sota on-line masthead


Picture Picks of the Week

Don't miss out -- Click here
View the best pictures from this week's Sota
In full color!


Link to TEAB Executive candidates forum - Ocrt. 23, 2018

Link to TEAB Tribal Chair candidates forum - May 14, 2019

Link to KXSW Reznet videos here.

Wind River Water Code adapted for Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe (draft)

  Obituaries Editorials Editor's column Education
Trading post



Volume 51 Issue No. 5

Anpetu Iyamni, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020

Inside this Edition –

Recurring blizzard conditions cause road closures, Tribal offices, schools to shut down

Cybersecurity tips from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security CISA website

Turquoise Tuesday "Pappy Hour" rescheduled to Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 28

Sixth in a series: Winter 2019 general council reports

WWKMHCC hosting "Patient Appreciation Day" Wednesday, Feb. 5

Trump administration approves KXL pipeline

Reminder: Deadline for receiving copy is Friday noon

Recurring storms close roads, shut down Tribal offices and schools

By CD Floro

Sota Editor

We have been hoping that the Lake Traverse Reservation, as well as the entire Great Plains, might avoid re-occurrence of the tumultuous storms that played havoc with Tribal business and school days last year.

Certainly not, we have hoped, a repeat of the winter of 1996-97.

That was a disastrous time in recent history.

But the past couple of weeks have not bolstered confidence in that hope.

As of this writing, however, temperatures have moderated, roads are open, and schedules are running on time.

We'd like to thank everyone who was out assisting others during the storms.

There are many, including unsung heroes who volunteer when needed, but high on the list are our Tribal Law Enforcement, Emergency Management, and Tribal Roads workers.

Special thanks to those who went out in the worst of conditions to ensure that dialysis patients got to their life-sustaining treatments.

Jeremy Red Eagle completes SWC apprenticeship, named DLI Director

Jeremy Red Eagle recently completed his two-year apprenticeship within the SWC Dakota Studies Department and has been named as the new Director of the SWO Dakota Language Institute.

We are proud of Jeremy's accomplishments and excited for him as he moves into his new role.

Jeremy started learning Dakota at SWC back in 2014 when our Dakota Language Teaching Certificate was first created.

His first teacher here was Kunsi Phyllis Roberts.

In addition to obtaining his Dakota Language Teaching Certification, extensive training as a Dakota Arts educator, and being announced as Mr. AIHEC 2016, Jeremy has played a key role in the development of Dakota language and arts programming at SWC.

Jeremy continues to work with us as an adjunct instructor.

If you are just beginning your journey learning Dakota, know that, though it is difficult, it is possible and it is worth it!

For more information on Dakota language programming at SWC and to learn about how to join the Dakota language revitalization movement, please contact us at 605-698-3966 or visit our website at

From Jeremy:

Hau, Mitakuyapi, Jeremy Red Eagle emakiyapi. Unkanna Able Hopkins tiwahe twag etanhan wau. Tiwahe mitawa Toka nuwan hetanhanpi tka mis Montana heciya icahmayapi. Sahiyena oyanke ed icahmayapi. Toka nuwn ed omawapi.

Hekta waniyetu sakpe ced hehan ded wahdi ecins Dakota ia umaspe wacin.

Wanna waniyetu sakpe unspemiciciye. Hekta hehan SWC Dakota Language program owape.

Anpetu iyohi kanpi ob wowahdake.

Heced unspemiciciye.

Misina Orsen Bernard ga kunsi Phyllis odota unspemakiyapi.

Nakun Deksi Delbert Pumpkin Seed, Spencer Wanna, Harvey Quinn, Vine Marks, Joe Williams ga tunwin Caroline Blackthunder unspemakiyapi.

Hena owahdusice hehan omakiyapi heun nina piwade.

Hinah kitannah sdodwaye tka anpetu iyohi unspemiciciye.

Wanna SWC ed wahdustan.

Owasinna ob htawani hena, wopida tanka icicyapi.

Wanna Dakota Language Institute owape. Oyate itancan kin makahniga heun DLI program awabdake kte.

Tammy DeCoteau Waniyetu ota ed htani.

Takuku ota obe tokca skan ce tka, De Dakod iapi nina tehinda ga tanyan awayanka, heun wopida tanka icicya.

Sixth in a series –

SWO Winter 2019 general council reports

The Winter 2019 general council was held Thursday and Friday, December 19 and 20. As in past years, your Sota is publishing summaries of program reports over coming weeks. For more information, including financials, see the general council booklet, Tribal Education Department booklet, and other distributed reports submitted too late to be included in the booklets. Copies are available through the Tribal Chairman's office.

This week's article continues on the morning of day two, which featured reports from programs under the office of Tribal Secretary Myrna Thompson.

Elder Joe Williams gave the morning prayer, which he prefaced with the following story:

"I sat here the last few days," he said, "how was I going to address my prayer."

He said that "an old Indian story" came to his mind, from many years ago.

"The father-in-law asked his son-in-law to go hunting before there were any guns, many, many years ago."

"So they went hunting."

"The only weapon they had was a knife."

"They scared up a deer."

"They chased that deer and the old father-in-law was out of breath."

"He stopped, told his son-in-law to go after that (deer)."

"The father-in-law looked and saw his son-in-law hanging onto the tail of the deer and they went over the hill."

"The father-in-law got his breath and went over."

"He's seen his son-in-law and he was out of breath."

"All he can do is point."

Joe explained that the old father-in-law, after getting over the hill, out of breath, saw that the son-in-law had gotten the deer with the knife.

"He got that for the people to eat."

"That's an old Indian story."

"I thought about that the last few days."

"And I thought I'd share that story with all of you sitting here."

"What the young man did to feed the people, by the advice of the father-in-law, I see with these tribal programs here."

"You, individually, not the employee, are feeding the people with advice, with all of these programs."

"We have over 50 programs here."

"You look at the programs, and it's like the old story I've just told you."

"I thought about that and this is my prayer for all of you, that you can help the people and feed the people, even though we have issues sometimes."

Chairman Donovan White, addressed the people next.

"Good morning, everybody."

"Welcome to our final day of general council."

"I apologize for having to leave yesterday."

"My oldest daughter is struggling with addiction like a lot of our kids are, so I'm working on that."

"Drugs and alcohol effect all of us, especially meth destroying our families."

"I mentioned this yesterday."

"As a tribe we have to do more."

"Meth and other drugs are destroying our families and our communities, our homes."

"Like I stated yesterday, I've met all the senators, representatives, attorney generals of both states and we're asking for help."

"But it doesn't come fast enough, does it?"

"So, we need to look at taking care of our own."

"Since I took office, just about every meeting we've had, we've talked about needing a long-term treatment center."

"Meth is a devastating, devastating drug and it's hard because you don't recognize your family when they're on it."

"They will lie."

"They will steal."

"They will do everything," he said.

"It's not that they don't love you, it's that the drug has taken over their being."

"We can't wait for BIA and the government to help us, we're going to have to do it ourselves."

The Chairman turned attention to the need for a new jail.

"We are hopefully going to finally get our drawdown and we can hire an A&E firm," he said.

"We can start planning, moving forward with breaking ground on our jail."

"One of my degrees is in criminal justice," he said, "and locking our people up and throwing them in prison is not the cure for helping our families and loved ones with addiction."

"We are moving forward with the new prosecutor and we want to look at the treatment model, rehabilitation."

"We have got to give our loved ones a chance."

"Given that chance, they'll come back."

"We have a lot of counselors, alcohol and drug counselors, who've been there before and they know what we need."

"We need to move forward expeditiously with the jail, but more importantly with long-term treatment."

"We have to support … we've got to have the facilities in place to support our people when they get out of treatment and get out of prison."

"If we don't do that, the circle continues."

The Chairman said there is still "a long way to go" and pointed out that "We've got to save money, put money away."

"We need long-term treatment, and if we've got to pay for it ourselves, we'll do it."

He said he thinks "this Council has been on board to do that."

"As I stated yesterday, we are trying to get out of debt."

"We have not done any major spending."

"The only major spending we've been doing is to pay the past administration's debt."

"To be able to help our people, we have to be able to stabilize our tribal government and our finances and we're doing that."

Chairman White deviated from the program and called on Russell Smith to come forward.

"I was going to wait until later, but am going to do this … honoring."

"As most of you know, we opened up our shelter in town, our warming house, to keep our people alive during the winter months."

"We have also contributed to the Drop-In (Center)."

"We are hoping that Dawn (Ryan) can get that open as soon as possible."

"But I want to honor Russell Smith," he said.

"If you don't know Russell, every day he checks on our homeless."

"Where are you?"

"You need food?"

"He has got one of the biggest hearts, cante, here on our reservation."

"And he's been doing this for years, people."

Russell was gifted with a star quilt.

Afterwards, reports were given for programs under the office of the Tribal Secretary.

SWO Tribal Secretary Myrna Thompson addressed the Oyate.

"This is my first general council report … I am going to start out by giving you a recap of 2019," she said.

"I appreciated your support this past year."

"It been an honor to serve the Oyate."

"It's been a challenging and a rewarding year."

"I enjoyed serving all of you."

Myrna talked about last January's polar vortex, which "brought a lot of things to a standstill."

"People were snowbound."

"Tribal offices were closed for many days."

"Those that could, would get to work and continue the tribal business (to) keep it flowing."

"Then, we had the government shutdown."

"The government shutdown made hardships for many of our own tribal members."

"The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate reached out and assisted the tribal members monetarily through agreements."

"In our first staff meeting, we initiated a data-driven reporting format for all the programs, for the purpose of accountability and transparency related to the services that they provide."

"These reports are submitted to Tribal Council monthly and are distributed to the district membership by their respective Tribal Council members."

"Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate has many, many services, many resources, but for that collective impact we need to get more structured."

"The Health and Education program managers are the experts in their field of work," she said.

"They have a strong work ethic and they hold themselves and their staff to a high standard of accountability in the services provided to the community."

"We strive to continually improve services to the people in the community, as well as attempt to close the gaps in services not being provided but identified as a need."

"I am very proud of the work they do and the services they provide."

Myrna said that "continued support of the Education systems is vitally important."

"Education is the key to our independence."

"By growing our own human capital according to our business needs, encouraging self-sufficiency and job security, we will build our sovereign nation one person at a time."

"Not only that," she said, "Education is the key to prevention."

"Prevention of poverty. "

"Prevention of incarceration."

"Prevention and education of sex trafficking."

"Prevention of alcohol and drug abuse, tobacco use, social media, gaming, addictions."

"Prevention of intimate partner violence."

