Legislators from Rosebud Sioux Tribe Release Statements About Flag


February 22, 2024

Democratic Representative Eric Emery and Senator Shawn Bordeaux released the following statements after the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council said it wants their flag to be removed from the State Capitol.

Rep. Eric Emery (District 26A)

“As the elected representative of South Dakota District 26A, I am deeply committed to advocating for the rights and dignity of the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud Sioux Tribe). Their demand for the return of their tribal flag from the custody of the State of South Dakota and Governor Kristi Noem is not just a matter of administrative procedure, it is a fundamental assertion of their sovereignty and identity. The Sicangu Oyate’s flag is not merely a piece of cloth but a sacred emblem embodying their heritage, sovereignty, and collective identity. It is a testament to their resilience in the face of historical injustices and serves as a beacon of the wisdom passed down through generations. Its return is an act of respect and a crucial acknowledgment of their autonomy and self-determination as a sovereign nation.

“I believe swift and decisive action, grounded in mutual respect and understanding, is necessary to address this issue. The dialogue between the Sicangu Oyate and the South Dakota government must be characterized by openness, empathy, and a genuine commitment to reconciling past injustices. It is imperative that Governor Noem and the State of South Dakota heed the voice of the Sicangu Oyate and engage in meaningful negotiations toward a resolution that upholds their dignity and rights.

“I am dedicated to amplifying the voices of the Sicangu Oyate and all constituents. I pledge to ensure that their concerns are heard and acted upon. Upholding justice and equity, especially for historically marginalized communities like the Sicangu Oyate, is not just a duty but a moral imperative.

“In an era where cultural sensitivity and reconciliation are paramount, it is incumbent upon all of us to honor the requests of Indigenous communities and work towards understanding and solidarity. Let us stand in solidarity with the Sicangu Oyate in their pursuit of justice and dignity and work together to restore their flag. By doing so, we pave a path towards a future where the rights and aspirations of all Indigenous peoples are not only respected but celebrated.

“The return of the Sicangu Oyate’s flag is a symbolic gesture that carries profound significance. It is a tangible expression of their sovereignty and self-determination, having centuries of tradition and history within it. Its restoration is a step towards healing the wounds of the past and forging a path toward a more just and equitable future.

“As we embark on this journey towards reconciliation, it is essential that we center the voices and experiences of Indigenous communities. We must listen with open hearts and minds, acknowledging past injustices and committing ourselves to building a more inclusive and equitable society.

“In conclusion, I urge Governor Noem and the State of South Dakota to heed the call of the Sicangu Oyate and engage in sincere dialogue toward a resolution. Let us honor the requests of Indigenous communities and stand in solidarity with them as we work towards a future where all peoples are treated with dignity, respect, and equality.”

Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Shawn Bordeaux (District 26)

“I can totally understand how the Rosebud Sioux Tribe was offended by the Governor’s comments regarding reservations being sanctuaries for cartels coming across the border,” said Sen. Bordeaux. “Removing their flag from the Capitol shows how gravely offended the tribe’s elected leadership is of the comments. I suggest we find a better way to communicate with tribal leaders.”

For questions, you can contact the SDDP Executive Director Dan Ahlers at dan@sddp.org or contact the state party office by phone at 605-271-5405 or 605-940-3071.

Paid for by the South Dakota Democratic Party | www.sddp.org