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Volume 46 Issue No. 47

Anpetu Iyamni, November 25, 2015

Inside this Edition –

Council removes SWO Tribal Chairman Bruce Renville from office

Sota editorial: “Listen to echoes of their voices; these young Dakotas taking their lives”

DOJ, FBI investigating alleged wrongdoing in Districts and Tribe’s federal programs

Conversation last week with Joe Williams “Iktoma and messages for today’s Oyate”

Dustina Gill honored in Sante Fe among “Native American 40 under 40”

Photo highlights of 2015 Veterans Wacipi

Blackfeet succeed in stopping drilling on sacred homeland

Deadline for receipt of copy is Friday noon

Community mourns more loss of life

A spontaneous community prayer and crisis gathering was held last Monday afternoon at the Sisseton Wahpeton College omniciye tipi.

In calling Oyate to the gathering, KXSW announcer Tom Wilson said, “Come pray and talk about what we as a community can do with the prevention of suicides.”

He called for an “open mic, open feelings,” and added, “Prayers are stronger as a community.

Tom gave a special invitation to all who work with youth, elders, parents, grandparents and survivors.

Since that day there have been other gatherings: Thursday at the VMYC gym; and Friday night Aliive Roberts County brought out nearly 200 people for its “To Save A Life” event.

On Saturday afternoon there was an anti-bullying rally and memorial walk held in honor of Alayla, who lost her life to bullying.

The SWO Youth Department sponsored an all-night “lock-in” at the VMYC for youth.

See accompanying photo highlights of the memorial walk “in honor of sweet sweet Alayla who lost her life to bullying.” Sota photos by John Heminger.

VMYC youth “lock-in” activity held last weekend

The Tribal Youth Program sponsored a “lock-in” for Oyate young people last weekend.

Here is what SWO Tribal Secretary Crystal Owen said about the activity:

Through all the pain and heartache of not only today but the past couple of weeks this picture makes me smile, it makes my heart happy to see that good things are happening for our youth.

There are some in the community who say "There is nothing for our youth." I say different.

These young lives are being influenced in a good way tonight.

They are not just getting together to stay up all night and play games they are learning life lessons, they are learning about communication and how important it is to use their voices.

They are being encouraged and supported in a good way and that's what they need right now, that's what we all need right now.

From Aliive Roberts County –

When your child's friend dies by suicide

November 16, 2015

First deal with your own feelings

When your child’s life is touched by the suicide of a peer or a friend, you may find yourself experiencing a lot of different things about the same time. Initially, you will most likely be stunned by the death. Suicide is, in fact, a rare occurrence that is difficult for most of us to understand. When a young person makes the devastating choice, our personal sense of shock and confusion can be overwhelming. The questions of how and why did this happen are often fodder for neighborhood gossip and speculation. This is when it’s so important to remember that suicide is a complex act that is always related to a variety of causes.

We may never know all the reasons for any suicide, and within this vacuum of complete and accurate information we are often presented with half-facts and speculation. Especially after the suicide of a young person, we want to ferret out the causes so we can protect ourselves, and our children, from a similar fate. And while it’s true that understanding the risk factors and warning signs of suicide can be very helpful, we don’t want to make judgments or assumptions about this particular death. So don’t give in to random conversations about the reasons for death. The most important thing any of us can say is that this young person was not thinking clearly and made a terrible choice, and the cost was his or her life.

If you knew the deceased personally, you may feel a jumble of emotions yourself. Give yourself some time to let the news settle. Expect shock to mix with sadness and helplessness. Ultimately, the fact that this youngster died by suicide will be less central to your emotions than the fact that he or she is dead and will be missed by you.

It is critical for you to take time to deal with your own feelings before you approach your child. Remember the directives from air travel about the use of oxygen masks – you must put on your own mask before you can help anyone else with theirs!

NEXT help your child

This initial response of shock may be followed quickly by concern for your own children. If your child had a personal relationship with the deceased, your child’s grief should be your first priority. Grief in childhood looks differently than it does in those that accompany a significant loss, in short bursts. Such feelings normally pass quickly, which is why it’s important to seize those “teachable moments” when the door to conversation about the death may be open.

Start by expressing your own sadness and confusion about the death, and then ask your child to share his or her reactions. Validate whatever you hear. I can appreciate your sadness, confusion, anger, lack of understanding. Be prepared for the classic response of “I don’t know” and validate that too! I understand when something like this happens, it can be hard to know how you feel.