"Prevention of racism, teenage pregnancies, bullying."

"The list goes on," she said.

"There are many single-parent households."

"What are those issues?" she asked.

Myrna talked about children in those homes.

"As our future leaders, they need the education on more topics that encourage good decision making."

"In today's society they are subjected to more violence in the schools, more sexual explicit information from the Internet and television."

"Are parents monitoring and putting parental controls on their cell phones, their iPads?"

"If this education is happening, is the information being shared and where is that being shared?"

"When I campaigned," she said, "I campaigned on promoting sovereignty and the protection of all of our tribal citizens."

"This year I have stressed to leadership at every opportunity, that we must exert our sovereign authority to govern ourselves as a non-IRA tribe."

"I feel strongly that we must protect our people from the abuses of the systems of injustice."

"Our people, adults and youth are over-represented in the jails and the prisons."

"This is also an epidemic and incarceration perpetuates addictions and homelessness."

"One of the issues that was recently brought up to the attorney general was the federal-sentencing guidelines, the racism that we are faced with, the racial profiling."

"We need to identify those laws, those things that hurt our people and we need to make changes to them, to those guidelines."

"One of the initiatives that I campaigned on was to bring … trauma-informed care … to our community in our education systems, our programs, our service providers."

"A one-day training was held on November 15th and it was sponsored by the Tribal Secretary's Office, Child Protection Program, and the Casey Family Foundation and Dr. Darell Tonemah was here and the Casey Family Foundation paid for that."

"We are presently seeking to bring a bigger trauma-informed care event to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate next spring."

"One of the other topics was an advocacy program."

"This has not materialized, but it is identified as a need."

"The vision is to have a legal advocate, a health/medical advocate and education advocate."

"The Judicial Committee is the body and place to advocate for the people's right to know."

"And to ensure community input in any new or revised laws that will impact the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate members."

"And a lot of people may not know that, but when there's new laws created, there must be community input because it is the community that is impacted by the laws.

"One of the discussions with the Youth Center Program Director is a safe house for students such as a child-care center."

"That discussion is underway, but years ago the Tribe did have a child-care center and that's where Child Protection would bring the kids if there were no foster homes in those emergency situations, and that's where they would stay and go to school from there."

"There's a lot of hungry kids in our community."

"Tiospa Zina will be feeding this summer and the Youth Center will also be feeding."

"They're trying to figure out a way to also send food home with the kids on the weekends, little lunch packs."

"Another issue that comes up now and then is the elderly food coupons."

"We have one person that is responsible for getting the elderly food coupons prepared for mailing and the admin assistant and the TSO helps her, but this month alone and December, we have 2,139 elders."

"That's 2,134 coupons that have to be prepared for the elderly and the off reservation are 1,285 that have to be mailed out."

"They're working very hard to try to get the elderly coupons mailed out to the off-reservation elders."

"I can't stress enough that these coupons are for food."

"That's initially why they were given to the elderly … to assist them with food."

Myrna pointed out that the coupons may impact elders' Social Security benefits, and "our legal representative is checking into that."

She said that the "…General Welfare Exclusion Act should prevent any social service agency from counting that as income and taking their Social Security away."

The Tribal Secretary introduced her staff, including a new employee "under a grant called the Tribal Management Grant under the Department Of Health And Human Services."

"Her title is Department Director."

"Leah Fryten."

"She is our new staff person."

"She was selected by the Personnel Committee and started work on December 12th.

Myrna read from a bio:

"Leah is a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe."

"She has 30 plus years of tribal government experience working in the executive/administrative capacity."

"In addition to working for her own tribe, she has worked for the Lower Sioux Indian Community as tribal administrator and for the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation as executive director of the Fort Berthold Housing Authority."

"Leah served eight years as tribal secretary for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe."

"She also served as the Great Plains Representative for the National Indian Health Board and served on the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board."

"Prior to coming to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Leah was the chief executive officer for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Health Center and assisted the tribe in building a new health clinic through a joint venture project with Indian Health Service."

"Leah has a Bachelor's Degree In Business Administration from the University of South Dakota."

"She has three children and seven grandchildren who are members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and descend from Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate."

"She will be looking at the processes and developing MOAs, and looking at the possibility of 638 contracting a portion of the IHS."

"Her position will help develop structure and bring that strength and collective impact to the health programs and the services that we provide."

Myrna said, "I am very proud of my staff."

"I believe I have a very strong and knowledgeable staff, and they're a hardworking staff."

"The Tribal Secretary's Office if you haven't noticed in the monthly report, the summary is put in the Tribal newspaper, but we range anywhere from 200 to over 300 visits per month in the Tribal Secretary's Office and well over 200 phone calls."

"We are very busy at all times."

"We don't take lunch a lot or we eat right there, but we have an open-door policy."

"And since we started, we required that all the service-providing programs have open-door policy even during lunch-time.

"The programs were encouraged to rotate their lunches, so we can be available for the people that come for assistance during their lunch breaks."

The Tribal Secretary turned attention to a cause she has supported for many years.

"I believe there are changes that need to be made with the incarceration of our people."

"We are under attack," she said.

"Our sovereignty has been under attack for a long time and incarcerating our people for ingestion is wrong because addiction is a brain disease."

"It's no different from diabetes or cancer, and why are we treating it with a punitive manner by incarcerating our people, rather than helping them and rehabilitation centers and treatment centers?"

"We need to create a deferred-sentencing guideline," she said.

"We did fight to lower the ingestion in the tribal code to a misdemeanor."

"But it's only a misdemeanor for the first two ingestions."

"Meanwhile. a lot of our people are shipped off to Arizona, Oklahoma, Lower Brule, Standing Rock under the ingestion code, the Controlled Substances Act," she said.

"And it's just wrong.'"

"Our people have suffered while they were incarcerated and people don't want to talk about that, but we had a tribal member get beaten up in Standing Rock."

"He was there for ingestion."

"So we need to look at that because we're incarcerating them."

"And it's a known fact that when our people are incarcerated, it diminishes their mental state."

"And meanwhile they're incarcerated, they still need to come home and we don't have any transitional services in place for them and we're perpetuating our social problems here."

"When we have our own people hurting our own people by helping to incarcerate our people, something's wrong with that picture."

"Why are we doing that to our own people?"

"Why are we hurting them?"

"Why aren't we helping them?" she asked.

"We have a lot of people that even went to federal prison for white collar crimes."

"This is a nonviolent crime."

"This should be prosecuted in our own tribal court."

"We need to take some measures," she said.

"And I might be the only one with this line of thinking, but it's a line of thinking that is going to help our people and build our sovereignty."

"We're giving our sovereignty away … wen we can't prosecute our own people in our own tribal court for these nonviolent crimes."

"We need to change that."

Myrna called for "legislation to lower the federal sentencing guidelines for one thing, but also to identify those white collar crimes, those crimes involving money and prosecute them in our own tribal court."

"Get our restitution here locally."

"Why do we turn over our people to the feds for $1,000 crime or more?"

She said, "Those are my thoughts and my thoughts only."

"I am not speaking for the Tribal Council."

"But I have spoken to them about this."

"And when the attorney general came to Tribal Council, I told him about South Dakota's racism, the racial profiling that goes on here."

"I said, 'And why can't we prosecute our own people in our tribal court?'"

"We're a treaty tribe, but we're acting like an IRA tribe or a 280 tribe and letting the state and the federal government our people and that's my passion because our people need help."

"They need a voice."

"We have over-incarceration of our juvenile Native Americans, our Native American juveniles from this tribe and all tribes in South Dakota."

"Not just South Dakota, South Dakota and North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming."

In this region, she said, is "… over-incarceration of Native American youth."

"We have over-incarceration of Native American adults."

"Even though the prisons are overcrowded, the state continues to send them to prison, so they put them wherever, even if it's in solitary confinement, that's where they'll put them, and that's real but that has to change."

"We need to quit hurting our own people."

"We need to make some changes through Senator Rounds office, the Department of Justice and the State of South Dakota."

"We need to take a stand for our people," she said.

"As leaders, we should be protecting our people from these abuses of these systems of injustice."

"That is the message I have today … we want to continue to move forward, but the overall mission of the Tribal Secretary's Office who oversees the health and education programs, is to make that difference in our community."

"To hold those programs accountable, to give the services to our people that they deserve and need, and to become more knowledgeable about trauma."

"Because we come from historical trauma and (in studies) that is in our DNA."

"We can carry that for centuries, but we need to think of our future generations."

"We need to combat the addictions but not through incarceration, through rehabilitation and treatment."

"So if we can get the parents well, the children will be okay."

"The domestic violence … all comes back to education."

"And we have a strong Education Department here that does a lot of work."

Myrna thanked the staff, saying "We are a team."

"We are truly a team."

"I can say that because we're all pulling forward at the same time and with the same effort, and that's what it takes to make a difference because we work hard together."

"Together we'll make a difference."

Next, the Tribal Secretary honored long-time caretaker of foster children and adopted children from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Betty Ward of Wilmot, SD.

"She (Betty) said she has never been important like this before," said Myrna.

"But she is a very important person."

"Betty Ward became a foster parent in the early 6's through the State and cared for Native American children from and around the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe."

"She adopted Chuck Ward in 1962."

"When the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe established its own child welfare system, Betty's was one of the first licensed foster homes for the SWO."

"Betty has cared for hundreds of children of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate with a desire to care for the special needs children with disabilities."

 "When I talked to Betty, she said the Lord put this in her heart to do this and she enjoyed every minute of it."

"She found great gratification from helping the children, from serving the children."

"So, Betty, today we honor you with sincere appreciation for your 50 years of dedication as a foster parent to the children of the Lake Traverse Reservation."

"We thank you for loving our children, for healing the hurt and guiding the lost."

"And today we want to honor her with a star quilt and a plaque and a monetary gift."

Betty responded, saying "It was fun and I enjoyed it all."

"The Lord put it in there and my husband … fell right into it too."

"I never figured, when I was changing all those diapers and feeding all those bottles, that I'd ever be standing up here and be special."

"But I loved everything that I did, I loved the kids and I tried to help them so they were ready to go back home to their parents."

"And anytime I could see them … one day I had a little boy stop, not too long ago, his dad (had) him run up to the house to tell me thanks for taking care of him and that surprised me."

"Then we have got some that we kept, too (adopted)."

"It has been a pleasure to be able to do this for the Tribe and for the little kids."

"I loved every minute of it, I never thought I'd be standing up here though, but I loved it."

Mickey Divine, Child Protection Program Manager, took the microphone.

