Democrats Respond to State of the Tribes Address

South Dakota Democratic leaders issued the following statements in response to Chair Peter Lengkeek’s State of the Tribes address. 

House Democratic Whip Peri Pourier: “Today’s State of the Tribe address was a historic event due to the large, unprecedented attendance of Tribal Nation Leaders. The South Dakota Legislature hosted Tribal Nation Leaders: Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chair Lengkeek and council representatives, Oglala Sioux Tribe President Frank Star-Comes-Out and Vice President Dr. Alicia Mousseau, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Ryman Lebeau, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Chairman Clyde Estes, Yankton Sioux Tribe Chairman Robert Flying Hawk, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Chairman J. Garrett Renville and council representatives, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairwoman Janet Alkire and Vice Chair John Spotted Tail, Great Plains Tribal Chairman Association Executive Director Gay Kingman, and Chief Arvlo Looking Horse.  

“The occasion was a proud moment for working across political and geographic boundaries and a great opportunity for legislators to hear the many crises affecting many of our Tribal Nation and state citizens.  Meaningful relationship-building is key to moving forward to meet the critical issues we share and this is a first step.” 

Assistant House Democratic Leader Erin Healy: “Today’s State of the Tribes reinforced the Democratic caucus’s commitment to work with the First People of South Dakota for a better and brighter future across our state. The Legislature was privileged to hear from Crow Creek Tribal Chairman Lengkeek on the importance of building relationships and communication between the nine tribes that share a border with the state of South Dakota and state government. He reminded everyone in attendance that the true translation of Dakota means to be in a state of peace, balance and harmony; something I think we can all agree on. He also spoke at length on issues regarding food insecurity, education, mental health services, and community safety following the COVID-19 pandemic. These are issues the caucus strongly believes that our state must improve on.”

Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Shawn Bordeaux: “Chairman Peter Lengkeek did an awesome job delivering the State of the Tribes Address today. He covered the important issues that face our community and was very candid. I appreciate all the tribal leaders who came to the Capitol today.”