virus in the environment. This guidance will be updated if additional information becomes available.

*DEB members will have a clean area and District center one (1) day prior to the Primary Election and or General Election. Cleaning alone does not kill germs, but by removing them it decreases the number of germs and therefore any risk of spreading infection.

*DEB members will then kill germs by disinfecting surfaces. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces this process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs but killing the germs reaming on a surface after cleaning further reduce any risk of spreading infection.

Actions for elections officials in advance of election day

*Encourage voters to use voting methods that minimize direct contact with other people and reduce crowd size at polling stations.

*This minimizes the number of individuals a voter may come in contact with.

*Encourage voters planning to vote in-person on election day to arrive at off-peak times. For example, if voter crowds are lighter mid-morning, advertise that in advance to the community.

*Consider additional social distancing and other measures to protect these individuals during voting.

Preventive actions polling workers can take

*Stay at home if you have fever, respiratory symptoms, or believe you are sick

*Practice hand hygiene frequently: wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. REB will provide the sanitizer stations prior to the Primary Election and General Election date.

*Hand Sanitizer stations and mask: should be available to anyone wanting to vote at each district center prior to entering the building.

*Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces: including tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.

*Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs after cleaning: Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against the virus that causes COVID-19 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, use of personal protective equipment).

o REB may request each district that no one except the DEB members to be allowed in the district center (one day) until the day of the election, to reduce the risk of it being contaminated before the election.

*Clean and disinfect voting-associated equipment (e.g., pens, voting stations, voting tables, District Election Board (DEB) members tables) routinely. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.

o Consult with the voting machine manufacturer for guidance on appropriate disinfection products for voting machines and associated electronics.

o Consider use of wipe able covers for electronics.

o If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or spray containing at least 70% alcohol to clean voting machine buttons and touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

*Practice social distancing as described by the CDC.

o Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms' length) from other people

o Do not gather in groups. 2 to 3 voters will be allowed to enter the District Center at a time. DEB member will ensure that the area is disinfected after each voter. If there are more than 4 voters at one time at the district center a DEB will advise the voter to remain in the car until the area of the previous voter has been disinfected.

o No children will be allowed in the voting area namely the District center.

*Food: Although it is sometimes custom for each district to decide if they will serve their voting district members because of the risk of Covid-19.

o NO district will be allowed to serve food at the polling district center.

o NO food will be served during the tabulation of the ballots- SWO Tribal Administration building.

*During the tabulation of the ballots: Candidates and their close family members and/or campaign staff may be allowed in the SWO Administration building.

o Limit the number of tables and chairs at each table under the Social Distancing guidelines.

o The setup for the tabulation of the ballots may be rearranged from previous setups to give everyone enough workspace and still under the Social Distancing guidelines.


For more information, contact members of REB:

Angie Johnson 605-467-9737

Sonny LaBlanc 605-268-3141

Dustin Opsal 605-924-0662

Josie Bertsch 605-237-4067 (work 698-8236)

Vanessa Carlson 605-742-403

Marjory Bissonette 605-467-1539 (work 698-8275)

SWO responds to allegations regarding its Child Protection Program

Agency Village, SD – Sept. 25, 2020 – The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate (SWO), a federally recognized Indian Tribe, responded today to numerous allegations of mismanagement lodged against its Child Protection Program (CPP) recently by members of a grassroots citizens' group. The group voiced their concerns at a Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Council meeting. Since then, Tribal leadership has held numerous meetings to discuss and research the validity of the citizens' concerns.

"Protection of our children is a duty that we take very seriously," said Myrna Thompson, the elected Secretary for the Tribe, whose office oversees the Child Protection Program.

"We are consistent in our efforts to support the Child Protection Program in their mission to protect children, and to reunify and strengthen families. I can assure you we have been revising our policies and procedures, and updating Chapter 38 - Juvenile Code, to ensure that it is still relevant and effective to meet our community needs."

One of the concerns raised was the management of the program.

Due to these concerns raised by the grassroots group, the Tribal Executives requested the Bureau of Indian Affairs to conduct an updated program review.

The program review began on September 23rd and is currently in progress.

All components of the CPP will be reviewed, including case files to ensure all documentation is done according to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and all policies and procedures are complied with.

The SWO Tribal Executives are in the process of hiring an ICWA Attorney to ensure all ICWA cases are handled efficiently and effectively.

The SWO's Legal Department has been assigned to handle all the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) cases going forward to ensure the Tribe is intervening and requesting transfer of ICWA cases back to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Court.

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is also in discussions with Casey Family Programs to become a member of the National Partnership for Child Safety, a national movement that many states and counties have joined to strengthen their programs protecting vulnerable children.

The Partnership will provide technical assistance and training as well.

"We fully realize that children are vulnerable members of our society; in the Dakota belief system, children are Sacred. CPP works diligently to provide services to children and families in crises to ensure their safety and well-being in response to the calls for help," said Secretary Thompson.

The Tribal Executives plan to meet with the grassroots group after the program review is complete to ensure their concerns are being addressed.

SWO Industrial Hemp Project to resume in 2021

"This Hemp Farm and selling of Hemp Seeds not only puts SWO on the map for being the first ones to do it – but it creates self-sustainability." – Chairman Hopkins

Submitted by William Fish

SWO Interim EDA Planner

Agency Village, SD – September 24, 2020 – After being sidelined in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SWO industrial hemp project is back on track for 2021.

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Planning and Natural Resources departments, under direction of Chairman Delbert "Roly" Hopkins Jr., are collaborating to determine the feasibility of collecting wild indigenous hemp seed within the original boundaries of the Lake Traverse Reservation to develop our own variety.

This will enable the Tribe to develop and patent seed for our own use and to market that seed to other growers, including tribes.

It will make the Oyate more self-sustainable, as we currently purchase hemp seed from Canada – for a considerable price.

Having our own seed will not only lower production costs but also give us the opportunity to sell seed to other growers, which no tribe has done yet in the U.S.

The SWO Hemp Economic Feasibility Study ended its third field season this week by collecting indigenous hemp within the original bounds of the reservation for planting next season. (See accompanying photos.)

The study was initiated in 2018 with a four-acre demonstration planting of fiber hemp on Tribal trust land in North Dakota.

Planting was expanded to 40 acres in 2019 and ten large scale bales of hemp fiber were produced.

These bales of hemp fiber were sold to a contracted buyer both years.

This shows us that there is a market out there for industrial hemp, we just need to find the best buyer.

South Dakota removed a big obstacle by passing industrial hemp legislation, which was signed by the Governor into law this year. Unfortunately, SWO did not plant hemp due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota did, however, continue the study by identifying populations of wild indigenous hemp likely descended from the historic introduction of fiber hemp to our region for production of canvas and clothing during the Second World War.

Professor George Weiblen, UM team leader, said, "SWO is the first tribal nation as far as we know to exercise its sovereignty in preserving indigenous hemp genetic resources for future development of hemp agriculture and industry."

Charlene Miller, SWO Natural Resources Manager, consulted with landowners and coordinated access to wild plants within the original reservation boundaries.

Seed collected will be overwintered in preparation for a demonstration plot at the SWO Farm in 2021.

Ultimate goal of the Hemp Economic Feasibility Study is to develop sovereign indigenous hemp for healthy and sustainable jobs for the SWO.

Fibrous stems of the hemp plant can be used to produce durable high quality fabric, compostable bioplastics and many other industrial products.

The University of Minnesota and Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate want every tribal member to understand: INDUSTRIAL HEMP IS NOT A DRUG!

It should not be confused with Marijuana, CBD or THC (the intoxicating chemical produced by Cannabis).

In South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota; Cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC is legal Industrial Hemp.

The market for hemp fiber is small at the present time (could easily be affected by Covid-19) but is likely to expand as industry weans itself from fossil fuels and unsustainable agricultural practices.

Chairman Hopkins adds, "This Hemp Farm and selling of Hemp Seeds not only puts SWO on the map for being the first ones to do it – but it creates self-sustainability."

"As all of our tribal members know during this Covid-19 Pandemic, self-sustainability is greatly needed for our people."

Governor Noem announces special Legislative session

Pierre, SD – Sept. 21, 2020 – Today, Governor Kristi Noem announced that she will be calling a special session of the state legislature. The legislature will meet on Monday, October 5, 2020, with the purpose of considering legislation related to the use of federal stimulus relief funds, including the $1.25 billion allocated to South Dakota in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).

"South Dakota has used our federal CRF funds as intended to cover many costs related to COVID-19," said Governor Noem. "We're in tremendous shape in our fight against this virus. My team and I have spent many hours talking with numerous legislators, especially leadership, as well as the general public. I look forward to hearing from the entire legislature in its official capacity."