"I want to encourage anybody that wants to be a foster parent to please contact our office."

She mention "the issues" including "the drug issue … is so severe that the length of time that the children are in care has gone from four months to a year."

"So we're always looking for foster parents."

"We look at some of the relatives today that just are not willing to care for their takoja's anymore because they don't want to deal with the drugs, or the relative that is doing the drugs."

"So I really, really want to encourage anybody that wants to be a foster parent to please contact our office and come in and we will help you with that process."

"Betty has taken in hundreds of children from our tribe and has cared for them, and the children are all grown and have children of their own and they still contact Betty and talk with Betty."

"She has impacted so many lives here and we just want to say thank you, thank you for everything."

Betty responded, "You are welcome, it's what I enjoy doing, I enjoyed it."

Next came the Elderly Affairs annual report.

Tribal Elderly Affairs

Home Health Program

Annual report

There was no written report provided this year; Barb Simon read from a report provided by Program Manager Bonnie Thompson.

"Elderly Affairs and Home Health Care," she read, "are part of the same health care providers."

"We place our emphasis on quality care for our elderly and disabled members."

"The Elderly Affairs office continues to provide medical transportation to both elderly and non-elderly tribal members who are eligible for contract health from IHS."

"Medical transportation requests are now handled by Sharon Hopkins, who is the Data Clerk."

"(By) the end of September 2019 a total of $227,000,192 was spent for medical assistance."

"The program will continue to provide these services to tribal members as long as we receive funding from IHS."

"The Elderly Affairs office follows up on any reports of elderly abuse and neglect," she said, "with appropriate documents from law enforcement agencies."

"These are reported to our committee, which consists of the chief of police, three Elderly Board members, Tribal attorney, Council reps, and a representative from Elderly Affairs office."

She said there are eight employees working in the office, "one LPN, two health care workers, one data clerk, one admin assistant, and the program manager.

"The LPN may continue home visits, monitor elders' health conditions by checking blood pressure, oxygen level, and sugar readings if a person is diabetic."

"Also provides health education and early intervention for the onset of various medical conditions."

The process is designed to "alleviate" or "postpone" the necessity of someone going into a nursing home but helping with "appropriate nursing home placement."

She reported there are currently 27 Tribal members who are residents in nursing homes.

Barb turned to the Home Health Program.

"This program provides services to elders and disabled members with activities of daily living as well as housekeeping duties."

She reported statistics from the three Home Health workers for FY 2019:

M. Shepherd: 283

Donna James: 393

Arlene Spider: 143

Fern Backer: 299

She extended thanks to Council and the Executives for supporting the program.

Elderly Nutrition Program

Annual report

Linda Obago-Nicolar, Manager, gave the Elderly Nutrition Program annual report.

"I have been with the Elderly Nutrition Program," she said, "for eight weeks, counting today."

She talked about the staff.

"Rita Finely is the head cook, and she's been with us 17 years."

"Bernie Kohl has been with the program for four years."

"Mary Keeble, 10 years."

"Jacob DeMarrias, nine years."

"Darrell Renville, 15 years."

"We have a very dedicated staff, I'm very humbled to be able to spend my days with them and help prepare and feed the people."

"Some of you may not know we provide meals, home delivered meals, for the elderly."

"We are planning to have training sessions for the elderly and the family, as well as activities."

Linda talked about what she would like to see … "a library, a computer area, a health and exercise area, and a place to play games."

"Because the whole point is getting the elderly to use both sides of their brains, as an aid to ward off dementia, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's."

She talked about everyday things that could be done "every day to help the elderly, as well as ourselves."

"I can see a group with a lot of history in it and a lot of talent that can be shared."

"Every day the elderly come in to eat," she said, "I look at all the stories and look at all the history."

She said, "We have a lot of information about our leaders, but we have hardly any history about the rest of the elders."

"We need to tap into everyone's life and story and share it for the future of the kids and our grandkids."

"We all have major things that we've accomplished and we all need to be proud of ourselves."

"Myrna was talking about trauma," she said.

"We've all been affected by trauma and the main thing is to learn about it, deal with it and heal from it."

"We can heal ourselves, our children, our grandchildren."

"We all deserve a good, healthy, emotionally healthy life."

"I don't want to sound bad or negative, but we have some major issues down there."

"We need a sprinkler system, we need reliable vehicles."

"And one of the main things I desperately would like to see happen is a phone system."

"Right now our phones … we cannot take messages."

"Our system is very old."

Linda would like see a telephone system similar to what Sisseton Wahpeton College has so, "We can make a call and it goes out to everybody, so we can keep people informed and, in a good way, to check on people."

"One of the sad things is that many of our elderly suffer from isolation, emotional isolation."

"They don't have enough people coming to visit them, they don't have enough people coming to talk to them, to find out how they're doing."

"It's kind of like the same thing for the elderly in Tekakwitha and (other) nursing homes."

"Family doesn't go visit them and that's sad."

"We need to be true Dakotas and take care of our elderly."

She cited some of the statistics from the written report (see below).

"The staff is at six o'clock in the morning cooking … during the winter days, and this is something I really wanted to share because it really tugged at my heart when I started."

"When work is called off for two hours, 10 hour late start, the staff still comes in and they still cook."

"And so when work is off for the day, the staff still needs to try to deliver that food, go back and clean up and then still try to get home safe."

"A lot of you don't realize that or know that."

"Our staff love the people, they love their elders, you can see that by for the length of service they've been in the program."

Linda talked about an event planned for January 2nd, when elders were invited to come to the Elderly Center "to start the new year off with prayer … at the noon meal."

"To start out in a good way, to remember who we are, where we come from, and the things that we've accomplished and the things that we've yet to be."

"We have an awesome, awesome group of people, we're very lucky to be who we are and where we are."

"We need to move forward with positivity, respect, and kindness for each other."

She mentioned that when there is extra food, the staff calls Russell Smith, who comes and takes it to those who are in need.

"He has done that as long as I know, on his own."

"He never asked to be compensated for anything."

"He loves his people."

"We all need to follow his role."

Linda said she wants "to make sure everything is in the paper … the menus, the schedules, any information that we have to share."

She said the program is now sending information with the home-bound meals to keep those elders "in touch and up to date with everything happening in the community and to show that they are respected for their opinions and for who they are."

"At our Christmas party," she said, "John (Heminger) came to take pictures."

"I am so thankful he did, because we do not know how long we are going to be here."

"We take that for granted."

"So, any pictures you see are from John and what he thought needed to happen, and I'm glad he did."

"I ask you to pray for the elderly."

"I ask that you pray for the sick and the suffering, those fighting for their lives."

"I ask that you pray for the MMIW … many of them are considered elders know, and they're still not home."

From the written report:


Linda Obago-Nicolar, Manager

Angel Wanna, Secretary/Data Entry Clerk

Rita Finley, Head Cook

Bernadette Kohl, Assistant Cook

Mary Keeble, Assistant Cook

Jacob DeMarrias, Head Van Driver/Maintenance

Darrell Renville, Van Driver/Maintenance

Program Summary and Responsibilities:

*Prepare congregate and home delivered meals for our elders?

*Organize variety of center based training sessions for elders and their families?

*Arrange social activities at the center and in the 5 elder complexes located in the districts on Lake Traverse.

Program needs:

1. Unmet Needs. Sprinkler System not working. Find Contractor to fix it.

2   Ongoing Issues or Struggles:

a. Sewer problems. Funds to determine problem source

b. Reliable vehicles. b. Funds/donations needed.

FY 2019 accomplishments:

1. Provided meals to elders on the Reservation. 40,698 plus meals served and delivered.

2. Dedicated, long term employees. 805 meals delivered (Mon-Fri)-aided in social isolation.

Looking ahead to FY 2020:

1. Planning to increase center activities for elders. Number of elders attending events.

2. Establish Tai Chi exercise program. Elders participating

Tribal Enrollment

Annual report

Zelma Flute gave the Tribal Enrollment annual report.

She explained that her office provides monthly enrollment and district voting roster reports to Tribal Council, and quarterly reports to the Finance office for distributions.

And reports to Tribal programs.

"We generate specific data for programs via written requests."

"We send our hand out applications as requested on a daily basis," she said.

"We assist with written requests for assistance from ICWA, social services, education programs, schools, and health entities, Bureau of Indian affairs, agencies and tribal enrollment offices nationwide."

"Our reporting schedule is monthly with the new enrollments, relinquishment, the district reports and district rosters."

"We report at the winter general council every year."

"We do updates, statistics and we have to keep track of the voting rosters for the distributions."

She said that her office accepts data reports for programs for funding for grants.

"Sometimes it's last minute … we get contacted and get it done for them."

"We have a lot of communication from social services centers."

"A lot of our children that are out there, and you know that's our tiwahe and … we should really take care of our children and our families."

Zelma called it "one of our number one issues."

"Our children aren't really looked after."

"This year I see lot of activity through social services … ICWA cases…."

"There is sex trafficking, child trafficking," she said.

"We read those reports and it's … scary."

She cautioned the Oyate, "You should watch over your families and your children that are out there, away from the reservation."

"You don't know what goes on out there."

She called the situation "critical" and "We really need to look after our children."

"That's my biggest concern."

"And our elderly."

"Our elderly are home bound."

"Like Linda (Obago-Nicolar) said, 'we have to really take care of our families.'"

From the written report:


Zelma D. Flute, Enrollment Officer

Jennifer L. Adams, Enrollment Clerk

Jason C. Adams, Enrollment File Clerk

Program Summary and Responsibilities:

*Monthly Enrollment Exhibit and District Voting Roster reports to Tribal Council

*Quarterly Reports to Finance Mgr. for District Distributions

*Data reports to numerous various SWO Programs

*Generate specific data for programs via written requests.

*Send or hand out applications as requested on a daily basis.

*Send or hand out Enrollment Certifications as requested on a daily basis

*Assist with written requests for assistance from ICWA, Social Services, Education Programs, Schools, Indian Health entities, Bureau of Indian Affairs agencies and Tribal Enrollment Offices nation-wide.


1. Unmet Needs. Upgrade our computer setup. Not to cut our budget as is.

2. Ongoing Issues / Struggles Space Cost increases. Indirect Cost as is.

FY 2019 accomplishments:

1. Intertribal communication better with email between Enrollment offices. Good relationship with the Social Services and schools nationwide. Researching and/or compiling blood lines & degrees is quicker and accurate. This helps us to assist relatives with custody issues.

2. Our Progeny 10 makes it easier to compile specific reports for the programs and entities. Compile quicker reports for programs that submit their grants (some last minute requests).

