Tribal & Native American

IMG_1919South Dakota is home to over 100,000 American Indians including 9 sovereign tribal nations that reside in some of the poorest counties in the country. As Democrats we reject the inequities that
exist between our tribal and non-tribal people. We do not accept the destitute poverty, inadequate general and mental health care services, and overburdened criminal justice system on South Dakota’s reservations. Together, with the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota people, we will improve educational opportunities, protect natural resources, support tribal economic development, and maintain and expand voting rights.

We, the Democratic Party of South Dakota:


  • Support health care reform, including increased funding for preventive care, education that would improve quality and accessibility and ensuring that care is respectful of cultural beliefs.
  • Encourage and support educational programs promoting careers in healthcare on the reservations.
  • Call for support and counseling for victims of domestic violence, including the support of domestic violence shelters/organizations.
  • Support and encourage development and implementation of substance abuse programs/health care options on reservations.


  • Support providing opportunities for ongoing training for educators, particularly in best practices for educating Native American students.
  • Call for the state to ensure that educators have the resources to implement best practices.
  • Support implementing Native American History curriculum in all public schools
  • Support tribally-approved state certification process for Native American history, culture, and language instructors.
  • Support research for best practices and retention strategies for Native students.
  • Support incentives for training and recruitment of Native educators, including efforts to become highly qualified/certified teachers.
  • Support services to promote and provide post graduate career opportunities for Native American college graduates
  • Support efforts to preserve Lakota and other protected languages, including language immersion programs.
  • Call for the state to provide support to help Native American students make a successful transition to college life at regental institutions through existing programs and establishment of new mentorship programs.
  • Support tribal, public and private efforts to establish dropout prevention programs.

Tribal Colleges

  • Recognize that Tribal Colleges have higher graduation rates and job placement rates for our Native students, and believe the state should assist with funding for non-Native students who attend Tribal colleges and increase awareness at our high schools of Tribal Colleges as an option for higher education.
  • Call for the state to fund the existing needs based scholarship program

Voter Accessibility

  • Call for the state to use Help America Vote Act funds to establish in person early voting and voter registration satellite offices in all reservation counties.
  • Call for the state to provide translators for protected languages, as defined by the Voting Rights Act, must be provided at all polls in communities with a minimum of 35 percent Native American population.
  • Call for the enforcement voter protection laws.
  • Support the unification of local municipal, state and federal polling locations with tribal polling locations on Election Day.


  • Support existing and encourage development of rural transit systems on reservations
  • Demand equitable distribution of state and federal highway funds on reservation roads

Law Enforcement

  • Support accredited law enforcement training of state, city and county officers at tribal colleges.
  • Support development and implementation of domestic violence training for officers serving reservation and urban Native American communities.


  • Support public and private programs that increase housing availability in reservation and urban native communities.