Barring an extension, South Dakota has until December 30, 2020, to spend all CRF dollars. Some of the funds have already been allocated including $200 million for city and county government operations, more than $100 million for the Re-employment Insurance Fund, nearly $100 million for state public safety and public health officials, $75 million for K-12 schools, and more than $20 million for universities and technical colleges. Governor Noem also has proposed up to $400 million in small business grants and up to $100 million in grants to community-based healthcare providers.

To learn more about South Dakota's fight against COVID-19, visit

Reaching out to our neighbors

By Governor Kristi Noem

Pierre, SD – September 25, 2020 – I recently had a chance to visit with a single mom, the mother of two young girls, from another state. Her state is locked down. Her little girls are doing 100% distance-learning. She is working full-time from home. And she is struggling.

The balancing act was something she could do at first. But now, it seems like this horrible situation will never end. I could hear the stress and fatigue in her voice, and I could see the anxiousness on her face. She is fed up, angry, and in desperate need of some relief. My heart hurt listening to her story.

COVID-19 has posed lots of new challenges for all of us. We have taken time to thank the folks on the frontlines of this pandemic, such as healthcare professionals, truck drivers, grocery store employees, law enforcement personnel, teachers, unemployment specialists, and many others. But I want to take a minute to speak directly to the men and women who don't fall into these categories. I know you may be struggling too.

This week, I'd like to remind everyone that at our core we are neighbors, and we are all in this together. Please remember that the woman in front of you at the grocery store or the man at the pharmacy could be going through a lot right now.

I challenge each South Dakotan to reach out to a family member, a friend, a loved one, a neighbor, or even a stranger and ask how they are doing. Take some time out of your day to really listen to their reply. There are a lot of people in this country who are fed up and at their breaking points. Some people may be losing hope.

In South Dakota, we are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to approach this virus differently. To allow businesses to innovate, schools to open up on time, and not resort to a lockdown. But that doesn't mean people in our state aren't having a hard time too.

Please help your loved ones focus on the good things we have in our lives, and maybe reflect with gratitude on how fortunate we are to live in the modern world. A threat like this can break us down – or it can make us truly appreciate the many blessings we have.

If there's anything we all can rally around at the moment, it's that we all have a common enemy – this virus. It's okay to be scared, worried, or fed up. But at the same time, we can also pour ourselves into our families, our neighbors, our communities.

My message to you this week is please hang in there. We will get through this.

My hope is that, despite this horrible situation, we all find a way to allow it to make the bonds of community stronger. To remind us of what is important in life. To remind us of three things: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love.

Weekly windup

By Rep. Dusty Johnson

Washington, DC – Sept. 25, 2020 – Back in Session.

This year has been far from normal. But over the last few weeks Congress has been back in session, and the pace seems to be picking up again. Last week, I unveiled a bipartisan pathway for another COVID-19 relief bill, and this week, the House has been focused on passing a number of tribal bills as well as a bill to keep our government open through the election.

I was proud to speak on the House floor in support of my own bill that passed the House this week – unanimously. The Tribal School Federal Insurance Parity Act will divert millions back to tribal students' education. For ten years, leaders have tried to bring parity to tribal grant schools' benefits program, and I'm grateful for the input tribal members gave me along the way to ensure this got done. The House also passed the Savanna's Act, and as a co-sponsor of this bill and a representative for a state with a large tribal population, I was proud to see legislation to combat the startling number of missing and murdered indigenous women pass unanimously.

The House also managed to pass a government spending bill that funds the government through December 11. There was a lot of debate about this "Continuing Resolution." Initially, funding for critical agriculture programs weren't included in the bill. Republicans and many rural Democrats told Speaker Pelosi this was a non-starter – this important funding for agriculture was included in the final version of the bill.

Headed to the floor

Thomas Jefferson said, if he had to choose, he would prefer newspapers without government, over government without newspapers. That is a dramatic statement, but I think it highlights how critical journalism is to holding government accountable. Every good reporter has faced the wrath of a wronged politician and has had disgruntled readers or listeners cancel their patronage. In politics, it is tempting to be among the disgruntled, but if we want a free society, we have to support a free press. One whose loyalty is not to partisan endeavors or to stoking division and conflict, but rather, is to the truth. That is why I headed to the floor this week to highlight how "Democracy Demands Journalism." Watch here.

Back to Business

Back in session means congressional hearings continued. I participated in two hearings this week. One on the National Apprenticeship Act and another on the 2020 wildfires.

In the Education and Labor Committee's hearing on the National Apprenticeship Act, I offered an amendment that would streamline the process of what's considered a "registered apprenticeship" through the Department of Labor (DOL). Right now, it's extremely difficult to add an occupation to DOL's list. This amendment was bipartisan and was adopted by my colleagues on the Committee.

During the Agriculture Committee's Forestry Subcommittee hearing, I spoke on the need for proactive forest management and follow through of forest service projects – so many of them don't make it through implementation. South Dakota continues to see a decline in forest fires because of timber sales and tree thinning, and I was proud to highlight our successes. A managed forest is a healthy forest.

Congress will be back in session next week and there's a possibility we will be discussing a COVID-19 relief bill with a price tag of $2.4 trillion. Stay tuned…

Human Services Center aims for zero suicides

Yankton, SD – Sept. 23, 2020 – The goal is zero. South Dakota's only state run inpatient psychiatric facility, the South Dakota Human Services Center, is using "Zero Suicide" practices to help save lives.

Zero Suicide is both a concept and a practice developed by national suicide prevention organizations. The Human Services Center (HSC) began implementing "Zero Suicide" in 2017. The intent is to continue de-stigmatizing mental health and treat it like any other medical condition.

"We're striving to create a culture that promotes openly talking about suicide and what we can do to further support our patients," said HSC Administrator Jeremy Johnson.

Three key elements of "Zero Suicide" include:

1. Assessing suicide risks at admission, during treatment, and before discharge;

2. Effective treatment for suicidal feelings, and training all staff on how to talk with someone about those feelings;

3. Linking people to the needed resources as they transition from inpatient care to supports within the community.

Staff at the HSC is trained to use effective screening tools that help determine the severity of suicidal thoughts, while also facilitating a conversation between the patient and their treatment team member.

"We are empowering all of our staff to recognize they're part of the care we provide," Johnson said. "The intent is not to have them 'fix' the thoughts, but rather listen, support, and connect our patients with a professional member of the treatment team."

Before discharge, the HSC treatment team works with the patient to establish a safety plan outlining what the patient can do if thoughts of suicide return. This plan empowers the patient to use the skills they've learned in treatment. The team works with them to schedule follow-up appointments with necessary providers to continue treatment in an outpatient setting.

After discharge, staff send Caring Cards, which are supportive and inspirational postcards that remind the patient that someone cares about them.

In South Dakota, the Zero Suicide framework is also used by many groups including community mental health centers, substance use disorder treatment agencies, inpatient behavioral health systems, and outpatient primary care providers.

To find help in your area, visit and click on the Behavioral Health tab or go to

If you, a family member, or friend are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression or anxiety, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line "Hello" to 741741.

Savanna's Act, bipartisan bill to address 'tragic issue' of missing and murdered Native Americans, passes US House

By Jessica Flores

Washington, DC – USA Today – Sept. 21, 2020 – A bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the "tragic issue" of missing and murdered Native Americans passed the U.S. House on Monday and is headed to the desk of President Donald Trump.

Savanna's Act, named for Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind of Fargo, North Dakota, a pregnant 22-year-old Spirit Lake tribal member who was killed in 2017, would establish national law enforcement guidelines between the federal government and American Indian tribes.

The bill unanimously passed the U.S. Senate in March after Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, reintroduced the bill after former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota, had proposed it in 2017.

"When I first introduced this bill last Congress, I couldn't have imagined the groundswell of support we would receive — and I'm encouraged that even during these partisan times, Congress came together and passed this important and needed bill," Heitkamp said in a statement to USA TODAY.

She added, "But our work isn't done — Congress must continue to do more until every single Native American woman is safe in their community. Hold your members of Congress accountable and urge them to build on this work."

The bill requires federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies to update and create protocols to address missing or murdered Native Americans. The U.S. Department of Justice must provide training to law enforcement agencies on data entry, educate the public on the database, help tribes and Indigenous communities enter information in the database, develop guidelines for response to missing or murdered Indigenous people, provide technical assistance to tribes and law enforcement agencies and report data on missing or murdered Native Americans.

Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, introduced the bill in 2019 with 20 bipartisan lawmakers.

"Passage of Savanna's Act brings us one step closer to ending this epidemic by upgrading critical data and improving communication among law enforcement. I look forward to President Trump signing our bipartisan bill into law," Gianforte said in an email to Great Falls Tribune, part of the USA TODAY Network.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota and chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, co-sponsored the bill.