Looking ahead to FY 2020:

Getting new computers as our program was upgraded but our computers are slow. IT Department will upgrade our old computers as we do not have the funding source.

Program Statistics:



TOTAL: 14,293

2019: Applications sent or handed out: 775 Applications

New Enrollees: 291 Applicants Approved.

Relinquishments: 09 Relinquishments Approved

Dual Enrollments: 04 Relinquished (above relinquishments)

2019 Deceased Report: 89 Deceased

2019 Tribal ID's sold: 733 Individuals, $3,669 generated for 2019 (into the General Fund)

The Tribe's Education Department and schools were next on the agenda.

Elders are honored on day two of general council

Elders from each of the seven Districts, and from the Tribal employees, were recognized and honored on day two of general council.

Big Coulee District: Rosella Heminger, Pete Owen, Joan Spider.

Buffalo Lake District: Delia Welch Milton Easton.

Heipa: Duane "Randy" LaBelle, Beverly Greeley, Frankie Robertson, Patrice Patnoude.

Lake Traverse District: Sylas Ortley Jr., Pricilla Bartel.

Old Agency District: Emmett Eastman, Naomi Parker, Yvonne Wynde, Phyliss Sellers, Iva Crawford.

Enemy Swim District: Verzella Grey, Raymond Bear Hill.

Long Hollow District: Danny Seaboy, Margaret Yellow Back.

Tribal employees: Donita Goodsell, Arlene Miller, Pamela Johnson, Lorraine German.

Winter 2019 general council reports

Continued in next week's Sota

Gov. Burgum touts accomplishments with ND tribes

By Jack Dura

Bismarck, ND – Jan. 15, 2020 – Gov. Doug Burgum sees accomplishments but more work to do with tribes in North Dakota.

The governor spoke Wednesday at the Strengthening Government to Government Partnerships and Relationships Conference in Bismarck. Leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa also gave remarks on state and tribal government relations and issues facing their tribes -- chiefly addiction.

Burgum, a Republican seeking a second term with Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, described his administration's work with state lawmakers, elected officials and tribes in "a whole-of-government approach towards building stronger relationships." Tribal engagement has been an initiative of his administration.

"To begin tribal engagement, the thing that we did first was to listen," Burgum said, describing his and Cabinet officials' meetings with tribes.

Among the accomplishments with tribes since he took office in December 2016, Burgum counted an oil tax revenue-sharing compact with MHA Nation, updated agreements for child welfare services for Native American families and his display of North Dakota tribal flags in Memorial Hall of the state Capitol.

But Burgum sees more to be done.

"We know that there are serious gaps that still exist," he said. "And we know that each of the tribal nations represented in our state have different challenges and different approaches and different starting points and different opportunities. Each has different needs, whether it's transportation or employment or emergency services or addiction or health care or economic development."

Tribal leaders welcomed the two-day conference for discussing and understanding issues such as addiction, unemployment, youth engagement and the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census on reservations.

"One of the things that I know our people say at home they want -- it's good to visit and leave, but to have something at the end of all of the hard work and the time that's invested," Spirit Lake Tribal Chairwoman Peggy Cavanaugh said. "So that's what I really look forward to.

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Chairman Jamie Azure said including "the next generation" is important. He singled out the Turtle Mountain Youth Council.

"They are setting that foundation for the future," Azure said.

MHA Nation Chairman Mark Fox commended Burgum's efforts to engage with tribes and said, "I consider him a friend." Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Mike Faith presented Burgum with a beaded sheath.

Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen said Burgum's time in office hasn't been entirely rosy for tribal relations.

"While engagement with tribal governments improved in some ways, the governor has overseen a period in which Republicans doubled down on voter suppression policies disproportionately affecting Native Americans," she told the Tribune. "The legislative action and implementation of the restrictive voter ID bill were not made in consultation with tribal governments. The impact of that ongoing disenfranchisement cannot be overlooked."

Burgum expressed his and Sanford's "fullest and highest and unequivocal support" for North Dakota residents' ability to vote.

Keystone XL getting ready to move in Montana

By Renee Jean

Williston Herald – Jan. 22, 2020 – TC Energy is moving ahead with plans to construct the Keystone XL pipeline, and it's getting ready to make a few Montana moves.

Terry Cunha, a spokesman for TC Energy, told the Williston Herald that Keystone XL has reached several key milestones. That prompted the company to file a status report with the U.S. District Court of Montana last week. In it, TC Energy said it would move heavy equipment to storage yards in Montana and South Dakota in February, and would transport and install worker camp modules in both states in April.

The crew camps are all on private property and have already been permitted by the respective states, TC Energy added.

Segments of the pipeline in Montana and South Dakota would be built in August.

The company will also build access roads to pipeline and pump station sites in Montana, South Dakota, and, potentially, Nebraska in April, while segments of the pipeline in Montana and South Dakota would be built in August.

It will build the 1.2 mile segment of Keystone XL that crosses the U.S. Canada border in April — contingent on receiving all necessary permits and authorizations.

Meanwhile, litigation brought by environmental groups and tribal groups continues.

In his latest ruling, Judge Brian Morris in the U.S. District Court of Montana ruled that some of the Rosebud Sioux and Fort Belknap Indian Community's claims are plausible and that the litigation should continue.

He has also denied TC Energy's motion to dismiss an environmental suit over the pipeline project, though the judge also declined to place an injunction on construction.

TC Energy has been trying now to build the beleaguered Keystone XL pipeline for more than a decade.

Originally slated to cost $5 billion, the $8 billion to $10 billion project would carry up to 830,000 barrels per day of bottlenecked oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Midwest. From there it could access refineries and markets on the Gulf Coast.

The pipeline could also, depending on demand, include an on ramp in Baker, Mont., for up to 100,000 barrels per day of Bakken crude oil.

Company officials have so far refused to say whether there are sufficient contracts to build the on ramp, but did confirm it as still part of design specs in 2017, when President Donald Trump first issued the pipeline a permit.

That permit was suspended after an environmental group filed suit, contending environmental studies and other assessments had been insufficient. Morris agreed with the groups and said the government had failed to adequately explain the change in rationale and its benefit to America.

Trump issued a brand new permit in 2019. That mooted the case, but attracted new suits, both from both environmental groups and from two tribal groups, the Rosebud Sioux and the Fort Belknap Indian Community.

Trump Administration approves Keystone XL pipeline

Headline Wealth – AP – Jan. 23, 2020 – The Trump administration on Wednesday approved a right-of-way allowing the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to be built across U.S. land, pushing the controversial $8 billion project closer to construction though court challenges still loom.

The approval signed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and obtained by The Associated Press covers 46 miles (74 kilometers) of the pipeline's route across land in Montana that's controlled by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said Casey Hammond, assistant secretary of the Interior Department.

Those segments of federal land are a small fraction of the pipeline's 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) route, but the right-of-way was crucial for a project that's obtained all the needed permits at the state and local levels.

The pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels (35 million gallons) of crude oil daily from western Canada to terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Project sponsor TC Energy said in a court filing that it wants to begin construction on the U.S.-Canada border crossing in Montana in April. Opponents promised to challenge those plans in court.

First proposed in 2008, the pipeline has become emblematic of the tensions between economic development and curbing the fossil fuel emissions that are causing climate change. The Obama administration rejected it, but President Donald Trump revived it and has been a strong supporter.

The stretch approved Wednesday includes all federal land crossed by the line, Hammond said. Much of the rest of the route is across private land, for which TC Energy has been acquiring permissions to build on.

Environmentalists and Native American tribes along the pipeline route say burning the tar sands oil will make climate change worse, and that the pipeline could break and spill oil into waterways like Montana's Missouri River. They have filed numerous lawsuits.

Hammond said Interior officials and other agencies have done a thorough review of the potential effects on the environment. He said TC Energy had provided detailed plans to respond to any spill.

"We're comfortable with the analysis that's been done," Hammond said.

Another oil pipeline in TC Energy's Keystone network in October spilled an estimated 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil in eastern North Dakota. Critics say a damaging spill from Keystone XL is inevitable given the length of the line and the many rivers and other waterways it would cross beneath.

An attorney for environmental groups that have sued to overturn Trump's permit for the line said they will ask the judge in the case to block the new approval.

"We have every confidence that the federal courts will set aside these approvals," said Steve Volker, who represents the Indigenous Environmental Network.

Additional approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers are needed for the pipeline's impact to Montana's Fort Peck dam. Two utilities must approve power lines that would connect to the project's pumping stations.

On Montana's Fort Peck Reservation, where tribal members fear an oil spill getting into water supplies, state Sen. Frank Smith said Trump's strong support for the project appeared to be pushing it through.

"All we can do is pray from here on in," Smith said. "The president said it's going through, and it's going through."

The Democratic lawmaker added that despite TC Energy's pledge to operate safely, "there can still be human error" and another spill would happen.

TC Energy spokeswoman Sara Rabern said in a statement that the government approval marked an "important step as we advance towards building this important energy infrastructure project."

In Phillips County, Montana, where the line would cross the Canada border into the U.S., officials want the tax revenue on the oil that would pass through, estimated at more than $1 million annually.

"It's a no-brainer for us as far as how the community feels," county commissioner John Carnahan said. "We'd go out there and help them if we could. It's not only good for the county, it's good for America."

U.S. District Judge Brian Morris in Montana initially denied a request from environmentalists to block construction in December because no work was immediately planned. But he also has ruled against the project, including a 2018 decision that stalled the line and prompted Trump to issue a new presidential permit for it to cross the U.S.-Canada border.

In Nebraska, the state Supreme Court removed the last major obstacle for the project in August when it ruled in favor of state regulators who had approved a route for the pipeline in 2017.

TC Energy intends next month to begin mobilizing construction machinery to areas for worker camps and pipeline storage yards in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, according to its court filings. It also plans to start toppling trees along the route in parts of South Dakota.

'Biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen' –

Trump guts safeguards for US streams and wetlands

"This all-out assault on basic safeguards will send our country back to the days when corporate polluters could dump whatever sludge or slime they wished into the streams and wetlands that often connect to the water we drink."

By Jake Johnson – Jan. 23, 2020 – The Trump administration is set to continue its corporate friendly assault on U.S. environmental regulations Thursday by finalizing a rule that will allow companies, landowners, and property developers—including golf course owners like the president—to dump pesticides and other pollutants directly into many of the nation's streams and wetlands, potentially threatening the drinking water of millions of Americans.

"This will be the biggest loss of clean water protection the country has ever seen," Blan Holman, an attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in a statement.