If you’ve been hearing rumors about the death, chances are your child has heard them also. Address the rumors with your child. There are a lot of rumors floating around about what happened. Have you heard anything? Explain that although some of the rumors may be true, they are only part of the story and we have to be careful not to make judgments based on limited information. Emphasize that the most important piece of the story is the fact that the deceased felt so terrible or was thinking so unclearly that he or she did not realize in the consequences of what he or she was doing. This is especially important to discuss if drugs or alcohol are implicated in the death. Remind your child, without preaching or lecturing, about the effects of drugs on impulse control and judgment.

Because children normally imitate or copy the behavior of peers, you may want to underscore the dangerous consequences of the deceased’s behavior. Sometimes children are intrigued by the circumstances of a suicide death or attempt, so it’s essential to state emphatically that there can be a fine line between dangerous and deadly behavior – and their friend’s death is a reflection of this. If they hear any of their friends talking about copying the behavior of the deceased, they need to tell an adult immediately!

This leads into the final part of the conversation: a discussion about help-seeking. Emphasize that nothing in life is ever so terrible or devastating that suicide is the way to handle it. Ask your child to whom she or he would turn to for help with a serious problem.

Hopefully, your name will be on the top of the list, but don’t be upset if it isn’t. Depending on your child’s age, his or her allegiance may have shifted to peers. Agree that friends are a great resource but that when a problem is so big that suicide is being considered as its solution, it’s essential to get help from an adult too.

Ask which adults your child views as helpful, especially with difficult problems. If the list is short or nonexistent, make some suggestions. Good choices can include other adult family members, school staff such as teachers, counselors, coaches or the school nurse, clergy or youth ministers, a friend’s parent and older siblings or even neighbors. The identity of the person is less important than the fact that your child recognizes the importance of sharing problems with a trusted adult.

A time may come when your child is concerned about the well-being of a friend or classmate. You may want to help them recognize that these same adults are a great resource in those situations too. It’s never good to keep worries about a friend to one’s self, especially if the worries are about something as serious as suicide.

Revisit these messages about finding adult helpers in other conversations. Unanswered questions and complicated feelings about a suicide linger, even if they are unspoken, and ignoring them does not make them go away. Talking about suicide can’t plant the idea in your child’s head. On the contrary, creating an open forum for discussion of difficult subjects like suicide can give your child the opportunity to recognize you as one of his trusted adults and will offer the chance to practice help seeking skills.


*Deal with your own reactions

*Avoid gossip about the causes

*Remain nonjudgmental about the deceased

*Share your reactions with your child

*Ask for his/her response and validate it

*Acknowledge rumors and put into context

*Underscore the dangerous behavior of the deceased

*Introduce topic of help seeking

*Keep channels of communication open!

Information taken from

Conversation with Joe Williams: “Iktomi and Messages for Today’s Oyate”

SWO elder Joe Williams Sr. shared a conversation with Oyate last Wednesday evening at the Sisseton Wahpeton College log cabin.

“Iktomi and Messages for Today’s Oyate” was all about connecting Dakota history and culture with what is happening among the SWO today.

Joe talked about messages carved into agate on Dakota homelands more than 7,000 years ago in what is now Minnesota.

According to oral history, the Blue Star Woman, one of the Seven Sisters, came down from the stars to leave these signs to be interpreted by the Oyate. To “lead us,” Joe says, “and all peoples.”

Inscribed in the Jeffers Petroglyphs are signs that he tells, “explains our legends, our stories.”

And he gave many examples of Iktomi.

Iktomi, he says, is often thought of as a spider.

No, says Joe, Iktomi is a man.

A man who comes to confuse you.

In sharing the stories, Joe Williams demonstrated how today’s Oyate have become confused.

“By Iktomi,” as he tells it.

Interpreting the messages will, according to Joe, help the people find their way again.

He recommends SWO members travel to the Petroglyphs site in southwestern Minnesota.

Seeing them firsthand is more powerful than looking at the pictures.

There are more than 5,000 carvings in the rock.

Handing down the Dakotah Language

While passing down the Dakotah Language was not the main focus of this conversation, Joe spoke of how he learned.

When he was young he learned Dakotah-iya from his grandparents.

He was told he must learn to speak the language because he will have to depend upon it to survive.

Today there are classes to learn to speak Dakotah, but do students understand they must depend upon Dakota-iyapi to survive? No. Because everybody depends upon Wasicu.

Dakotah Language teachers: Perhaps in the classroom students could be reminded that the language must be depended upon once again for them to fully be Dakota Oyate.

A video of Joe’s “conversation” is available online on the Earthskyweb YouTube channel. A link is available on the Sota website.