"Savanna's Act addresses a tragic issue in Indian Country and helps establish better law enforcement practices to track, solve and prevent these crimes against Native Americans," Hoeven said in a statement on Monday. "We appreciate our House colleagues for passing the bill today and sending it on to the president to become law. At the same time, we continue working to advance more legislation like this to strengthen public safety in tribal communities and ensure victims of crime receive support and justice."

Murder is the third-leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Native women, according to the Urban Indian Health Institute. In 2016, there were 5,712 cases reported of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the UIHI's reports. But only 116 cases were logged in the DOJ database.

In 2018, Brooke Crews of North Dakota was sentenced to life in prison for killing Greywind and cutting the baby out of her womb.

This month, and every month, take a moment to show Veterans you care!

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month-a time to raise awareness and connect individuals to treatment services.

Mental health conditions can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions. Just like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life and is essential to your overall well-being.

Although veterans can often recognize when to treat their physical injuries, it can be harder for them to identify mental health or readjustment challenges. Some veterans, or their loved ones, may notice symptoms and experiences affecting their lives but aren't sure what to do about them. Others may think nothing can be done or may have concerns about the impact of treatment.

For almost every mental health condition, there are several effective treatments that can help veterans cope with symptoms and greatly improve quality of life. Treatment can help veterans understand their condition and change how they think about it, in part by identifying steps to improve their response to emotional triggers, stressful situations, and other challenges in their life.

It's never too late for soldiers to get treatment or support for the challenges they face, whether they just returned from a deployment, were stateside during their whole time in service, or have been home for 40 years. Even veterans who didn't realize they were dealing with a mental health condition for many years can improve their lives with treatment. Recovering from a mental health challenge is a process that involves hope, action, problem-solving, and tapping into or building up a support system - in addition to close guidance from a trained professional.

Veterans, to find resources nearest you, visit:

Greg Whitlock, Secretary, South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

DOJ, Oglala Sioux Tribe announce partnership to combat domestic violence

Sioux Falls, SD – Sept. 22, 2020 – United States Attorney Ron Parsons and Oglala Sioux Tribe Attorney General Scott James are pleased to announce that the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), part of the U.S. Department of Justice, has awarded a three-year grant to the Oglala Sioux Tribe to combat domestic violence and other serious crimes.

The Tribal Special Assistant United States Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Initiative, financed through a partnership between OVW and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, funds and trains cross-deputized tribal prosecutors in federal law and procedure and investigative strategies so they can pursue domestic or sexual violence cases in tribal court, federal court, or both.

Under this initiative, the Oglala Sioux Tribe will receive funding to hire an additional tribal prosecutor, who will also be appointed as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of South Dakota, to prosecute domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking cases in both tribal and federal court.

This new position will enable the U.S. Attorney's Office and OST Attorney General's Office to increase their collaborative efforts to hold violent offenders accountable and bring justice to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse living within the Pine Ridge Reservation.

"Working closely with the Oglala Sioux Tribe to protect victims and prosecute violent offenders for crimes committed on tribal land is a top priority for my office," said U.S. Attorney Parsons.

"This new position will help the Oglala Sioux Tribe take an even more robust approach to safeguarding domestic and sexual abuse victims and their families. We look forward to partnering with Attorney General James and his team in this critically important initiative."

"These additional resources to combat domestic violence crimes on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were desperately needed," said Attorney General James.

"We thank the U.S. Attorney's Office for helping the tribe to acquire this grant. The Tribal Attorney General's Office looks forward to working with this new Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to hold offenders accountable and to bring justice to victims of domestic violence crimes."

The Oglala Sioux Tribe is one of only five Indian tribes in the country to receive a Tribal SAUSA award this year.

Editorials –

Sota guest editorial –

If I Could Love You to Sobriety

By Jess Kilvert

If I could love you to sobriety,

You'd be there by now.

But I have to accept that I can't,

But that you'll get there somehow.

If I could love you to sobriety,

You wouldn't feel this pain.

If this was about how much I love you,

You'd never want to drink again.

I have to come to terms with the fact,

That it's not about me,

It's that you have so much to give,

But that you simply cannot see.

You've held on to your trauma,

And it's taken you away.

I pray that you'll come back soon,

And we'll have a beautiful life some day.

But until then I must take charge,

Over my own life instead of yours.

If I don't there will be no way,

I can be there for your support.

I accept I am powerless over your addiction,

I must step back to save myself.

I can't love you to sobriety,

But I can protect my own health.


I came across this and felt the need to share because it brought me to tears. This hit home in so many ways. Loving an addict whether it's your spouse, best friend, parent, sibling is a hard battle. Being powerless is hard. I didn't cause it, I can't cure it and I can't change it is hard to accept but when you do, so much growth happens. Mourning the death of someone alive is the hardest thing. I pray every day for everyone still sick and suffering.

– Jessica Heminger.

Sota guest editorial –

October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, sheds light on victim-survivors and calls for end to violence on Indigenous peoples

By StrongHearts Native Helpline

Every October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), advocates and communities across Indian Country and the United States rally together to honor survivors of domestic violence and support abuse prevention.

In 2020, StrongHearts Native Helpline once again calls on advocates, tribal leaders, reservation and urban Indian community members, service providers and Native organizations to support the movement to prevent and end domestic violence, which disproportionately affects millions of Natives every year.

Violence against Indigenous peoples began with European contact and has continued to this day, adding up to more than 500 years of abuse. Domestic violence, which continues as a tool of colonization, represents a lack of respect for Native peoples.

Native women and men in the United States experience domestic violence at alarming rates, with more than four in five Natives having experienced some form of violence in their lifetime and more than half experiencing physical violence by an intimate partner in the past year.

Domestic violence has many faces: physical, sexual, emotional, cultural, financial and digital. It doesn't discriminate and includes violence against children, elders, LGBTQ2S individuals. There is also a strong connection between domestic violence and thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.

Native nations in the Lower 48 and Alaska Native Villages continually go underfunded for life saving domestic violence services. Now in its fourth year of operation, StrongHearts has received more than 9,103 phone calls and online chats requesting critically-needed support to deal with intimate partner violence. Of the phone calls, 5,010 were received in 2019 — a 396.04% increase from 2018.

This year during the Covid-19 pandemic, conversations focused on domestic violence have attracted international media and public attention. Alarming increases in domestic violence have been documented worldwide, due to victims and their abusers being trapped in close quarters while sheltering in place during quarantines. In August, in an effort to help Natives affected by all forms of violence during this uncertain and dangerous time, StrongHearts added sexual violence advocacy to its existing domestic and dating violence outreach services.

"We must continue to heighten public awareness of the issues of violence in Indian Country," says StrongHearts Native Helpline Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). "StrongHearts Native Helpline urges all individuals not only during October but throughout the year to believe survivors, speak out and take action against abuse, and to share supportive resources with their loved ones and communities in a concentrated effort to put an end to domestic violence forever."

StrongHearts Native Helpline is a safe, anonymous and confidential domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline that offers culturally-appropriate support and advocacy for American Indians and Alaska Natives. If you or someone you love is experiencing domestic, dating or sexual violence or if you have questions about your behavior, help is available. For one-on-one advocacy, click on the Chat Now icon at or call 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483). Advocates are available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.

Open letters from Tribal Candidates

Open letter to the Oyate

Hau, Great Sioux Dakota Nation.

The time has come next week already to vote on the two candidates in the primary election that will move forward to the general election on November 3rd. The clowns on council had no choice this spring but to remove me on trumped up charges and discredit me, so they would have some sort of a chance to get re-elected.

There has not ever been a chairman who has been so transparent and truthful with the oyate. As vice chairman and as chairman I have weekly and monthly disclosed all pertinent information to the oyate good or bad.

I have been the biggest thorn in the side of the establishment that has been running the tribe for donah years.

There has not been a chairman that has more closely worked with whistleblowers and the FBI on embezzlement and egregious charges that have plague our tribe.

I cannot give you any more information than I have given you the last year.

I have discussed and disclosed and kept the oyate very well informed on everything.

There are a few more indictments that are pending and forthcoming that I cannot discuss at this time.

After the indictments I will give the oyate all the information that myself and my staff have turned over to the FBI after the embezzlement indictments have been handed down.

As we knew this spring the virus was going to be spreading very fast this fall and winter. That time is upon us now.

We have major contact spreading going on now here in our communities and off the rez.

Your current leaders have chosen not to take this virus spread seriously, but they have closed the tribe.

When in a crisis situation you need your leaders to lead, not run and hide, or stay home and collect large paychecks, or cruise around on their Harley motorcycles with their buddies.

As a nation we are also in a financial crisis.

Where have you leaders been in addressing these crises?