The new measure will roll back Obama-era "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) regulations aimed at ensuring wetlands and streams are protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act, which the Trump Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly targeted despite the president's professed desire for the U.S. to have the "cleanest water" in the world.

"This puts drinking water for millions of Americans at risk of contamination from unregulated pollution," said Holman. "This is not just undoing the Obama rule. This is stripping away protections that were put in place in the '70s and '80s that Americans have relied on for their health."

As the New York Times reported late Wednesday, the Trump rule "will remove federal protections from more than half the nation's wetlands, and hundreds of thousands of small waterways." The measure, which one environmental group dubbed President Donald Trump's "Dirty Water Rule," is expected to be fully implemented in the coming weeks.

"His administration had completed the first step of [the WOTUS regulation's] demise in September with the rule's repeal," the Times noted. "His replacement on Thursday will complete the process, not only rolling back 2015 rules that guaranteed protections under the 1972 Clean Water Act to certain wetlands and streams that run intermittently or run temporarily underground, but also relieves landowners of the need to seek permits that the Environmental Protection Agency had considered on a case-by-case basis before the Obama rule."

Trump and EPA chief Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, touted the rule at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention in Texas on Sunday. But while the White House—and the Times—framed the measure as a "victory for farmers," critics argued the rule will largely benefit big agribusiness and fossil fuel companies, which will soon have even more leeway to pollute U.S. waterways with impunity.

The American Gas Association, a trade group representing more than 200 natural gas companies, swiftly hailed the rule as an industry victory.

Janette Brimmer, an attorney in the Northwest regional office of climate group Earthjustice, said in a statement that the rule further shows "President Trump's administration wants to make our waters burn again."

"This all-out assault on basic safeguards," warned Brimmer, "will send our country back to the days when corporate polluters could dump whatever sludge or slime they wished into the streams and wetlands that often connect to the water we drink."

Rounds Statement on WOTUS Rule

Washington, DC – Jan. 24, 2020 – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today made the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announcement of the replacement for the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule:

"The administration's Navigable Waters Protection Rule gives farmers, ranchers and landowners the clarity they need to know when the Clean Water Act applies to them and when it does not," said Rounds.

"The previous administration's Waters of the U.S. rule, which this rule replaces, was a power grab by the federal government. I'm pleased the EPA is working to protect the rights of landowners rather than infringe upon those rights. It also respects states' rights, recognizing that state and tribal governments have a right to regulate and manage their land and water resources themselves."

President Trump signs Memorializing Veterans Act into law

Law establishes grant program to support the Veterans Legacy Program, helping honor the lives of those who served

Washington, DC – Jan. 24, 2020 – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) made the following statement after legislation he introduced with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) was signed into law by President Trump this week. The new law will establish a grant program to help honor the lives of our nation's veterans.

"I thank President Trump for signing into law our bipartisan bill that establishes a grant program to honor veterans' legacies," said Rounds. "Sharing veterans' stories of service and sacrifice is one way we can encourage the next generation to join the armed forces. Many South Dakotans have proudly served our country, and our legislation will help to preserve their memories so students and communities can learn more about their service and the sacrifices they made for the United States."

"The American Legion is proud to support efforts to properly memorialize America's veterans and educate future generations on the legacy of our nation's heroes. It is imperative that we continue to invest in programs that honor and preserve the memory of America's veterans. The American Legion thanks Senators Tester and Rounds for sponsoring and shepherding this legislation to the president's desk," said Ralph P. Bozella, Chairman of The American Legion Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission.

"Perpetuating the memory and history of our dead is one of the VFW's founding principles," said Carlos Fuentes, Director National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). "The Veterans Legacy Program ensures the memories and stories of the brave men and women who have worn our nation's uniform are preserved in perpetuity. This law will ensure the Veterans Legacy Program is expanded so more veterans can have their stories digitized and preserved for the benefit of future generation."

The Veterans Legacy Program is an educational initiative from the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) under U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) which commemorates veterans interred in NCA cemeteries through partnerships with institutions of higher learning. Previously, institutions of higher education experienced difficulty obtaining and utilizing federal funding through this program.

The Senators' Memorializing Veterans Act establishes a grant program to administer funds more efficiently through the Veterans Legacy Program, facilitating research and developing educational tools to increase public awareness of veteran service and sacrifice.

The Memorializing Veterans Act makes grants available to recipients such as institutions of higher learning, local education agencies, and non-profit entities with a history of community engagement. These grants are available for research related to national, State or Tribal veterans' cemeteries, to produce educational materials or to promote community engagement about the history of the veterans interred at those cemeteries.

Building Economic Sovereignty: Model for Renewable Energy emerges in Spokane Nation

By Steve Dubb

Nonprofit Quarterly – Jan. 22, 2020 – Since 2015, Jason Campbell has been CEO of Sovereign Power, an energy company that is 100 percent Spokane-owned. The company is small, but it has big plans; the idea, as Campbell puts it, is to become a "model for nation-building in the energy sector."

The Spokane Tribe occupies over 157,000 acres of land in eastern Washington. It is bordered by the Spokane River on the south, the Columbia River on the west, and Tshimakain Creek to the east, with the 48th parallel serving as its northern boundary. Centered in Wellpinit, Washington, a small town 50 miles northwest of the city of Spokane, 2,879 people are enrolled members of the tribe as of 2017. According to the 2010 US census, 2,094 people live on Spokane land, of whom 1,661 are American Indian. The land governed by the Spokane represents a small portion of the more than three million acres originally occupied by the Spokane people.

Campbell points out that Sovereign Power was set up in 1998 as a power marketing company. (The Spokane, he says, were the first tribe in the US to do so.) The corporate structure provided a base to pursue energy sovereignty, but taking advantage of that structure requires both financial capital and a strategic vision.

As Campbell puts it, the idea is to view business opportunities "through a nation-building lens." He elaborates, "Energy is such a critical sector. The conversation I was able to start with the tribal council was a look at the energy sector as a thing they needed to vertically control. And because I was the one with big ideas, I was asked to run it."

According to Campbell, for Sovereign Power to realize its promise, the firm needs to engage in five areas of activity: 1) power generation (through solar installation); 2) development of the Spokane Tribe utility authority (capacity to manage distribution, operations, and maintenance); 3) power marketing (selling excess power production to the grid); 4) energy storage; and 5) legislative affairs (an ability to shape policy at the state and federal level).

There is, in short, a lot of work to do. In four years, though, there has been progress. This past summer, the company completed installation of a 643kW community-scale solar installation. It's a small down-payment on the company's plans to construct a 100MW solar facility in the next two-to-four years, but it's a start. Campbell says the new installation generates enough power to serve 10 Spokane Tribe governmental buildings and 23 houses in the small town of Wellpinit.

The tribal-owned company is also looking to develop a direct combustion biomass boiler system. As Campbell mentioned to Christy Hanson in American Indian Republic in 2018, "We've already done the feasibility study on sustainable levels of fuel production. Even with all the wildfires we still have more than enough biomass fuel production to sustain us indefinitely."

The biomass, Hanson explains, "would be burned in a high-efficiency biomass boiler system and converted into sustainable heat energy for specific tribal administrations, schools, and health centers as off-taker participants."

Even with the modest scale of its current solar installation, Sovereign Power is having an impact. Campbell says they're seeing a significant reduction in cost; this past November, he notes, a former Spokane official told him that after the solar was installed, one building had seen its utility bill, which typically would run around $2,500 that time of year, fall to just $9.

Overall, Campbell remarks, Spokane government energy costs have fallen by 80 to 90 percent since the solar panels were installed. "When you recapture that," he says, "you have capital for training for operations and maintenance."

Getting control over energy is part of a broader Spokane nation-building vision. Achieving economic self-sufficiency, Campbell observes, "has to start with the elected leadership looking through this lens of vertical control of critical sectors" such as water, health care, and energy.

Campbell notes that eastern Washington has suffered from wildfires, and these fires can lead to power shutoffs. This has consequences: "The vulnerable people in our community: the elders, really young kids…if there is no power, there is no way to keep medicine refrigerated. That's really basic for sovereignty and self-determination."

But envisioning control is only the first step, Campbell cautions. Afterward, Campbell adds, "you have to update your governance to match what you're trying to accomplish. We have to revise a pretty skimpy utility code that we have far outpaced. We have to update the governance that regulates all of those decisions."

Then there is the matter of local capacity building. Campbell poses the question, "How do we build out the labor force to build solar PV [photovoltaic] assets?" To do so, the Spokane have partnered with solar entities outside the Native American community to learn technical and safety skills. The Spokane, adds Campbell, still have to "build out human capacity to support the sector."

Campbell himself came to Sovereign Power through a circuitous route. Campbell left the reservation in the early 1990s to get a business undergraduate degree from Washington State University. In 2008, he got his master's in business administration from Gonzaga University in Spokane. He then moved across the country, working with firms in Boston and Washington DC, seeking to use impact investing as a tool to improve conditions in Indian Country.

As Campbell details, "I was working on the environmental, social and governance [ESG] team of Boston Common Asset Management. They are a socially responsible impact investing institutional investor in Boston."

Campbell adds that he came to work for Boston Common after working as a volunteer for a time with the US Social investment Forum:

The Forum at that time had an Indigenous Peoples working group that focuses on the interchange of indigenous communities and publicly traded extractive companies (timber, oil, etc.). The purpose was to be able to engage in shareholder proposals and proxy voting and doing some of those approaches with companies that historically tribes weren't doing.

"How this ties together is that team at Boston Common," Campbell continues. "One of the folks on the ESG team had led a campaign against Newmont Mining. Newmont is responsible for a $200 million superfund site on the Spokane Indian Reservation. We were trying to negotiate with them." In the process, Campbell began consulting for the Spokane tribe.

Working in impact investing, Campbell notes, has helped inform his current work. It was there, Campbell says, where he learned how to build custom portfolios for tribes or high-net-worth individuals and ways to help tribal nations manage their financial assets. This experience comes in handy when you're trying to develop a 100 MW solar project with an estimated price tag of $19 million.

The scale of the project is large, but it is not unprecedented in Indian Country. For example, a plant in Montana operated since 2015 by Energy Keepers, Inc., a company owned by the confederated Salish and Kootenai nations on Flathead reservation land, has the capacity to generate 208 MW of power.

To raise the $19 million that the Spokane power plant needs to be built requires a mix of federal New Market Tax Credits, tribal funds, philanthropic funds, impact investors, and some federal grants. Campbell estimates that so far, Sovereign Power has raised maybe a third of the money it needs.