Sota news, editorial commentary –

Council removes Bruce Renville from SWO Tribal Chairman’s post

By CD Floro

Sota Editor

The SWO Tribal Council held its removal hearing last Tuesday, November 17th to determine whether or not to continue allowing Bruce Renville to serve as SWO Tribal Chairman.

The hearing was called after Council moved to suspend the Tribal Chairman in a special session at the end of last Monday’s regular Council meeting on November 9.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m., scheduled time for the hearing, Oyate entered Council chambers.

Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau informed them that the hearing was closed and they had to leave.

Several elders refused and head of security Skyman Redday was tasked with removing them.

For a few minutes there was a standoff until Chairman Renville asked people to go ahead and leave.

And they went outside, where they waited in the rotunda all day long. Waiting to hear the fate of the Chairman’s second removal hearing.

Finally, in late afternoon, the chambers were opened to the public.

Oyate streamed inside, anxious to know what was happening.

The Council was called to order.

Big Coulee Councilman Jerry Eastman read the ten formal charges against SWO Tribal Chairman Bruce Renville. (During later critical questioning of Greg Paulson of BlueDog Law, the attorney said it was not him but Jerry himself who authored the charges.)

There was a roll call vote, with all voting yes in favor of removal except for Old Agency District Councilman Eddie Johnson and Lake Traverse District Councilman Dave Flute; the Vice-Chairman who was chairing the meeting did not vote.

One person stood and complained to Marc Beaudreau, Heipa District Councilman, that he voted against what his District had told him to do in a special meeting.

A motion was made declaring the position of SWO Tribal Chairman vacant. It passed.

Council them made a motion to adjourned, which also passed.

As elders and other Oyate stood to ask questions and make comments, Councilmen Kevin Roberts of Enemy Swim, Councilman Jerry Eastman of Big Coulee, Councilman Dickie Johnson of Buffalo Lake, and Councilwoman Virginia Max of Long Hollow all walked out of chambers.

Marc Beaudreau, Eddie Johnson and Dave Flute all remained for over an hour listening to and fielding questions from the Oyate, many of whom were irate that the proceedings had been closed and they had had no say in the Chairman’s removal.

The Executives Garryl Rousseau and Crystal Owen stayed until someone made what they took as an insensitive remark about the teen suicides. (Crystal lost her granddaughter two weeks ago to suicide.)

Obviously, the removal of a popular elected Itancan is a huge matter.

Feelings are running high, with many asking what was Council thinking … how could this handful of people overturn the election?

There are movements to recall District Council representatives.

But we wanted to hear the other side, what was going on in the minds of Tribal Council and the other Executives.

So we followed up.

Here’s what we learned.

First, the issue that precipitated the hearing and removal was Bruce Renville’s temporary suspension on November 6th of Vice-Chairman Rousseau.

According to the Chairman’s suspension notice to Garryl, his authority for ordering the suspension is provided in the SWO Constitution.

But on Monday morning, November 9th, Tribal Council determined that Chairman Renville had violated the Constitution by suspending the Vice-Chair.

According to the two remaining Executives primary reason for removal was Chairman Renville’s violation of the Constitution, that it does not give the Chairman such authority.

But there is more.

They say that Bruce Renville has kept his plans and negotiations with outside agencies and officials from their weekly executive meetings. That he has not invited them, or District Council members, into closed-door meetings in his office.

They blame Chairman Renville for not working in a spirit of cooperation with them and with Council members.

And they consider his handling of personnel – Tribal program managers down to employees – as “bullying.”

This has also been expressed by employees upset not only by the unannounced drug testing but by further actions either by the Chairman himself or members of his staff.

After resolution of the Chairman’s first removal hearing, according to several Council members, he was supposed to cooperate more fully yet complain he is not going along with them but going his own way.

So, the Tribe is now without Itancan because the elected leaders cannot work cooperatively.

Blame Bruce.

Or blame Council.

Oh, and there are conflicting legal opinions about what is Constitutional and what is not Constitutional … what policy means or does not mean (policies and procedures are often inconsistent, with obvious discrepancies) … even the whole matter of how removal hearings are conducted is disputed (in years past these hearings have been open to the Oyate).

There are critics of Council who say, “They are making up their own rules as they go along.”

One thing is clear in talking with the remaining Executives, Garryl Rosseau and Crystal Owen, they express commitment to the important issues:

*Meth/drug and alcohol crises.

*Health/wellness and rehabilitation.

*Public safety.

*Protecting the environment.



*Economic development.


And more.

It would be a mistake to believe that all votes cast for removal of the Chairman were made lightly, and not out of conscience.

Where do we go from here?