What have you really been told? Nothing.

I'm not going to go on and on about all the major serious issues happening to your tribe. I have been telling you this for years.

As chairman I knew the challenges of trying to lead our tribe out of the corrupt black hole, with council opposed to everything I was trying to do.

Every other week since I took office council and DCA were doing their best to remove me.

Can you imagine if these clowns actually cared about their tribe and their people, how far we could have come to fix our tribe, instead of just trying to remove me.

We could have had many ballot measures on the ballot this November 3rd to fix our constitution and our tribe.

To end my article I'm going to discuss all the great things I did accomplish or almost got accomplished in only one year. You have already heard all the bad things that need to be corrected.

I did everything in my power to get proper financial assessments out to the oyate. I brought in very competent staff to do this, but we were thrown monkey wrenches into the process every time by the council, so they could keep concealing all of the theft and misappropriation of tribal funds.

After I was sworn in all three tribal attorneys quit and got to gettin' wheile the gettin' was good.

We also got rid of the judges. We brought in new judges and attorneys that were not political and would follow the constitution and the rule of law.

We got rid of the tribal prosecutor because she would not stop prosecuting our oyate with the same charges and incidents that our people were charged with in state court (sorta like double jeopardy). Wasicu's are not charged with a crime on state land and on Indian land for the same incident, so I got this stopped immediately, with a council resolution.

Myself and my political appointee Lorraine Rousseau started to address all the law and codes that need to be fixed, but we did not get close to fixing everything we needed to fix.

We did address the off rez absentee ballot voting, got the procedure and code re-written to get this passed but the council voted this down. This is a travesty for our oyate that live off rez hours and hours and hours away they do not get to vote unless they drive home and take off from work. Their voices are continued to be muffled by the ruling establishment of the tribe so they can remain in power.

We also tried to get the on and off rez absentee voting approved because of the virus, trying to keep our elderly safe, but that was also voted down. I hope our off rez oyate came home next Tuesday and make your voices be heard to the current corrupt council members and execs and send them packing.

We need new leadership that puts our elders and non-elders safety first over dirty politics.

I directed the new tribal attorney at that time to start helping our oyate with their wills. It's important that our people determine what they want their last wills and testament to be, or the BIA makes a determination of where your land goes, by tribal, federal and state laws.

I fast tracked our hemp business plan, and made sure we got a hemp crop in the field for harvest last fall. We couldn't plant hemp this year because the tribe is broke, because of the grocery store debt, and because of the casino closings. Tribe keeps ZERO funds saved for emergencies.

This will change if I'm re-elected.

There will be huge cuts in monstrous salaries and unneeded positions, and budget cuts across the board, so in a crisis we can protect our people, especially our elders and young ones.

I drastically got our tribal budgets cut last fall. Reduced all stipends by half, cut the Christmas bonuses in half. My program budgets were all cut, and all year when employees quit or were fired, I did not re-hire all the unnecessary staff. I didn't even pay my staff all the huge salaries that were budgeted for them by the last chairman. My very educated staff were not interested in lining their pockets with huge salaries, they were only interested in helping the oyate.

I worked tirelessly all year on getting us a new long term treatment center built here. Many trips to D.C asking for special assistance in getting this done.

My request fell on deaf ears.

The days of huge budget earmarks for tribes are over.

It takes many years now to get funding for anything.

We have had funds approved for a new jail, but we cannot get the feds to give us the funds so we can build our new jail. Probably because of all the theft and embezzlement that takes place here they are leery of fast tracking any funds to us.

As I did and will continue to do I will bring credibility back to our Great Sioux Nation.

I still continued to work on allocating funding for a new long term treatment center all year. Until the virus hit us.

An opportunity arose where we would receive 24 million dollars for COVID relief assistance, that we could use to fight the virus. I saw this to be a huge opportunity to get our new long term treatment center built with Uncle Same's funds. Since we needed a facility to isolate and to care for our people with the virus, I immediately used our blueprints for our long term treatment center and called this our COVID hospital or isolation facility. Since this facility is 50 feet from our IHS I seized on the moment to get this facility built asap. I got the plans completed in less than 3 weeks, and got council to approve it.

When we get through the virus pandemic, we can use this facility for our long term treatment center. Or elderly assisted living. I like the plan of long term treatment, because meth, alcohol and serious drugs are ravaging our communities, homes and destroying our oyate's families. Not counting all the drug overdoses and suicides.

It has been an honor to have been elected vice chair and chairman of our proud Sioux Nation.

I strongly urge you to also closely look at the two other candidates and decided who is best suited and proven to stand up and lead our nation thru the current crisis we find ourselves in.

Hau mitakuyapi, Donovan White USMC 4 years combat vet.

Graduated of SDSU class of 96

16 years federal govt. employee

Single father of 4. Mela 16, Kennedy 14, Riot 7, Carter 6

Brief editorial comments from the editor's desk –

On and Off the Lake Traverse Reservation

The SWO Primary Election takes place next Tuesday, October 6.

Please, those who are able, come to your District center and make your choices known.

Remember to wear a mask and to follow the physical distancing and other guidelines to keep yourself, your family, and community safe from the spread of the coronavirus.


Please read Chairman Hopkins' updates to the Oyate.

The Chairman is providing an update weekly to help keep Tribal members informed about what leadership is doing on their behalf.

Along with SWO Emergency Management, Law Enforcement, Community Health, IHS, and other programs as needed, the Chairman will be holding briefings throughout the week via KXSW. Check KXSW Announcer Tom Wilson's Facebook page for updates.

In this issue, we also include information from the transcript of a Facebook Live broadcast by the Chairman on Friday.

Check out the SWO EMS Facebook page for official Tribal government information.

Remember too, KXSW/CNB TV is broadcasting Tribal Council meetings live on the SWO Tribal Council YouTube Channel:


Everyone is encouraged to continue wearing face masks, wash your hands frequently, maintain physical distance, and follow other COVID guidelines.

For assistance, call the Tribal and IHS COVID hotlines.

SWO 24-hour COVID-19 Hotline:


IHS COVID-19 Hotline (Symptoms Line):


Coteau des Prairies Symptoms Line:


Sanford  Hospital - Webster:



To better understand the impact of COVID-19 and plan future services, SWO Health programs are partnering with the Great Plains Tribal Epi Center to conduct the Tribal Impact and Needs Assessment. This assessment expands on the previous survey to help better understand worries about the virus, testing availability, quarantine and isolation information, and more.

See the notice elsewhere in this issue of the Sota or go to the following url:

Everyone's input is appreciated by the SWO Health programs.


The Sisseton Wahpeton College Dakota Studies department has created an excellent video, in Dakota-iyapi, explaining how to keep ourselves and our community safe from the spread of the coronavirus.

Here is the link:


The REB COVID safety plan, implemented for the special election, will be used throughout the upcoming primary and general election cycle.

The Sota is re-publishing the plan in this issue. As far as we know, REB has not changed the policy.


The family of Danny Seaboy was disappointed to have to postpone the Wopida Drive-through Feed scheduled for last Saturday, until a later date.

There has been a recent dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases on and off the reservation and the family does not wish to risk the people's safety.

Danny was very disappointed and hopes that in the near future it will be possible for him to show his gratitude to all who prayed and supported him in his recovery.

Watch for the Wopida event to be re-scheduled.


At its September 14th meeting, the Sisseton School Board gave formal recognition and a "thank you to Dakota Connection Casino, Dakota Sioux and Dakota Magic Casinos for their donation of school supplies, hand sanitizer, etc., for our students."

The casinos and employees responded to a challenge to raise funds for the school supplies.


Whenever needed, we will publish an "After Deadline Section."

This section – on the back page – will feature news and advertising submitted after the Friday deadline and after the pages have been laid out for readers online and for the print version.

The Sota is online at the following url:

We have a new website and are ensuring the bugs are out before introducing it to the public.

Included is an archive featuring all of the editions in PDF over the past twenty years.

Watch for the link when it is ready for primetime.


Elder's meditation:

"Even the trees have spirits – everything has a spirit."

–Mary Hayes, CLAYOQUOT

The trees are great teachers. The trees are great listeners. That is why we should meditate in their presence. The Great spirit is in every rock, every animal, every human being, and in every tree. The Great Spirit has been in some trees for hundreds of years. Therefore, the trees have witnessed and heard much. The trees are the Elders of the Elders. Their spirits are strong and very healing.


Words to consider (or, perhaps not!):

Orthodox medicine has not found an answer to your complaint. However, luckily for you, I happen to be a quack. - Richter cartoon caption

The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it. - Abbie Hoffman (1936 - 1989)

Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic. - Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (1973) "Science and Scientism"

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. - Robert Benchley (1889 - 1945)

As long as people will accept crap, it will be financially profitable to dispense it. - Dick Cavett (1936 - )

I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up. - Tom Lehrer (1928 - )

An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn't take his education too seriously. - Charles F. Kettering (1876 - 1958)


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.