But equally challenging to raising the funds is getting regulatory approvals. "There are laws on the books of state of Washington that directly impede the buildout of distributed power generation for tribes," Campbell observes. The state, Campbell adds, "is now having to correct antiquated laws. A lot of those laws on the books are highly protective of investor-owned utilities." Then, there is the federal regulator, known as the FERC or Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Campbell notes that if you generate over 75MW of power, then you fall under federal regulation.

Additionally, because the power plant would be built on federal trust land, "it has to go through BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs]. We're in a public comment period for that." The regulatory approvals, Campbell notes, along with the act of raising the funds are the most complicated parts of bringing the power plant online. By contrast, the actual construction of the power plant, which would occupy 400 acres of Spokane land, would take only 90 days, Campbell estimates.

For its own needs, the Spokane don't need 75 MW, much less 100 MW. Campbell estimates that a third of that amount might be enough to meet direct energy needs. But the goal is much larger than that. A Spokane power plant could generate considerable income. As Campbell explains, "If you generate more than you are using, there is a market for that.… In terms of developing economies for tribes, you're engaging in an external market and you're pulling that revenue onto the reservation, which is the opposite of what historically happens."

Another goal is job creation—not just in construction, but in operations and maintenance of the system. Campbell adds, "On the biomass side, we are extending the job creation from the timber industry. We are taking what's typically a unused waste product and creating a quantified marketable product in the form of fuel that we are using."

Campbell views the Spokane effort as part of a broader community of American Indian initiatives to achieve energy sovereignty—initiatives that often support one another. In addition to Energy Keepers, Campbell mentioned Warm Springs Power in Oregon (southeast of Portland and jointly managed by the Wasco, Paiute, and Warm Springs nations) and Yakama Power, managed by the Yakama nation, which is located south of the city of Yakima in south central Washington.

As Campbell told Hanson in 2018, "Tribes are becoming more sophisticated. There's a growing number of tribes that have the capacity to serve in mentor-protégé models… As we move into the future, that model is expanding. We blend our historic values with contemporary values."

Native Americans protest against Dept. of Social Services

Rapid City, SD – KOTA-TV – Jan. 21, 2020 – Dozens of protestors gathered on Cambell Street across from the Department of Social Services to express their frustration as they say there is a problem of taking Native American children from families and putting them into foster care.

Native American protesters chanted and held signs reading "our children are not for sale" along Cambell Street Tuesday afternoon.

Roberta Shoulders was one of the protesters and said the movement was partly sparked by the death of her friend's little brother who she said died in foster care.

The protesters said the Department of Social Services is not following the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by not returning children to their families.

ICWA is a federal law created to govern the removal of Native American children who are in the state's custody.

As someone who was in the foster care system for about seven years, Shoulders said it was a horrific experience.

She said Native American children need to be placed with their families to protect their culture.

"The White system, they're not taught who they are. They lose their identity. They lose who they are. They are not taught their traditional ways and they need to know that. They need to know who they are and where they come from. That's very important to keep our tradition alive. Like they say the children are sacred and they are," Shoulders said.

We reached out to the Department of Social Services and have not heard a response yet.

USDA Safety Net enrollment opens for 2020:

January 22, 2020

Agricultural producers now can enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs - two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety net programs - for the 2020 crop year. Meanwhile, producers who enrolled farms for the 2018 crop year have started receiving more than $1.5 billion for covered commodities for which payments were triggered under such programs.

ARC provides income support payments on historical base acres when actual crop revenue declines below a specified guaranteed level. PLC provides income support payments on historical base acres when the effective price for a covered commodity falls below its reference price. The 2018 Farm Bill reauthorized and updated both programs.

Signup for the 2020 crop year closes June 30, 2020, while signup for the 2019 crop year closes March 15, 2020. Producers who have not yet enrolled for 2019 can enroll for both 2019 and 2020 during the same visit to an FSA county office.

ARC and PLC have options for the farm operator who is actively farming the land as well as the owner of the land. Farm owners also have a one-time opportunity to update PLC payment yields beginning with crop year 2020. If the farm owner and producer visit the FSA county office together, FSA can also update yield information during that visit.

Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium and short grain rice, safflower seed, seed cotton, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat.

We will be sending out packets with planted acres from 2013-2017 for you to use to submit information for possibly updating your 2020 PLC Yield. When you receive these in the mail please open immediately and get the yield information completed as this is an important step in the process.

The deadline for 2019 ARCPLC Signup is March 15, 2020. Please contact the office for an appointment as soon as possible. We will not be able to wait until the last minute and get all the producers signed up. We are going to start contacting producers and making appointments and the more information you have with you will help with making your program choice for 2019.

Meeting on the 2019-2020 ARC/PLC Election-Enrollment will be held on February 4, 2020 at 10 am in the COC meeting room at the Roberts County FSA Office.


The Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) requires all foreign owners of U.S. agricultural land to report their holdings to the Secretary of Agriculture. Foreign persons who have purchased or sold agricultural land in the county are required to report the transaction to FSA within 90 days of the closing. Failure to submit the AFIDA form could result in civil penalties of up to 25 percent of the fair market value of the property. County government offices, realtors, attorneys and others involved in real estate transactions are reminded to notify foreign investors of these reporting requirements.

Preventing Crop Insurance Fraud, Waste & Abuse:

The Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency are partners in preventing fraud, waste and abuse in the Federal Crop Insurance Program. FSA has been, and will continue to, assist RMA and insurance providers by monitoring crop conditions throughout the growing season. In addition, FSA will refer all suspected cases of fraud, waste and abuse to RMA.

Producers can report suspected cases to the county office staff, RMA or the Office of the Inspector General.

The next COC meeting will be held March 18, 2020 at 8:30 am in the Roberts County Office.

For more information on FSA programs, visit a local FSA service center or

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Sharon.Rolstad at 605-698-7639 extension 2 or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339

"USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866)632-9992(Toll-free Customer Service), (800)877-8339(Local or Federal relay), (866)377-8642(Relay voice users)."

 (Editor's note: This closing policy has been in effect since 2017-18.)

Legislative Reports from Pierre

Report from Dis. 1 Rep. Tamara St. John

Rep. Tamara St. John (R-District 1)

January 24, 2020

Before sharing the events of the first week of 2020 Legislative session, I want to update you all on some of the things that occurred over the summer.

I had the opportunity to be a part of the summer study on tele-mental health. Through that study we came to understand that there are so many ways that tele-mental health can become a way to bring services to places and people where it's critically needed. It can have impact on initiatives such as suicide prevention in places like schools or rural areas where the qualified professional services needed are not found. In many of the conversations we have on issues surrounding us in South Dakota communities we have to acknowledge the need for mental health professional services and the lack of them. For example, giving law enforcement access to professional mental health providers who can help deescalate a situation, evaluate that person and maybe determine if that person can remain at home or be routed back to a community provider for help, rather than to have law enforcement take action where not needed because that is the only available response to an incident. There are many areas in which tele-mental health can help South Dakotans and our goals for our communities over time. The upcoming session we will see and hear a number of legislative proposals to begin to implement this valuable tool in our state.

This summer I also participated in a summer sub-committee on fighting methamphetamine. I'm certain we all know the importance of this issue and that prevention and treatment are key. After the summer study, a news release from the state announced that they were partnering with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to provide intensive treatment.

"In South Dakota's ongoing fight against methamphetamine abuse, the state Department of Social Services is partnering with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to establish an intensive treatment program on the reservation.

According to a Thursday, Aug. 22, news release from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem's office, the partnership makes Rosebud the first of South Dakota's nine sovereign tribes to operate a treatment program. There are currently five other methamphetamine treatment providers in the state.

DSS Secretary Laurie Gill said in Thursday's release that bringing a treatment program to Rosebud will help make long-term outpatient treatment and support more accessible."

These are the sort of efforts we hope to see more success from. We must continue discussions on how to partner to protect our communities while helping our citizens recover from addiction.

Last week began with the Governor's State of the State Address, in which she discussed many of these topics. We also heard the beginning of a statewide suicide prevention initiative. I will share more on that later during this session. Many of you are aware that the Governor has issued her four guardrails for the passing of Industrial Hemp and although we haven't heard much yet about the hemp bill, we certainly will be looking into how we accomplish the passing of that legislation this session. We are going to be watching for additional legislation related to human trafficking, increasing foster care efforts in South Dakota and the implementation of housing initiatives.

One of my favorite parts of last week was the annual State of the Judiciary address by Chief Justice David Gilbertson. I plan on doing a separate column on his incredible dedication to our great state and the many accomplishments in his career. I will be stopping by to visit him again soon. The last time he and I spoke was over Christmas when he gave me valuable advice on how best to navigate the Coteau Hills when traveling to Pierre from our neck of the woods.

I'm looking forward to an exciting session and will be visiting with you all in the near future. If you or someone you know are planning on visiting Pierre this legislative session, please send me a note so we can meet. I am grateful for those of you who write or email me on legislative issues important to you. Your voice matters! Please continue to keep in touch with me through whatever means work best for you. I can be reached by email at, by phone at 605-268-0920 or by mail at 500 E Capitol Avenue, Pierre, SD 57501.

Report from Dis. 1 Rep. Steven McCleery

The Legislative Session has quickly picked up as we come to an end of our second week in Pierre.

I would like to recognize a family-friend and Sisseton native, Chief Justice David Gilbertson, for his dedication to serving the Judicial System of South Dakota. Chief Justice Gilberston served the judicial system for the past 34 years, the last 19 years as our Chief Justice. It was a privilege to work with him in Pierre and to see the tremendous efforts he made to improve the Drug and DUI Courts, Mental Health Courts, Veteran Treatment Courts, and the HOPE program.

Best wishes to him and his family during this new chapter in their life.

In Commerce and Energy Committee, we discussed and voted on four bills regarding provisions on banking, and life and health insurance. One bill specifically, HB1018, revised provisions regarding life and health insurance insolvencies in order to protect the consumer.

Talking about hemp at the capitol, it is good to get some information on the common uses of hemp. When you grow the hemp plant has a stalk, leaves, flowers and seeds. From a stalk consumer and industrial textiles are made. The leaves and flowers make building materials like fiberboard, insulation and cement. The seeds can make hemp seed oil which goes into foods, personal hygiene and industrial products that include printing inks, fuel and varnishes. Hemp is the strongest natural fiber in the world, is known to have over 50,000 different uses.