Bruce Renville petitioned Tribal Court to step in because he was not provided due process, that a minimum of five working days was not provided between his suspension and the removal hearing.

The Court could require Council to hold a new hearing.

The hearing is scheduled this Monday morning, November 23rd, in Tribal Court. If his petition is successful, Tribal Council would need to set a day and time for another removal hearing. And whether or not anyone on Council would change their vote is questionable.

But it is not out of the question altogether as Oyate are protesting at the District level for their representatives to change their votes.

We watch to see who is Council’s pick to serve as interim Chairman.

A special election must be called within 45 days.

Will the Oyate vote again for Bruce Renville if he decides to run?

Whoever wins this election will have to work with this Tribal Council … or with other members elected to fill posts of those who will have been removed.

And that would mean more special elections in the Districts.

We are in a time of great upheaval.

The Oyate cannot afford to have a non-functioning Tribal Council.

Sota news, editorial commentary –

Federal agents investigating allegations of corruption

Federal agents came to the SWO elderly nutrition center last Friday afternoon, November 20th.

There was no public news release for the event, but it was announced on social media – Facebook – late Thursday.

Here is the announcement: “Troy Morley, Tribal Liaison to the SD Dept. of Justice along with FBI agents will be at the Elderly Center tomorrow (Friday) at 1:00 p.m. to listen to any complaints or concerns from the community.”

Troy Morley came representing the US Attorney’s office, saying that the public meeting was prompted by numerous calls by SWO Tribal members. Oyate have made allegations of corruption by elected officials at the District and Tribal level.

With him were Dan Orr and Carrie Leblanc, FBI agents who work out of Pierre and Aberdeen and cover the Lake Traverse and Standing Rock reservations.

Possibly since so many of the complaints raised were lodged at Tribal Council for “overturning the election of a popular chairman who won by a large margin” Troy Morley addressed that issue at the start.

The US Attorney’s office . . . the US government . . . will not interfere in internal tribal politics.

Being a member of the Turtle Mountain Band, Troy said he understands the need to protect tribal sovereignty.

Numerous times in response to many questions, he said the feds will not come in until all tribal remedies are exhausted.

He stressed use of the Tribal Court several times, how it must be used for filing cases. If a case is unsuccessful it may be appealed. If, on appeal, a remedy is not provided, and supportive evidence is valid, the U.S. Attorney may step in.

When asked specific questions, he and FBI agents replied generally, with hypothetical answers, or declined to answer.

Questions were raised about alleged “financial irregularities” in Tribal programs, an issue brought before Council by the Chairman on Monday the 9th the day he was suspended pending removal. The response by the FBI was that they could not comment on ongoing investigations.

Fighting drug use was a big topic.

The federal officials were asked whether or not it was right that Tribal Council allowed employees who failed the tests (and had no prescriptions supporting use of drugs) back to work.

Their replies were that it was an internal tribal matter of personnel policy involving due process.

Many allegations were brought from the floor, and each time either Troy or one of two FBI agents responded by saying they will investigate but need evidence of wrongdoing.

It takes documentation to make a case, they said.

Troy said when the U.S. Attorney takes a case to the grand jury, there is “no taking sides.” Evidence is presented “and the jury makes the decision,” he said.

The two FBI agents charged with operating on the Lake Traverse Reservation also cover Standing Rock, but they expressed a commitment to do whatever they can to come here and interview people, witnesses, and gather evidence.

Besides misuse of federal funds, Oyate spoke of threats and intimidation.

There were stories of being bullied at District meetings and in the workplace by people wanting to protect the status quo.

Tribal Council was said several times to be operated on “the good old buddy system.”

That phrase was also used by Dave Flute, Lake Traverse District Councilman who came right out and talked about being threatened.

“I’ve got threats on my phone.”

“People are sending me videos of me and my family … they’re watching us … and saying you’re next.”

Dave and Eddie Johnson, Old Agency District, are the only members of Council who voted for Chairman Renville to remain in office.”

Everyone else supported what some people are saying amounts to a takeover by a handful of people who sit on Council.

Dave came right out and told Oyate that the Council’s actions amount to a conspiracy to keep that good old boy system in place. And he was behind those closed doors with them while people waited in the rotunda at last Tuesday’s removal hearing.

Many Tribal elders spoke up with questions and complaints against Council and District officers as well.

Kunsi Ione Eagle took the microphone and said that “the power is in the people.”

“Go in there and make those (in Council) do what we say or get them out.”

The federal officials said the best way is through the ballot box.

Right away there were comments that waiting for the next election cycle will take too long.

“Recall petitions” were suggested.