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.


Obituaries –

Services held for Wantawa Win Red Bear

Wantawa Win Red Bear was born on May 18, 1981 in Pine Ridge, SD to Dianne (Ackerman) Desrosiers and Albert Red Bear, Jr. Wantawa Win made her journey to the Spirit World on September 21, 2020 at the Bennett County Hospital in Martin, SD.

Wantawa Win is survived by her mother, Dianne (Gabe) {Ackerman} Desrosiers; father, Albert Red Bear; siblings, Nadewessa Red Bear, Nate Big Fire, Nigel Red Bear, Shay Desrosiers, Kinew Desrosiers, Mary Jo LeBeau, Tosha Goodwill, and Gabe Desrosiers, Jr.; aunts, Bernadine Red Bear, Rachel Red Bear, Sharon Red Bear, Gloria Red Bear, Wilma Jo Red Bear, Dana Ackerman, Dawn One Road, and Dori McClelland; uncles, Kenneth Red Bear, Cleophus Red Bear, Bernard Red Bear, David Ackerman, and Desmond Ackerman; grandson, Mato Luta; and numerous grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Wantawa Win was preceded in death by her great grandparents, Soloman and Jessie Red Bear; grandparents, Albert, Sr. and Christine (Crow Dog) Red Bear, Merle and Dorothy (One Road) Ackerman, Kunsi Arlene One Road, and Melda Red Bear-Trejo; and uncles, Billy Red Bear and Daniel Ackerman.

Pallbearers were Ronald Good Eagle, Jr., Kameron Jackson, Loren Standing Elk, Gabe Desrosiers, Jr., Alfred Red Cloud, Jr., Quentin Red Bear, Delany Poor Bear, Cornell Ruff, Jr., Brandon Jon Yellow Hawk, and John One Road.

Honorary pallbearers were Germaine Garnier & Family, Ronnie Dee Good Eagle & Family, Maria Poor Bear & Family, Dodie White & Family, Lonnie & Verna Street, Al Child & Family, Harold Condon & Family, Sandra Black Bear, Heather Brings Plenty, Anna Janis, John Witt, Mandy Long Wold, Garf Steele, Josh Steele, Melvin & Gwen Young Bear, Alvin Mills, Asa Lafferty & Family, Old Man Lafferty & Family, Cyndy Milda, Winona Tadbahnuuppah, Nahmi Lasley & Family, John Roy, Lisa Red Wing & Family, Yvonne Williams & Family, Little Wound Class of 1999, Garrett Keoke & Family, Isaiah Horne, James Rondell, Miranda Rodlund, Amanda Holy Bull, "Baby" Gary Holy Bull, Phyllis Crow & Family, Joann Rosas & Family, Betsy Mazawasicuha & Family, Curtis & Shanda Bissonette, Wambdi Gill & Family, Rico & Maria Cruz & Family, Leah Fyten & family, Angie Eastman & Family, & Sheila Eastman & Family.

Wake services were held Friday and Saturday night at the Albert Red Bear, Jr. residence in Yellow Bear-Allen, SD

Traditional Lakota Services: Quanah Matheson and Verdell Primeaux.

Burial services: Native American Church Cemetery in Allen, SD

Arrangements entrusted with Sioux Funeral Home of Pine Ridge, SD

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 should 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.

KXSW livestreaming Tribal Council meetings to YouTube channel

KXSW-Radio is livestreaming Tribal Council meetings to YouTube.

Here is a link to the channel:

Subscribe and watch live or watch archives later.

Open letter to the Oyate

I am sure that most of our Oyate have heard the expression "Our Children Are Sacred" and that most of us believe this to be true.

Well, it has recently come to our attention that the Tribe hired Marty Jackley, who is the former Attorney General for the State of South Dakota. This hiring is very upsetting to us because we sincerely believe that our innocent children are in need of protection from child abuse and neglect.

Now why this hiring should be of grave concern to our people is a scandal that happened in 2014 for which this man was directly involved in an on-going abuse case involving Lakota children in foster care in the city of Aberdeen, SD.

Daniel Sheehan, Chief Counsel for the Lakota People's Law Project, described it as "the most egregious case of a state cover-up of child sex abuse in this nation's history."

This case involved corruption at the highest level of the executive branch of the state government.

Because it was a case that had the potential to cause embarrassment for the SD Dept. of Social Services, two individuals were accused of tampering with witnesses and evidence, bribery and perjury.

When it came before Judge Gene Paul Kean, he threw it out and admonished the prosecution for "letting office politics spill in to the state's judiciary system."

The Lakota People's Law Project emphasized that corruption is inherent in the SD Dept. Of Social Services.

They also stated that it is clear that the state believes it can destroy the lives of Indian children and shield child rapists with impunity; that anyone who dares question their method of operation will be subject to retaliation and have their careers and reputation sullied.

A little background on the case that involved Jackley is as follows:

It began when these young Lakota children, under the care of Richard and Wendy Mette, told DSS repeatedly about the abusive acts of Richard Mette which had been happening for more than a decade.

The state did not believe them so nothing was done until a doctor noticed marks of abuse on one of the children and alerted the police.

A young prosecutor in the Brown County State attorney's Office brought 23 charges against Richard Mette and 11 felony charges against his wife Wendy.

Because this case would be embarrassing for the DSS, the State did not allow it to go to trial and instead dropped 22 of the charges against Richard and all charges against Wendy.

Richard received a sentence of only 15 years in prison and would be eligible for parole in 6 1/2 years.

Instead of standing up for our Native children by prosecuting the Mettes to the fullest extent of the law, the State pushed back against the young attorney and social worker, who brought the original charges.

During the trial, the children had been removed from the Mette home and put under the care of an older sister who was perfectly capable of caring for them.

They were later put back under the care of Wendy Mette.

All of this miscarriage of justice happened because of the direct involvement of Marty Jackley as Attorney General for the State.

Now, we have a motion passed by our Tribal Council on July 7, 2020 to hire Marty Jackley as a special prosecutor.

We question the motivation behind this hiring.

Why was this particular attorney hired and for what purpose?

Was due diligence done before he was hired?

Did Council know about this case and decide to hire him anyway?

It is two months later.

Did Verlyn, as Acting Chairman, sign a contract for him?

I don't believe that any other tribe would want this man to set foot on their reservation because of his involvement in the ongoing abuse of our Native children.

But our Tribe has the audacity to hire him to prosecute special cases in our Tribal Court?

Marty Jackley was directly involved in what was described in the news media as the "Mette Rape Scandal."

Let that sink in, Oyate.

Are we going to sit back and allow him to come here and earn bookoo bucks when our leaders are saying we are broke?

There are too many questions and not enough answers.

Will some of these current Executives and Councilpersons running in the upcoming elections be willing to give the Oyate the answers or are they in the dark too?

Let's see which ones truly believe in transparency because that is one principle we all want in our leaders, isn't it?

If we truly believe that our children are sacred, then why have all of the complaints against the SWO Child Protection Program brought to Council on August 8, 2020 been ignored?

If our Tribal Secretary has taken action to address these complaints, why shouldn't we know about it?

Or is this going to be a cover up, just like the State did in the Mette case?

This was just one state case.

According to our group, Nape Maza Win, there are at least 24 cases (complaints), that we know about.

The Oyate deserve and demand some answers from our leadership.

Submitted by the Iron Fist Women, "Nape Maza Win." Vivian Gill Chasing Hawk serves as spokesperson.

SWO Emergency Management –

COVID-19 by the numbers

Agency Village, SD – Sept. 25, 2020 – Here are the COVID-19 positive numbers as of today.

SD Overall: 3507 (457 new)

ND overall: 3562 (436 new)

Codington: 205 Active

Day: 18 Active

Grant: 43 Active

Marshall: 8 Active

Roberts: 51 Active

Richland: 36 Active

Sargent: 29 Active

SD Daily Pos% Rate is 13.3%

ND Daily Pos% Rate is 7.97%

*Additionally, 17 individuals tested positive on Wednesday's drive-up test*


Agency Village, SD – Sept. 26, 2020 – As of today there are 70 active cases reported in Roberts County and 221 active cases in Codington County.

From the ND Joint Information Center –

ND order related to close contact quarantine rescinded

Bismarck, ND – Sept. 24, 2020 – An amended State Health Officer order issued Wednesday related to quarantining of close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases is being rescinded today. The Department of Health clarified that the intent of the order was to align with CDC guidelines, emphasize the urgent need for those exposed to positive individuals to avoid potentially spreading the disease to others, and encourage local officials to work together on the best strategies to combat COVID-19.