HB1057 is an effort to place government in the middle of healthcare decisions that are between the doctor, the family, and the patient. I am extremely disappointed by the proponents of this bill who were all from out of state. However, looking at the opponents all being from South Dakota we had around 20 doctors that came to testify against this bill. I think that it is best to allow doctors to make the right decisions for their patient rather than Me a legislature criminalizing health care acts. Let's be clear that the surgeries described in this bill do not take place in the State of South Dakota.

In the new Senate bill 179 that will be a stamp to fund terrestrial habitat and access enhancements and improvements. This will support and improve the habitat and access on game production areas statewide.

Additionally, 4-H ambassador, a wonderful young man, Hayden, shadowed me last week. He was able to gain a deeper understanding of state government. I will always make time for young constituents.

I appreciate serving the people and the communities in District 1. As always, feel free to contact me with any comments or concerns:


Representative Steven McCleerey

Editorials –

Sota guest editorial –

Balanced Lifestyles, Teachings for Knowledge Seekers


There is nothing traditional about controlling a woman.

There is nothing traditional about saying who a woman can talk to or not.

There is nothing traditional saying your partner is 'showing off'…

…when she is dancing.

…when is dressed pretty.

…when is laughing and having fun.


And, there is absolutely nothing traditional about abusing your partner…

…forcing her to have sex with you.

…withholding money.

…putting her down or belittling her.


If you hit your partner, you are in no way traditional; you are simply a person who makes a choice to consciously commit family violence and you are hiding behind a self-proclaimed title.


If someone taught that your partner was of less worth than you, please take this as a sign that those teaching are dead wrong!


If you profess to believe in ceremony and pass tobacco protocol to Elders, and you take good care of your ceremonial items; then how do possibly reconcile in your mind that you can treat your partner with disdain?


Do you not know she is a sacred being?

Do you not know she is a Lifegiver; and therefore, carries a sacred bundle inside of her?


Women, if your partner is abusing you and using our traditions to control you, plain and simple; he is a liar! If he sincerely believes his own lies, he is not only ignorant, but also very dangerous. Make a safety plan, commit to it and get out!


If the fact that he is a respected leader; because no one really knows what he is doing inside your home, and being by his side makes you feel worthy; get help. Believe me, this feeling needs to come from within you, not outside of you!


No matter what side of the abuse you are on; the controller or the controlled; take a moment to learn about our Indigenous history.

Our people held women in great esteem.

Our women are Clan Mothers and continue to be.

Our women were Leaders in ceremony and in the community; and today have resumed their place.

At one time they were the ones who chose chiefs; and with their vote, they still do today.

At one time they were the homeowners; and because they now contribute to the household by money or care for the children you share, they still own part of that home.


The view of women changed when we became infected by intergenerational impacts that were created by historical laws designed for colonization.

Get educated!

Make changes.

If you are an abuser, you can no longer blame colonization, because you are now choosing to be the one creating intergenerational impacts in the lives of your children or in your partner's life. You are committing and perpetuating lateral violence.

Isn't it time to return to our real traditions?


If you are staying in an abusive relationship because you have been led to believe it is traditional to be submissive to a man; you are being lied to. This is not our way.


Women are mighty forces. We are highly respected for our abilities. Honour of Lifegivers is our real tradition.


If you are being abused, stop the harmful cycles of intergenerational impacts! Get help. Get out safely. Your abuser may promise to change, but like any other healing journey, it is only through real change that personal growth prospers. Abusers promises are broken more than they are kept. Do not forget, promises are part of the abuse which are considered the honeymoon period. Promises to change without absolutely stopping the behaviour are dry, lifeless and meaningless words meant for control. For your sake please leave safely. If you have children, please safely leave for their sake.


Men, if you are abusive to your partner, please quit telling yourself that you are traditional - you are not. Quit using our beautiful traditions as way to cover up your violence. Get help!


Traditional men and women are equal partners, walking side-by-side, open to the teachings of our Ancestors which include respect and equality for all creation. True love, based on equality, now that is traditional.


Kakithaw niwakomakanak (All my Relations),

Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw (Emily Jane Henry)

Home Territory: Ochapowace Cree Nation


Art work by talented Loretta Gould (used with her permission):


Note: though I wrote in gender specific terms, I am aware that abusers are also found in two-spirited relationships. Regardless of the genders that make up your relationship, if you are being abused, please just make a plan and get out safely.

Brief editorial comments from the editor's desk –

On and Off the Lake Traverse Reservation

We do not have an update on status of the Tribe's IT network, but the consulting firm MBA is engaged in reviewing the ransomware and network shutdown.

We will provide information about their assessment as soon as it becomes available.

They have also been offering advice about how the SWO might better protect its computer data.

In the meantime, we are providing a special feature – tips from the federal agency responsible for protecting government, corporate, and private IT networks.

Please save or copy the information from our pages.

Links to other CISA resources are available on the Sota website.

Because of the constantly changing nature of threats, they advise network techs check the CISA website continually for ways to prevent security breaches.

Here are perhaps the most important tips:

*Backup data.

Employ a backup solution that automatically and continuously backs up critical data and system configurations from your website.

Keep your backup media in a safe and physically remote environment.

*Test disaster recovery scenarios often.


Thunder Valley Community Development Corp. has invited our Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate to attend a three-day Lakota Food Summit next month at Rapid City.

Anyone interested in tribal food sovereignty is encouraged to participate.

Information is available on the back page of this edition.

For more information, go to the website:


This week's Sota features the next in our series of program reports given during the Winter 2019 general council.

It starts with the opening of day two, Friday, Dec. 20th.

Please read the highlights from annual reports from the 54 programs that provide services for Tribal members.


Elder's meditation:

"Also ask your heart to purify and cleanse this defect and harmful desire. Ask also the help of the inner father and mother. Every time we eliminate a defect, we build our soul, our inner temple. We ascend. like going up a stairway."

–Willaru Huayata, QUECHUA NATION, PERU

The building blocks to knowledge and wisdom are constructed through the lessons of our character defects if we constructively review our conduct each day, asking where we are resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid. Remember, we need to review constructively, not destructively. Destructive review is when we ask, "what's the matter with me anyway." or "how could I be so stupid?" These question lead to morbid reflection or remorse and seriously affect our self esteem. In constructive review we ask, "what will I do next time?" With constructive review we progressively eliminate the defect and replace it with wisdom.


Words to consider (or, perhaps not!):

We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are. - Anais Nin (1903 - 1977)

Furious activity is no substitute for understanding. - H. H. Williams

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

A neurosis is a secret that you don't know you are keeping. - Kenneth Tynan

The gods too are fond of a joke. - Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand. - Putt's Law

A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions--as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all. - Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)

Lies are like children. If you don't nurture them, they'll never be useful later. - Randy K. Milholland, Something Positive, 07-26-2012

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you. - Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)


The Sota is always looking for news of the Oyate.

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

For submission deadlines and other information, see below:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Obituaries –

Services for Silvester Little

Funeral service for Silvester Ethin Little, Shon Wah Kan Data Hay Ecu, "Red Horse Took Him", 48 of New Effington, SD was held on Tuesday afternoon, January 21, 2020 at the Lake Traverse District Center, Browns Valley with Fr. Charles Chan and Episcopal Lay Readers officiating.

Pallbearers were Guadalupe Polina, Rex Godfrey, Duran Renville, Bill Argo Jr., Tarique Owen and Vine Marks, Jr.

Honorary Pallbearers were Bob James, George Keeble, Randy Boardman, Dave Keeble and his god father CR James.

Interment will be at St. John's Episcopal Cemetery, Browns Valley, South Dakota at a later date.

Wake services were held at the Lake Traverse District Center Sunday evening and all-night Monday.

The Cahill Funeral Chapel of Sisseton, SD was in charge of arrangements.

Silvester Ethin Little was born on February 6, 1971 at Minneapolis, MN to Paul Little and Darlyn Kitto.

He was baptized and confirmed at St. John's the Baptist Episcopal Church.

He attended grade school at Browns Valley, MN, attended Wahpeton Indian School through the 8th grade, then he went on to Flandreau Indian School for two years.

Following his education he moved to Fargo, ND and did babysitting for a friend.

He returned to Browns Valley, Peever and then New Effington.

He lived with Michelle Blue for twenty-two years.

He liked to listen to blues music and other music.

He enjoyed cookouts, family gatherings, Pow Wow, watching movies, driving around visiting relatives, and Marilynn Monroe.

He liked to dress up and wear gold jewelry.

He really missed his uncle Dennis Brant who he called Ate.

He passed away due to health issues after eight years of Dialysis on January 15, 2020 at Sanford Hospital Fargo, ND.

Silvester is survived by his mother Darlyn Kitto of Browns Valley, MN; six brothers, Carlo Kitto of Rosholt, SD, Robert Little. James Little, Matt Little, Art Little, and Marlin Little all of Fr. Totten, ND; four sisters, Opal (Romeo) Renville of Sisseton, SD ; Big Paula Little of Red Lake, MN, Paula Thompson of Mission, ND and Barbara (Joe) Jackson of St. Michael, ND; sister-in-law Yvonne Chase-Merrick of New Town, ND; Aunt Katie McKay of Browns Valley, MN; many nieces and nephews.

Silverster was preceded in death by his father; brother, Kenny Merrick, John Little Jr. and Whiteman Little.; nephews, Kenny Merrick Jr., Brice McKay; and his godson nephew Tyson Renville; and niece Ashley Kitto.

For Silvester's obituary and on-line registry please visit

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.

Remembering loved ones still missing

Andrew Jon (AJ) Lufkins

April, 7, 2010. Missing from Sisseton, South Dakota.


Pamela Dunn

December 9, 2001. Missing from Watertown, South Dakota


Serenity Dennard

February 3, 2019. Missing from the Black Hills, South Dakota.

As the new year arrives let's not forget the loved ones who are still missing. Every day pray that they are found. The Great Mystery knows what happened and families have the right to know. Through prayer and continued search efforts together we can bring them home.

Betty Anne Owen, Sioux Falls, SD.

Gathering planned on Lake Traverse Reservation in search for Missing

From history, we learn Black Elk visited the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation (1910-11).

He appeared in a vision Friday, January 24, 2020 at 3:33 a.m. and spoke in the old Lakota dialect.

He appeared as a giant man wearing buckskin moccasins wrapped with tanned hide.

Between his feet was the entire Lake Traverse Reservation.

He carried a sacred drum, gourd, medicine bundle, and an eagle staff.

The staff was set down in a particular place within the Reservation.

Black Elk laid upon my head sacred herbs and earth taken from our land.

Powerful words emanated from him as he placed a full pipe upon rocks: "He will find himself and appear many times."

And he said to be "vigilant."