Several Oyate said that efforts to make recall petitions work in unseating Council members has been difficult, if not impossible.

Sometimes when a District successfully passes a recall petition, it is often not supported by Council. Other members vote to keep that person on Council – even though their own District wants him/her removed.

Dave Flute spoke again, saying he has “a bad premonition” and recounted the akicita takeover of TiWakan Tio Tipi in 1999.

He said that unless something happens, he sees that happening again.

And if the akicita take over the new administration building, will you (the federal agents) again send busloads of armed agents to protect the corrupt Tribal Council?

He said he doesn’t plan to be involved this time, saying he risked ten years in prison the last time it happened. But this is what he feels will happen again if this Council is not removed.

Regarding what the feds can and cannot do, here is what they need in order to pursue a case.

Evidence of:

*Obstruction of justice, impeding a federal investigation.

*Threats and intimidation of witnesses.

*Falsifying or destroying documents.

The FBI agents want Oyate to inform them of what may be considered evidence. Whether involving corruption at the District, or Tribal level, or making and/or distributing of Meth and other drugs.

Number for the Aberdeen FBI office is (605)-225-3353.

Bottom line: Oyate, don’t expect the federal government to come in and repair your political system. But you can expect the FBI to continue investigating allegations of misuse of federal funds at the District and Tribal (program) level. And for their documentation to go to the U.S. Attorney’s office. A case involving Lake Traverse District officials was prosecuted and those found guilty have been sentenced. A case against six Big Coulee District officials will go to federal court on December 16, 2015.

Dustina Gill among “Native American 40 under 40” award recipients

Dustina Gill, SWO Tribal member, has been honored with one of the 2015 “Native American 40 Under 40” awards.

Recipients are nominated by members of their communities, for having demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and making significant contributions in business and their community.

The National Center for American Enterprise Development (NCAIED) presented these awards last week, on Wednesday, November 18th, during the 40th annual Indian Progress in Business Awards (INPRO) event in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

See the accompanying photo of Dustina accepting the award and a Pendleton during the ceremony.

Here is what Dustina wrote to go with the picture:


Is for those who walked on

Those who struggle

Those who are healers

Who would we be

without each other

We are never alone


Congratulations, Dustina, and thank you for your ongoing service to the community.

Funding opportunities for tribes

Grants to support Public Safety projects in Indian Country

Washington, DC – Nov. 19, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Justice today announced the opening of the grant solicitation period for comprehensive funding to American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and tribal consortia to support public safety, victim services and crime prevention improvements. The department’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS) posts today at

“Since 2010, the CTAS program has helped tribes develop their own comprehensive approaches to making their communities safer and healthier,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery. “CTAS grants have funded more than 1,400 programs to better serve crime victims, promote community policing and strengthen justice systems.

CTAS is administered by the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), including its Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC); and the Department of Jusitce’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The funding can be used to enhance law enforcement, bolster adult and juvenile justice systems, prevent and control juvenile delinquency, serve native victims of crime including, child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and elder abuse victims; and support other efforts to combat crime.

Applications for CTAS are submitted through the Department of Justice’s Grants Management System (GMS), which enables grantees to register and apply for CTAS online. Applicants must register with GMS prior to submitting an application. The application deadline is Feb. 23, 2016, at 9:00 P.M. EST.

The FY 2016 CTAS reflects improvements and refinements from earlier versions. Feedback was provided to the department during tribal consultations and listening sessions, and survey assessments, which include tribal leaders’ requests to improve and simplify the department grant-making process. Changes to department grant programs, enacted with the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act, are incorporated into the CTAS solicitation and in the appropriate purpose areas. More information about all changes to the FY 2016 CTAS Solicitation is available on the CTAS fact sheet at:

For the FY 2016 CTAS, a tribe or tribal consortium will submit a single application and select from any or all of the nine competitive grant programs referred to as “purpose areas.” This approach allows the department’s grant-making components to consider the totality of a tribal nation’s overall public safety needs.

The nine purpose areas (PA) are:

· PA1 - Public Safety and Community Policing (COPS)

· PA2 - Comprehensive Tribal Justice Systems Strategic Planning (BJA)

· PA3 - Justice Systems and Alcohol and Substance Abuse (BJA)

· PA4 - Corrections and Correctional Alternatives (BJA)

· PA5 - Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program (OVW)

· PA6 - Children’s Justice Act Partnerships for Indian Communities (OVC)

· PA7 - Comprehensive Tribal Victim Assistance Program (OVC)

· PA8 - Juvenile Justice Wellness Courts (OJJDP)

· PA9 - Tribal Youth Program (OJJDP)

Tribes or tribal consortia may also be eligible for non-tribal, government-specific (non-CTAS) federal grant programs and are encouraged to explore other funding opportunities for which they may be eligible. Additional funding information may be found at the Department of Justice’s Tribal Justice and Safety website at or the website.