"This pandemic remains a threat. Nationally, 2.9% of reported COVID-19 cases have resulted in death. While that percentage is just over 1% in North Dakota thanks to strong coronavirus response efforts at the state and local levels, cases continue to rise and our state is on track for a record number of deaths of individuals with COVID-19 in September," Interim State Health Officer Dr. Paul Mariani said. "While this order is being rescinded, we continue to stress the importance of quarantining and isolation to bend the curve back in the right direction in North Dakota. Whenever possible, all close contacts of individuals infected with COVID-19 should avoid contact with others for 14 days past the last day they were in contact with the person who tested positive."

The rescinded order had expanded an existing quarantine order for household contacts to apply to all close contacts, following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. The North Dakota Department of Health has always recommended close contacts quarantine to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but previously the order referred only to household contacts.

As required by state law, both the original order and amended order referenced that failure to cooperate with quarantine was punishable by a Class B misdemeanor, though that provision hadn't been applied since the original order was issued in April. The order continued to allow for essential workforce exemptions for close contacts.

"From the beginning, our approach to this pandemic has emphasized personal responsibility and a light touch of government, as evidenced by the fact that we're one of the most open states, with schools and universities back in session, the economy open and the nation's sixth-lowest unemployment rate," Burgum said. "Given the nature of this disease, it takes community collaboration to bend the curve, and in many counties right now as we reach record cases and positive rates, the curve is going the wrong direction. We need a light touch of government with more local leadership and collaboration, and we feel we can better support those efforts by working more closely with local public health and community leaders to identify mitigation strategies that will work and be supported in each community."

For the most updated and timely information and updates related to COVID-19, visit the NDDoH website at

As the US surpasses 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, survivors have a message: This is not a hoax

By Theresa Waldrop

CNN – Sept. 22, 2020 – Even as the nation surpasses 200,000 Covid-19 deaths, there are still people who think the coronavirus is a hoax. Survivors of the disease and members of victims' families beg to differ and are sharing their very real experiences with the deadly disease.

Ann and Marvin Robinson, a married couple in Casper, Wyoming, got the virus almost three months ago. Marvin, 73, still has shortness of breath, and both are battling fatigue.

"We have friends who still believe it's a hoax. They think that it's going to go away on Election Day," Ann, 72, told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Tuesday.

"It's trying to convince people that the 200,000 people who have died were important," Ann said of her efforts to assure people of the reality of the virus.

Their friends "kind of discount the fact that older people get it that have underlying conditions, that they were going to die anyway," Ann said. "Well, I'm an older person and I have underlying conditions, and I intend to live for a lot more years."

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 6.88 million people have contracted the virus nationwide, and at least 200,477 people have died.

Covid-19 is now the second-leading cause of death in the US, just after heart disease, according to the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Heather-Elizabeth Brown, a 35-year-old police chaplain and corporate trainer in the Detroit area, spent about 100 days in the hospital with Covid-19. More than a month of her hospital stay was spent on a ventilator and in a coma in intensive care.

She said she still has trouble breathing and with fatigue.

"Simple things like getting up the stairs or walking to my car or outside to get something winds me, and the fatigue factor is also a really big part of the after effects," Brown said.

"I find that I can't get through a whole day without having to stop and lie down and rest, just because I'm absolutely exhausted from doing everyday simple tasks like, you know, getting a shower or making breakfast."

"I absolutely want people to know that Covid is a real disease," Brown told Keilar. "It's not fake, it's not made up, it's not a conspiracy. It is something that is communicable and it is something that can be very dangerous."

Sondra Wolfe lost her husband to Covid-19. She is frustrated that the pandemic has become a political issue in the United States.

"People see the numbers and so many of them don't care," Wolfe told CNN last week. "I want to put a human face and a family, what a family is going through, the grief that this has caused, and maybe change some minds that this is a real thing."

Diana Berrent was one of the first in her New York community to be diagnosed with the virus on March 18, she said.

She founded a support group for survivors, Survivors Corps, that has more than 90,000 members.

At the end of August, Berrent was "still having terrible GI issues, massive headaches, and what feels like a deep ear infection," she told CNN's Jake Tapper. "But it pales in comparison to what many of our members are experiencing, really dramatic things, neurological issues, tachycardia, things as dramatic as Covid-onset diabetes and Covid-onset lupus."

What she wants people to know, she said, is that "this is not a matter of either getting the flu or dying. There is a very, very large bucket in the middle, which seems to constitute a huge proportion of people who get Covid, who are not recovering. You do not want to end up in that group of people."

When you see people's stories on Survivor's Corps of, for example, a 25-year-old who is writing a living will and "don't think they're going to make it to see their wedding day, you'll have a change of heart," Berrent said.

Maureen Fagan's sister Adeline Fagan, 28-year-old and a second-year OB-GYN resident living in Houston, died Saturday after battling Covid-19 for a few months. Fagan's family has been speaking out since in an effort to save other lives.

"Everyone could be an Adeline and that's the scary part of this," Fagan told CNN's Kate Bolduan, asking people to follow the guidelines to protect other people.

"If you can do something as simple as wearing the mask, social distancing, even just using hand sanitizer, to do your part," she said.

"I think you have a right to do that, just as a human being and trying to be a good person."

As COVID-19 cases rise, health care industry sees upheaval

SD health officials report 320 new cases

By Stephen Groves

Sioux Falls, SD – US News/AP – Sept. 22, 2020 – South Dakota health officials on Tuesday reported 320 new cases of COVID-19 as the state experiences an uptick in cases in recent weeks and state lawmakers readied plans to address the crisis with federal relief money.

Representatives from the state's health care providers told lawmakers that the pandemic has stressed their operations, revenues and staff as the number of hospitalizations increased and infections spread. State legislators concluded a series of public input sessions Tuesday as they prepare for a special legislative session on Oct. 5.

Gov. Kristi Noem called the session so the Legislature can provide input on using the $1.25 billion in federal funds the state received to address the pandemic and its economic impact. The state has so far spent about $114 million.

The Republican governor has proposed making $100 million available to health care providers that provide services through Medicaid and other federal and state programs. She has also proposed a plan to make $400 million available to businesses hurt by the pandemic.

Over the last two weeks, South Dakota has reported the nation's second-most new cases per capita, with 405 new cases per 100,000 people. The number of hospitalizations also rose to 178, representing 7% of hospital beds in the state. About 46% of hospital beds are open statewide.

Noem continued to downplay the threat of the pandemic, saying in a tweet that "we continue to be in good shape" with the number of people hospitalized.

But South Dakota's Second Judicial Circuit Court, which operates in Sioux Falls, announced that it is suspending jury trials, citing the rise in hospitalizations. Three school districts in the state have also canceled in-person classes due to outbreaks among staff.

Health care providers described to lawmakers how their operations have been upended in recent months, creating a crunch that has led to both shortfalls in staffing and forced furloughs in their industry.

"Nursing centers are facing extraordinarily difficult choices," Mark Deak, the executive director of the South Dakota Health Care Association, which lobbies for long-term care facilities, told lawmakers.

He also warned that some facilities could face closures as they bear extra expenses combined with a downturn in residents due to fears of outbreaks in facilities. The pandemic also has taken a toll on the mental health of residents as facilities restrict visitors.

With the region emerging as a hotspot of the virus, others pushed for expanding testing to help stem an increase in COVID-19 patients and outbreaks in long-term care facilities.

The seven-day positivity average for COVID-19 testing is over 17% in South Dakota, according to the COVID Tracking Project. That is one of the highest positivity rates in the nation and an indicator that there are many infections that testing is not catching.

"Additional hotspots will emerge over the next weeks and months, even in rural communities," said Jill Franken, who is a board member at the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas.

Over the course of the pandemic, more than 19,000 people have tested positive for the virus in South Dakota. About 84% of those people have fully recovered, but 2,817 have active infections and 202 have died. The Department of Health did not report any new deaths Tuesday.

Youth, school activities highlights –

Education watch on the Lake Traverse Reservation

ESDS up-and-running for 2020-2021 school year

Enemy Swim Day School is up and going!

Staff was excited to see students and students were glad to get back to some kind of normalcy.

Enemy Swim has been working hard to make sure everyone is safe and welcome.

Students and staff were excited to see some beautiful improvement around the school.

We have what we call our Buffalo Room.

This room is used when a student needs some quiet and a peaceful area to get themselves together.

Leading up to our school, we wanted our students to realize just how wonderful they are. So, the hopscotch was painted on our front sidewalk up to our school.

As students step off the bus, they jump through the hopscotch to come into school in the morning.

This fence surrounds our inipi in the back of school, and faces our Enemy Swim community with a beautiful mural.