This visionary message needs interpretation.

We have chosen seven elders to assist.

We pray, and continue to pray, and search, as always, for AJ Lufkins, for Pamela Dunn, and for Serenity Dennard.

The holy road we have been sent on by Black Elk will begin with gatherings the weekend of April 4-5 and nighttime walks April 6-7.

Watch for more information.

Betty Anne Owen.

Sioux Falls, SD.

SWO to join AICAF to celebrate Turquoise Tuesday

Turquoise Tuesday rescheduled to Tuesday, January 28th at SWO admin building

Turquoise Tuesday is a national cervical cancer awareness campaign for American Indian and Alaska Native people.

The American Indian Cancer Foundation invites Native people of all ages to join in by wearing turquoise clothing and jewelry, and sharing photos on social media using the hashtag #TurquoiseTuesday.

Native women are nearly twice as likely to develop cervical cancer compared to white women.

Turquoise Tuesday aims to educate people about the importance of early detection and remind women to stay up to date on their cancer screenings.

Because this national campaign happens on a digital platform, community members are able to participate from anywhere!

SWO Community Health Education, in recognition of Turquoise Tuesday, is hosting "Pappy Hour."

Originally scheduled last week, the event has been postponed until this Tuesday, January 28, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. at the Tribal administration building rotunda.

Come to "Pappy Hour" and enjoy some delicious snack options to include as a part of a healthy diet.

Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is important in caring for our bodies and can help reduce our risks for developing cancer.

Sisseton IHS Public Nursing will have information on the HPV vaccine and have the vaccine available for individuals 18 - 26.

The HPV vaccine protects against over 90% of all cervical cancers and is for boys and girls 9 - 26 years of age.

Contact the Community Health Education Program with questions - 742-3651.

Wear Turquoise.

Wear turquoise clothing and jewelry to raise awareness of cervical cancer in our communities, and to honor our relatives who have faced or are currently facing a cervical cancer diagnosis.


Share a picture of yourself wearing turquoise on AICAF social media, using the hashtag #TurquoiseTuesday.

Tell your friends and family about Turquoise Tuesday and ask them to wear turquoise to support cervical cancer awareness. Encourage your organization or business to wear turquoise.

Get screened.

Talk to your health care provider to schedule your next Pap test and to learn more about cervical cancer screenings and routine care.

Talk to the women in your lives about the importance of early detection and encourage them to schedule a Pap test.

Get the HPV vaccine.

Boys and girls ages 9-26 can prevent HPV-related cancers by getting the vaccine. Learn more about the HPV vaccine at

Prairie Doc® Perspectives –

Saved from a Peritonsillar Abscess

By Richard P. Holm, MD

I came down with an unrelenting sore throat about 15-20 years ago. For years I have tried to be discreet in prescribing antibiotics in most of my patients, for fear of causing resistance in bacteria to the antibiotics. I did for me what I did for most of my patients, which was to avoid the antibiotics. However, after a week the sore throat was getting worse, it was starting to keep me from opening my mouth normally and I was running a fever. I called my friend, an ears, nose and throat doctor who practiced at our local clinic with me.

He squeezed me into his schedule and took a look at my throat. I noted his eyes got a little wide and then he got up and left the room, returning with a large syringe attached to a big bore needle. It was so quick I didn't have time to resist and he placed that huge needle into my throat, stabbed the left tonsil, and came back with a syringe full of brown liquid. He smiled and said, "You have a peritonsillar abscess."

I had pain localized to the left side of my throat which was made worse with swallowing and which was suspicious for peritonsillar abscess. Other symptoms that could indicate such a diagnosis include swollen tonsil or tonsils, uvular deviation away from the abscess, a mouth that doesn't open fully, purulence of one or both tonsils, drooling, swollen neck-lymph nodes and finally, a muffled voice.

Usually there are two organisms growing which makes this condition a double threat. If the infection is allowed to spread, the invasion of many layers of neck tissue can occur which leads to a progressive extension of the infection into deep tissue and possibly a dismal death. The infection can also spread to the other tonsil, which, when swollen and pushed up against the opposite swollen tonsil, can block air flow and cause death from suffocation.

My doctor immediately sent me down to an infusion room and started the daily intravenous dose of an antibiotic that would be repeated daily for a week. This was not the first time or the last that antibiotics saved my life. Following this experience, I looked much more carefully at every patient with a sore throat, and, although I was still careful about over-prescribing antibiotics, I prescribed antibiotics more often for swollen and ugly tonsils after that.


Richard P. Holm, MD is founder of The Prairie Doc® and author of "Life's Final Season, A Guide for Aging and Dying with Grace" available on Amazon. For free and easy access to the entire Prairie Doc® library, visit and follow Prairie Doc® on Facebook featuring On Call with the Prairie Doc® a medical Q&A show streaming on Facebook and broadcast on SDPB most Thursdays at 7 p.m. central.

Youth, school activities highlights –

Education watch on the Lake Traverse Reservation

SWC hosts Quillwork workshop

Posted to the SWC Facebook page Jan. 24, 2019

Wopida eciciyapi LaVerne Whitebear!

Last night was the Quillwork workshop and we learned the zigzag stitch.

Thank you to LaVerne for sharing your knowledge and to all of the participants for helping strengthen our community through art and kinship!

This was a part of the Traditional Arts Workshop Series.

We will be having more workshops in the near future.

Keep an eye out for our advertisements!

For more information on arts education at Sisseton Wahpeton College, please call us at 605-698-3966.

See accompanying photo highlights from the workshop.

Wahpeton College, please call us at 605-698-3966.

ESDS Student recognition dinner

Submitted by Mackenzie Larson

4th Grade Teacher

Toka Nuwan Wayawa Tipi had a great turn out for dinner on Thursday night the 23rd.

Students were recognized K-8 for November and December students of the month.

They were also recognized if they had 94% or better attendance for 1st and 2nd quarter.

We are looking forward to a great 3rd and 4th quarter here at ESDS.

SD Mines Fall 2019 Dean's List

Rapid City, SD – Jan. 23, 2020 – For the fall 2019 semester, 616 South Dakota School of Mines & Technology students were named to the Dean's List.

In order to merit a spot on the Dean's List, students must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the semester.

Full-time students must have earned a minimum of 12 credit hours for the term, while part-time students must have earned between three and 11 credit hours that term.

Michael Nieland, Sisseton, was named to the academic achievement list.


Request for Bids

Requesting sealed proposals for:

The Mayuteca Day Treatment Program is looking for someone to facilitate the Mending Broken Hearts Curriculum.

Provide three-day training on Mending Broken Hearts Curriculum. This will include the dimensions of change, intergenerational trauma healing, historical trauma healing and grief and addictions.

Consultant will provide the following:

1.  Provide three-day training on Mending Broken hearts for clients.

2.  Provide report to Mayuteca Day Treatment program.

3.  Provide materials for training.

All sealed bids must include and be submitted by January 31, 2020

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

Required Documentation:

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

Length of Contract


Contact the Procurement Office for specifications:


Please submit sealed proposals to:

SWO Procurement Office

Attn: Lennie Peters

PO Box 509

Agency Village, SD 57262

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 Ordin.


Trading Post ads

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

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

Tribal Ranger, Fish & Wildlife

Cook's Helper/Transportation/Inventory Clerk, Tribal Elderly Program

Adult Day Care Provider, Tribal Elderly Program

Office Supervisor, MSPI

Health & Nutrition Technician, MSPI

Curriculum Specialist, Education Department

Vocational Rehabilitation Program Manager, Education Department

Vocational Rehabilitation/Outreach Specialist, Education Department

Closing Date: January 31st, 2020 @ 04:30PM

YCW Behavioral Health Specialist, LAUNCH

Bus Monitor-Teacher Aide. Head Start

Teacher (2 positions), Head Start

Teacher Aide, Head Start

Bus Driver/Custodian, Head Start

Teacher, Early Head Start

Browns Valley After-School Van Driver, JOM

Parole Agent, Department of Parole

In-House Attorney, Tribal Executive Committee

Sexual Assault Advocate, Behavioral Health

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).


Tiospa Zina Tribal School

Job Openings

Cook (Closing date: January 29th).

Custodian (Closing date: January 29th).

Special Ed Paraprofessional (Closing date: January 29th).

Middle School Classroom Teacher (Open until filled).

High School Classroom teacher (Open until filled).

Please contact Jennifer Williams, Human Resources Director, with any questions at 605-698-3953 ext. 208.

Tiospa Zina is an Indian Preference employer.

All applicants and employees are subject to both 25 U.S.C. 3207: The Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act and the 42 U.S.C. 13041: Crime Control Act.

All inquiries can be directed to Jennifer Williams at the HR Office: 605-698-3953 ext. 208.


Enemy Swim Day School

Job openings

Para Educator:

Enemy Swim Day School has an opening for a Middle School Para Educator for the 2019-2020 school year. Duties include assisting students in middle school Math, English, Social Studies and Science content in the classroom, assisting teaching staff, working with SpEd staff, reporting and other duties. Must have post-secondary education, an AA degree or equivalent or successfully passing the ParaPro Assessment. ESDS can assist with ParaPro Assessment preparation, if needed. Wage is dependent upon experience. This position includes benefits. Email or call (605) 947-4605 or (888) 825-7738 and ask for Dr. Eastman to inquire about the position. Applications may also be picked up in the administration office or can be found on our website at Indian Preference policies apply. Must be able to pass a background check. Position is open until filled.

Special Education Para Educator:

Enemy Swim Day School has an opening for a Special Education Para Educator for the 2019-2020 school year. Duties include assisting in the classroom, assisting teaching staff, working with SpEd staff, reporting and other duties. Must have post-secondary education, an AA degree or equivalent or successfully passing the ParaPro Assessment. ESDS can assist with ParaPro Assessment preparation, if needed. Wage is dependent upon experience. This position includes benefits. Email or call (605) 947-4605 or (888) 825-7738 and ask for Dr. Eastman to inquire about the position. Applications may also be picked up in the administration office or can be found on our website at Indian Preference policies apply. Must be able to pass a background check. Position is open until filled.

Behavior Technician:

Enemy Swim Day School has an opening for a Behavior Technician for the 2019-2020 school year. Must have post-secondary education, an AA degree or equivalent. Willing to train. Wage is dependent upon experience. This position includes benefits. Email or call (605) 947-4605 or (888) 825-7738 and ask for Dr. Eastman to inquire about the position. Applications may also be picked up in the administration office or can be found on our website at Indian Preference policies apply. Must be able to pass a background check. Position is open until filled.




Return to Sota Home Page