Today’s announcement is part of the Department of Justice’s ongoing initiative to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities.

Blackfeet cultural leaders take legal action to protect Tribe’s ancient homeland

Great Falls, MT – On Friday, October 30, the Blackfeet Nation’s cultural leaders took a powerful stand on behalf of their traditional religion and sacred sites.

With support from partners in the conservation, hunting and angling communities, the Blackfeet Pikuni Traditionalist Association and Brave Dog Society took steps to challenge the legality of an energy lease and drilling permit granted in the Badger-Two Medicine region, an area of critical importance to Blackfeet heritage. Recognized as a Traditional Cultural District in honor of its many ancient cultural sites, the Badger-Two Medicine is home to the Blackfeet Nation’s origin stories and Sun Dance.

In Friday’s action, the Blackfeet cultural leaders requested that a federal district court in Great Falls, Montana reopen a lawsuit originally filed in 1994 that seeks to protect Blackfeet heritage and the region’s wild nature against the threat of oil and gas development. The lawsuit was administratively closed in 1997 after the federal oil and gas lease that it challenges, which is held by Solenex LLC, was subjected to an indefinite suspension of operations and production by the federal government.

The lease and the lawsuit have both remained in limbo since that time, but now Solenex has filed it own lawsuit in Washington, D.C., in an effort to force the government to lift the suspension of its lease so that it can begin exploratory oil and gas drilling within the Badger-Two Medicine region, possibly as early as next summer. As a result of a court order issued in Solenex’s lawsuit, federal officials must decide by November 23 whether to lift the suspension or instead begin a process to cancel the Solenex lease.

With the prospect that the suspension may be lifted and drilling may be authorized, the Blackfeet cultural leaders asked the Montana court to reopen their lawsuit that challenges the legality of any such drilling.

In so doing so, the Pikuni Traditionalist Association and Brave Dog Society emphasized that they appreciate that the federal government has been engaging respectfully with the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council concerning the Badger-Two Medicine leases. However, the Pikuni Traditionalist Association and Brave Dog Society do not represent Tribal government. Rather, these groups represent Blackfeet religion, culture and heritage, and re-engaging this legal matter reflects unwavering dedication to cancelation of the challenged lease. History has proven this to be a complicated issue, and the keepers of Blackfeet culture and tradition must explore all possible options and follow every lead to resolve the lease conflicts.

Solenex’s legal effort to force industrial access to this sacred land is active in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. However, the DC court has denied outside requests for participation in the case. As a result, the history and future of Blackfeet culture is being debated between the people who gave the lease and the people who received the lease. Currently, the Blackfeet Nation, Blackfeet traditionalists, and their partners are not at the table. Re-engaging this legal matter in Montana provides a seat at the table for Blackfeet and Blackfeet culture.

Conservationist, hunting, angling and stock user groups have joined the legal action in support of the Blackfeet cultural societies leading this effort. As the original 1994 plaintiff list shows, these partnering groups have long sought a lease-cancelation remedy. They have chosen to re-engage this historic fight here at home in Montana.

The Blackfeet Nation, Blackfeet cultural leaders and their partner plaintiffs are not against responsible oil and gas development. In fact, the Blackfeet Nation has issued many oil and gas leases on the reservation, and the Tribe’s cultural leaders have supported many of those decisions. Cultural and Tribal leaders are not, however, willing to pursue such development at the cost of the Blackfeet’s cultural identity and the lands that support that identity. The Blackfeet position is that appropriate development must be balanced with other concerns, including fundamental cultural interests. While oil and gas development is important, there are places – such as the Badger-Two Medicine – where other values clearly take precedence.

(Editor’s note: See related article below.)

Badger-Two Medicine: too sacred to drill

US Forest Service recommends cancelling all remaining leases in the Badger-Two Medicine

Browning, MT – Nov. 2, 2015 – Industrial development in the sacred Badger-Two Medicine is inappropriate and would cause irreversible harm to the cultural and natural resources of the area. That is the conclusion reached today by the US Forest Service and conveyed in a letter from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. As required by law, the Forest Service reviewed the findings of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) before transmitting the agency’s own recommendations to the Department of Interior.