Also, our FACE hallway received an uplift with beautiful traditional flowers along in-between each of the windows.

Johnson tribal school bill passes House

Washington, DC – Sept. 21, 2020 – Today, legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), which will divert millions back to tribal students' education, passed the U.S. House unanimously. The Tribal School Federal Insurance Parity Act (H.R. 895) makes tribal grant schools eligible for the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) program. Johnson, along with President of the Oglala Lakota Nation Education Coalition Cecelia Fire Thunder, testified on the bill in committee last year.

"For ten years, leaders have tried to fix this mistake, and I'm glad we got it done today. I'm grateful for the input tribal members gave me along the way," said Johnson. "The Tribal School Federal Insurance Parity Act directs critical dollars back to the students. My bill creates much-needed parity among tribal schools, and I'm looking forward to seeing it pass the Senate."

"This simple and clean legislative fix would directly benefit our tribal grant schools by allowing them to access lower cost health insurance options, resulting in significant overall savings. Not only would this fix benefits for more than 500 employees working at tribal grant schools on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, it would also free up millions of dollars to be used to better the education for thousands of tribal students at these schools. Tribal grant schools should not be treated differently than other tribal schools and I'm glad the House has acted. I urge the House and Senate to work together to get this bill across the finish line," said Cecelia Fire Thunder, President, Oglala Lakota Nation Education Consortium.

This legislation would amend Section 409 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to clarify that tribal grant schools are eligible to participate in the FEHB program and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program.

In 2010, Congress reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. A provision was included in Section 409 of this law that allows tribes and tribal organizations, including schools, operating programs through P.L. 93-638 contracts to be eligible for insurance coverage for their employees through the FEHB program and the FEGLI program. This provision did not explicitly mention P.L. 100-297 and, therefore, the Office of Personnel Management, in consultation with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Health and Human Services, determined that tribal grant schools are ineligible to purchase insurance coverage for their employees through FEHB and FEGLI.

he Tribal School Federal Insurance Parity Act would improve the recruitment and retention of professional educators in tribal and rural communities and would allow tribal schools to spend less on health care and more on their students. Tribal grant schools would still be required to pay the government's contribution toward the insurance premiums and the employees would be responsible for the remaining balance. This bill will not cost the taxpayer additional dollars.


Requesting Bids

Requesting sealed proposals for:

The VMYC/Youth Lodge is looking for a Project Evaluator for the SOC Expansion and Sustainability Grant: SM-20-007.

The Consultant will provide expertise in the following:

1. Oversee the development of program assessment and tracking tools that will:

a. Monitor Youth Lodge goals and objectives

b. Determine the impact of program activities and strategies

c. Align with SAMHSA procedures and implementation

2. Develop protocols for procedures for data storage/access/ and use to ensure privacy.

3. Collaborate with VMYC/Youth Lodge staff and Tribal programs in the development of project protocols.

4. Collaborate with VMYC/Youth Lodge in securing positive outcomes for Youth Lodge sustainability.

Assessment and tracking tools will document client, family, and staff needs along with service delivery and expansion, policy changes, and performance measure outcomes. Evaluate services for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Youth and families. Program evaluation will be foundational in providing and developing services for reunification for our families.

All sealed bids must include and be submitted by October 15, 2020:

Applicants must submit the following as part of their proposal:

1. Bio-sketch or resume of academic credentials, technical competence, experience working with grant(s) applications.

2. Statement of qualifications, competence, and capacity to perform the scope of work.

3. Minimum qualifications

a. Master's Degree

b. Minimum 5 years' experience working with Tribal Nations

Required Documentation:

1. Copy of SWO Business License, if proposal is approved.

2. Must be able to pass a federal background check, if approved.

Length of Contract:

Applicant must be available for the duration of the federal grant.


Is outlined in the SAMHSA Systems of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant: SM-20-007, if approved.

Contact the SWO Procurement Office for specifications:

Please submit sealed proposals to:

SWO Procurement Office

Attn: Lennie Peters

PO BOX 509

Agency Village, SD 57262

Must be submitted by 4:00 pm on Friday October 15, 2020


Requesting Bids

Requesting sealed proposals for:

The VMYC/Youth Lodge is looking for a Project Data Specialist for the SOC Expansion and Sustainability Grant: SM-20-007.

The Consultant will provide expertise in the following:

1. Oversee the development of program assessment and tracking tools that will:

a. Monitor Youth Lodge goals and objectives

b. Compile local data for evaluation

c. Determine the impact of program activities and strategies

d. Align with SAMHSA procedures and implementation

2. Develop protocols for procedures for data storage/access/ and use to ensure privacy.

3. Collaborate with VMYC/Youth Lodge staff and Tribal programs in the development of project protocols.

4. Collaborate with VMYC/Youth Lodge in securing positive outcomes for Youth Lodge sustainability.

Assessment and tracking tools will document client, family, and staff needs along with service delivery and expansion, policy changes, and performance measure outcomes. Evaluate services for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Youth Lodge and families. Program evaluation will be foundational in providing and developing services for reunification for our families.

All sealed bids must include and be submitted by October 15, 2020:

Applicants must submit the following as part of their proposal:

1. Bio-sketch or resume of academic credentials, technical competence, experience working with grant(s) applications.

2. Statement of qualifications, competence, and capacity to perform the scope of work.

3. Minimum qualifications

a. Master's Degree

b. Minimum 5 years' experience working with Tribal Nations

Required Documentation:

1. Copy of SWO Business License, if proposal is approved.

2. Must be able to pass a federal background check, if approved.

Length of Contract:

Applicant must be available for the duration of the federal grant.


Is outlined in the SAMHSA Systems of Care Expansion and Sustainability Grant: SM-20-007, if approved.

Contact the SWO Procurement Office for specifications:

Please submit sealed proposals to:

SWO Procurement Office

Attn: Lennie Peters

PO BOX 509

Agency Village, SD 57262

Must be submitted by 4:00 pm on Friday October 15, 2020




Request for Proposals

Purpose Statement

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Head Start Program is seeking a person or company to provide Early Childhood Mental/Behavioral Health Services. This project will begin October 8, 2020 and will not be extended beyond June 30, 2020.

Potential applicants interested in performing the services described below should submit sealed proposals to the attention of "SWO Head Start Behavior Health", Lennie Peters, Procurement Office, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, P.O. Box 509, Agency Village, South Dakota 57262. To be considered, the proposal must be received no later than October 7th, 2020 at 4:00 pm.

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation is a sovereign and federally recognized Indian Tribe. All proposals must include recognition that contractual agreements and work shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws and courts of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. Irrespective of any language to the contrary in the RFP, subsequent agreements or elsewhere, no right to arbitration of any controversy or claim arising out of or related to the Agreement will be authorized.

All interested parties acknowledge that any Agreement executed and performed within the Tribe's exclusive jurisdiction is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Tribal Court of Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation. All interested parties acknowledge that they must comply with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Ordinances: TERO Chapter 59 Requirements, Wage Rates & Compliance Plan; Business License Ordinance Chapter 53 and Tax Ordinance Chapter 67; and Chapter 75 Sex Offender Registration.

A Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Business License must be obtained on notification of awarded proposal before execution of contract.

FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION OF the duties performed.

Agrees to perform the services to Head Start and Early Head Start Programs of the Sisseton Wahpeton Head Start and Early Head Start Program. As specified in Scope of Services section of this Request for Proposal.


· Conduct professional development training for the 2020-2021 on behavior health to Head Start staff.

· Provide onsite general classroom observations and consultations regarding the children's behaviors, adult/child interactions, classroom atmosphere, and care giver relationships. There are eight (8) Head Start classrooms and five (5) Early Head Start classrooms. A minimum of two observations will be done for each classroom per school year fall and spring.

· Provide written and verbal communication to the Disabilities Manager and Education Manager concerning these observations within 20 working days after their completion.

· If a change in the classroom needs to be made immediately then the Education Manager will be notified the day of the observation in person, by email, or by phone.

· Teach and model skills onsite to staff and parents as needed and authorized by the Director.

· Conduct observations of specific children referred by West Head Start, Enemy Swim Head Start or Early Head Start personnel with informed parental consent. These observations may be in classroom or on a home visit. Provide written and verbal communication of the results of the observations to the Disabilities Manager and Education Manager. The Disabilities Manager will convey the results to parents, Teachers, Teachers' Aides, Education Manager and other Specialists, as needed.

· Be available to Disabilities Manager, Education Manager, EHS/HS Director and Mentor/Coach Teacher to respond to classroom staff's concerns about enrolled children and families.

· Be available for additional professional development trainings of Head Start staff and parents on how to promote pro-social behaviors, foster relationships, and improve communication as needed and authorized by the Director.

