Immediate Release: Thursday, May 5, 2016
Daugaard Casts Stone from Glass House on Pe’Sla
Sioux Falls, SD (May 5, 2016)-
The South Dakota Democratic Party responded to remarks and a formal appeal by the Daugaard administration over the collective efforts of several South Dakota Native American tribes to acquire holy land known as Pe’Sla in the Black Hills and place it in a federally protected trust.
Daugaard is reported to have said, “You have many tribal members who have needs here on the reservation. And if Grandma needs housing, or if Grandma’ needs food, or if Grandma needs transportation…Grandma doesn’t need you to spend tribal resources on a park land setting 200 miles away for religious use or for buffalo agricultural use. Grandma needs housing. Grandma needs food. And so…that’s your decision to make…not mine. That’s yours to make. But I don’t support it…for that reason. And that’s the reason I don’t support it.”
“Governor Daugaard has had the opportunity to expand Medicaid for over 4 years and has sat on his hands while South Dakotans have literally died because of the state government’s inaction. Frankly, he has no place to lecture Native Americans on their needs when he can’t muster up enough support from his own party to provide all South Dakotans life-saving healthcare. We have a lot of Grandmas that would be helped by Medicaid expansion too,” said Ann Tornberg Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party.
As reported by Jim Kent in the Lakota Country Times, Governor Daugaard’s ignorance of the complexity of tribal land policies may contribute to his paternalistic understanding of the issue.
“According to Governor Dennis Daugaard, and by his own seemingly proud admission while sitting before the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council last week, he is that person.
In spite of graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Government from the University of South Dakota and a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University, living all but 3 years of his life in this state, working in a leadership capacity for 19 years with the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota (which involved many Native American children), serving for 6 years as a state senator and then 8 years as Lieutenant Governor, the man sat before a room full of Lakota people and almost gleefully declared: “When I first came into office, I had never heard of trust lands. I was about as ignorant as you could ask for in a non-tribal member.”
Which, naturally, begs the questions: Why? What were you doing for the previous 33 years of your professional life here in South Dakota? And what else are you totally ignorant of that we haven’t been advised of yet?”
With Governor Daugaard’s appeal submitted, the four tribes who worked to purchase Pe’Sla, the Shakopee Mdewankanton, Crow Creek, Rosebud, and Standing Rock, will have an opportunity to respond and comment.