In the letter, Secretary Vilsack writes, "Based on this information gained through the full consideration of the spiritual and cultural significance of the Badger-Two Medicine Traditional Cultural District [TCD], the Forest Service's determination of adverse affects, ACHP's final comments, changes in land management priorities, and consideration of Solenex LLC's comments, I find that the balance of considerations weigh in favor of not lifting the suspension of operations and production. Therefore, I recommend that you take action as you deem consistent with your statutory and regulatory authorities to cancel the Solenex lease."

Secretary Vilsack goes on to recommend that all leases in the Badger-Two Medicine be cancelled.

"As the remaining leases are located in the TCD and their development would also pose adverse impacts to the TCD that could not be fully mitigated, I concur with the ACHP's recommendation of taking 'the steps necessary to terminate the remaining leases in the TCD.'"

The news was greeted with enthusiasm by the Blackfeet Business Council and others.

“The Forest Service has reaffirmed what we’ve said all along,” said Harry Barnes, Chairman of the Blackfeet Business Council. “Drilling for oil in the Badger-Two Medicine would cause irreparable damage. We demand the cancellation of all illegal leases and the permanent protection of our sacred lands.”

The Forest Service, under the Department of Agriculture, is responsible for managing the surface uses of the public lands under its jurisdiction. The Badger-Two Medicine, a 130,000-acre area managed by the Lewis and Clark National Forest, is part of the 165,588-acre Traditional Cultural District (TCD), which also includes portions of the Flathead National Forest and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), under the Department of Interior, manages the sub-surface resources of the federal public lands.

The Forest Service’s recommendation adds another voice to the growing chorus supporting the Blackfeet Tribe’s call for lease cancellation, a chorus that includes hunting and angling groups such as Trout Unlimited, Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

In a recent letter (full text attached) to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council reiterated the broad public support for lease cancellation within the Badger-Two Medicine.

“Many people have partnered with the Blackfeet Nation to achieve the cancelation of these leases,” the letter states, “including Montana’s senior senator, Montana’s Governor, our Glacier County Commissioners, former Glacier National Park superintendents, former Lewis and Clark National Forest supervisors, former Secretaries of the Interior, many tribal nations and the National Congress of American Indians.”

Prior to today’s Forest Service recommendation, the ACHP, an independent federal agency that oversees preservation of historic places on federal lands, strongly recommended cancellation of all the leases located in the Badger-Two Medicine Traditional Cultural District.

The ACHP wrote, “The cumulative effects of full field development, even with the mitigation measures proposed by Solenex, would result in serious and irreparable degradation of the historic values of the TCD that sustain the tribe. If necessary, the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, should seek authorizations from Congress to withdraw or cancel the Solenex lease.”

The next step is for the BLM to issue its decision on the fate of the leases by November 23 as part of an ongoing lawsuit brought by a Louisiana oilman, (Solenex v. Jewell in Washington, DC District Court), who wants the lease suspension lifted by next summer so he can build a road, construct a bridge over the Badger-Two Medicine River, and build a well pad in the heart of the Badger-Two Medicine.

“The court has imposed a deadline on the federal government requiring them to answer the question of whether or not to lift the suspension of the lease,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “However, the fundamental problem remains: the Badger-Two Medicine leases were illegally issued in the first place and development of invalid leases should not be allowed to proceed.”

Kendall Flint, President of the Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, lives within hiking distance of the proposed well site and notes, “No matter how the details of the lawsuit unfold, Montanans on and off the Reservation stand together in support of the Blackfeet in the pursuit of protection for the wild and sacred lands of the Badger-Two Medicine.”

Pushes for stronger protections to prevent Human Trafficking on websites

Washington, DC – Nov. 19, 2015 – During a Senate hearing, U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today pressed key experts and advocates on the need for anti-trafficking measures for websites like – which has become an online hub for human trafficking, including in North Dakota – to prevent the criminal exploitation of women and children through sex trafficking.

To date, has refused to fully cooperate with Committee-issued subpoenas regarding a U.S. Senate investigation into human trafficking, and Heitkamp and other Committee members plan to hold the company accountable for its actions. During a hearing in the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Heitkamp, who serves as a member of the subcommittee, slammed CEO Carl Ferrer for refusing to testify on his company’s continued lack of transparency in failing to disclose and discuss the safeguards the website uses to prevent traffickers from using the site as a medium to perpetuate crimes. Because of the rampant use of by perpetrators of human trafficking looking to buy or sell victims, often who are minors, law enforcement in North Dakota has used the site to find and arrest those committing such crimes.