· Participate in the Head Start Health Services Advisory Committee that meets monthly. The contract performance period is as follows:

Shall commence performance of the contract on October 14, 2020 and shall complete performance to the satisfaction of SWHS no later June 30, 2021.

Shall adhere to the dates and performance timelines specified in the Scope of Services.

Applicants must submit the following as a part of their proposal:

1. Bio-sketch or resume of academic and professional credentials, technical competence experience, and expertise.

2. Work plan to perform the scope of work delineating deliverable and timeline for completion.

3. Incremental payment schedule that is based on completion of deliverables delineated in the work plan.

Required Documents.

1. Statement of qualifications, competence, and capacity to perform the scope of work.

2. Abide by the laws, policies of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation shall govern proposal, contracts and work.

3. Copy of SWO Business License.



Request for Proposals

Enemy Swim Day School is soliciting bids for a cleaning contractor to provide janitorial services. Our school, located at 13525 446th Avenue, Waubay, South Dakota is approximately 65,000 square feet, and in the 2020-21 school year will serve approximately 160 students and 65 staff on a daily basis. We require a contractor to provide the nightly cleaning and complete sanitizing of the school facilities during the school year between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., from October of 2020 to May of 2021. A pre-bid meeting and walk-through will be held on an individual basis, please call Ed Johnson at (605) 947-4606, ext. 3030 to schedule a date and time.

The chosen contractor must be able to provide, at the contractor's own expense, the background clearances required under tribal, state, and federal law for each worker they assign to our facility. We will explain to the contractor how to obtain those clearances. Contractor must also comply with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Business License Ordinance Chapter 53. The Request for Proposals document may be obtained from the Business Office at the Enemy Swim Day School or email Ed Johnson, Facilities Manager, Proposals are due via email to Ed Johnson ( or fax to: (605) 947-4188, mailed or hand-delivered to Ed Johnson, Enemy Swim Day School, Facilities Manager, by 1:00 p.m. on Friday, October 2, 2020.







CASE: D-20-649-448





NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Petitioner's request for a change of name from JEFFERY DAVID MORTENSON to JEFFERY DAVID ISAAC shall be heard before the Honorable Gina Ruggieri, Judge of Tribal Court, in the Courtroom of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Court at Agency Village, South Dakota at 10:00. on the 6TH day of OCTOBER, 2020.

Dated this 10th day of September, 2020.


/s/Gina Ruggieri, TRIBAL COURT JUDGE

ATTEST: Eileen Pfeiffer, Clerk of Courts







CASE: D-20-568-367



And concerning:

PAUL KEEBLE, Petitioner.



NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Petitioner's request for a change of name from JESSALYN JOHNNI KOHL to JESSALYN JOHNNI KEEBLE shall be heard before the Honorable Gina Ruggieri, Judge of Tribal Court, in the Courtroom of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Court at Agency Village, South Dakota at 10: 30 A.M. on the 2ND day of OCTOBER, 2020.

Dated this 2nd day of September, 2020.


/s/Gina Ruggieri, TRIBAL COURT JUDGE

ATTEST: Eileen Pfeiffer, Clerk of Courts







CASE NO: D-20-628-427


DARA HARWOOD, Plaintiff,





Take notice that a hearing will be held at the above named Court, Agency Village, outside the city of Sisseton, County of Roberts, South Dakota, on the of 5th day of October, 2020 at the hour of 11:00 A.M. or as soon thereafter as possible.

You are required to be at the hearing. Upon request, the Clerk will provide you with a copy of the Petition describing the matter.

Dated this 1st day of September 2020.


/s/Gina Ruggieri, TRIBAL COURT JUDGE

ATTEST: Eileen Pfeiffer, Clerk of Courts


Trading Post ads

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

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

Teacher Aide, Enemy Swim Head Start

Project Director, TREE

Project Manager/Data Specialist, Health Administration

DVPI Program Coordinator, Behavioral Health

Teacher Aide (3 positions), Head Start

Teacher, Head Start

Bus Driver/Custodian, Head Start

Special Needs & Mental Health Manager, Head Start

Teacher Aide/Bus Monitor, Head Start

Teacher, Early Head Start

Teacher Aide, Early Head Start

Parole Officer, Department of Parole

In-House Attorney, Tribal Executive Committee

Positions Open Until Filled

Application can be 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).


SWO Fuel Inc.

SWO Fuel is seeking to fill the following position:

Propane Driver/Fuel Tanker Driver (Seasonal)

Position is open until filled. Valid CDL, Hazmat endorsement, current medical card, and must pass a drug test. Must be willing to work over-time as well as weekends and on-call. Please call for an application.



Tiospa Zina Tribal School

Job Openings

Special Education Teacher - $3,000 Signing Bonus

High School Math Teacher (Closing Oct. 9, 2020)

High School Services Coordinator (Closing Oct. 9, 2020)


Bus Monitors

Coaching: Basketball Cheer, Assistant Girls Basketball Coach, Jr. High Assistant Wrestling

Please contact Jennifer Williams, Human Resources Director by email at for more information.

Tiospa Zina Tribal School

PO Box 719

#2 Tiospa Zina Dr.

Agency Village, SD 57262

Phone: (605) 698-3953 Ext. 208

Fax: (605) 698-7686


Browns Valley School

5th Grade Long-Term Substitute

Browns Valley School is seeking a Long-Term Substitute Fifth Grade Teacher from approximately January 6-February 19, 2021. Applicants are required to have a Minnesota Elementary 1-6 License. Application forms may be requested from the district office, 320-695-2103 or downloaded from

Send cover letter, three letters of recommendation, resume, copy of transcripts and current Minnesota teaching license to:

Denise Pikarski, Principal

Browns Valley School

Box N, 118 Church Street

Browns Valley, MN 56219

Open until filled.



Dakota Magic Casino

Job Openings

Foods Department:

Supervisor (Full-Time) Swing

Hotel Department:

Front Desk Clerk (Full-Time) Swing

Night Audit (Full-Time) Graveyard

Room/Laundry Attendant (10 Full-Time) 8:00 am to finish

Housekeeping Department:

Attendant (20 Full-Time or Part-Time) where needed

Marketing Department:

Shift Supervisor (Full-Time) Swing

Security Department:

Officer (2 Full-Time) Rotating

Table Games Department:

Dealer (2 Full-Time) No experience required, will train

Closing Date: October 2, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Starting Wage: D.O.E.

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 Sioux Casino & Hotel

Job Openings

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel is seeking to fill the following position(s):


*MANAGER (1 Full-Time)

GENERAL FUNCTION: Coordinates Human Resources policies and programs with an emphasis On the benefits and payroll areas ensuring that all personnel activities and related functions are in compliance DNGE and Dakota Sioux Casino Policies and Procedures.

REQUIREMENTS: High school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent. Bachelor's degree, preferred, in business administration; four to six years related experience; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Must be familiar with federal, state and tribal agencies that deal with employment. Good working knowledge of legal documents. Must Maintain Confidentiality. Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. Computer experience is required. Supervisory experience and/or training. Must obtain Key Gaming License upon hire. Minimal bending and lifting. Repetitious computer work.

This position will close on October 14, 2020 at 4pm.

Indian Preference will apply / EEO

Contact the Human Resources Department for complete job descriptions at 1-800-658-4717 Ex. 1652.

Two forms of ID are REQUIRED upon hire.

If interested please fill out an application and submit to: Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, Human Resources Department, 16415 Sioux Conifer Road, Watertown, SD 57201.


Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Job Openings

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel is seeking to fill the following position(s):



STARTING WAGE $11.50 plus excellent benefits package!

GENERAL FUNCTION: Staffs the Front Desk to attend to the needs of the guests throughout their stay.

REQUIREMENTS: High School Diploma or GED. Preferred hotel and or accounting experience or equivalent of three to six months related experience and/or training. Excellent interpersonal skills, both in person and on the telephone. Must meet the requirement of a non-gaming license upon hire. (Must be 18 years if age or older)

*FRONT DESK NIGHT AUDITOR (1 Part-Time) Graveyard Shift

STARTING WAGE $11.50 plus excellent benefits package!

GENERAL FUNCTION: Staffs the front desk to attend to the needs of the guests throughout their stay.

REQUIREMENTS: High school graduate or GED equivalent. Preferred hotel and/or accounting experience or equivalent of three to six months related experience and/or training. Excellent interpersonal skills, both in person and on the telephone. Must obtain Non-Gaming License upon hire.

These positions will be open until filled.

Indian Preference will apply / EEO

Contact the Human Resources Department for complete job descriptions at 1-800-658-4717 Ex. 1652.

Two forms of ID are REQUIRED upon hire.

If interested please fill out an application and submit to: Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, Human Resources Department, 16415 Sioux Conifer Road, Watertown, SD 57201.



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