Long an advocate against human trafficking, Heitkamp led an initial hearing in September 2013 to sound the alarm on the prevalence of human trafficking right in our own backyard, including in North Dakota. Since then, Heitkamp has continued to look at how we can provide better protections for victims, including discussions about liability in civil and criminal cases for companies like, which provide platforms for the trafficking of women and children.

“Websites like exist in these shadows – helping criminals traffic women and children by offering them complete invisibility. On Wednesday, posted 69 new ads for escorts in Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks and Minot – that’s in just one day,” said Heitkamp. “There have been too many stings in North Dakota where perpetrators used to buy and sell victims and that cannot be allowed. The refusal of CEO Carl Ferrer to testify on the safeguards he claims are in place to prevent online exploitation of our country’s most vulnerable – when his company is notorious for acting as an online hub for sex trafficking – is deeply disturbing. As I have long said, we must hold liable for actions, like human trafficking, that take place through its site, and I’ve spoken with federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, about accomplishing that goal.”

Heitkamp has consistently has worked to engage, educate, and unite North Dakota’s communities and federal officials in the fight against human trafficking. Just last month, Heitkamp brought DHS Blue Campaign Chair Maria Odom – a program within DHS whose agency dedicated solely to eradicating fighting human trafficking across the country – across North Dakota to work with advocates, and law enforcement, and tribal officials to develop potential areas of partnerships to help the state fight these crimes. Later that month, Heitkamp collaborated with Truckers Against Trafficking to encourage North Dakota truckers – who are often in locations, where human trafficking is more likely to occur, like rest stops – to engage in the national effort to combat these crimes by reaching out to law enforcement when they see potential instances of trafficking.

Over the past year, Heitkamp has also teamed up with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to hold multiple trainings for North Dakotans, statewide women leaders, and law enforcement and victims service providers on how to identify, report, and investigate incidents of human trafficking.

Background: Heitkamp has been leading the charge to combat human trafficking in North Dakota and across the nation by:

· Raising Awareness in the U.S. Senate about Human Trafficking Early on: In September 2013, she led a Senate hearing on efforts underway at the federal, state, and local levels to combat human trafficking, including in Indian Country. Before this hearing, there had been little discussion in Congress on efforts to tackle human trafficking.

· Passing Strong Bipartisan Legislation to Fight Against Human Trafficking: Heitkamp helped introduce, and played an integral role in passing in the Senate’s bipartisan Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act which the President signed into law in April. Working with Republican Senator Susan Collins, Heitkamp helped reignite the politically stalled legislation by offering a bipartisan, compromise path forward. The final bill provides greater assistance to victims of human trafficking, increased resources to law enforcement and victims’ services organizations, and secures greater punishments for perpetrators of these horrific crimes. The package also contains provisions Heitkamp fought for and won – including stricter punishments against traffickers who transport victims across state lines, and legal protections from her Safe Harbor bill with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to make sure victims are not treated as criminals.

· Working on Bipartisan Solutions to Engage Health Care Providers: This spring, Heitkamp and Collins introduced bipartisan legislation to give health care providers – including doctors, nurses, and social workers – training to help identify and protect victims of human trafficking. Heitkamp and Collins’ Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act would build on Williston and New Town pilot programs to give health providers nationwide needed training on how to recognize, report, and potentially intervene when they see patients who are possible human trafficking victims. Recent studies suggest that nearly one-third of women trafficked in America saw a health care professional while they were still captive to these crimes.

· Advocating for Protections for Young People at Risk: Heitkamp has been a strong advocate and cosponsor of the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking and Prevention Act – which would help protect some of the most susceptible targets of human traffickers. She is continuing to push the Senate to pass the bill. In July, Heitkamp successfully secured landmark anti-human trafficking protections for children in schools in the No Child Left Behind reform legislation.

· Addressing Human Trafficking as a Community Issue in North Dakota: Last fall, Heitkamp launched her Strong & Safe Communities Initiative to address emerging challenges throughout North Dakota in the wake of the state’s energy boom, including human and sex trafficking. Last summer, Heitkamp brought international anti-human trafficking leader Cindy McCain to Bismarck for a Strong & Safe Communities roundtable on the challenges and next steps in North Dakota’s fight against human trafficking.

Funding for ND rural and tribal education

Washington, DC – Nov. 19, 2015 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, today announced over $740,000 in federal grants to support rural and tribal distance education.

“North Dakota has unique challenges in offering a variety of educational experiences in rural and tribal school districts, but these students succeed each and every time they are given the opportunity,” said Heitkamp. “Improving access to teleconferencing equipment and up-to-date technology will allow students in rural and tribal schools to engage in the same experiences as their urban counterparts. It’s good to see these investments in our students, as they are our future for our state, and these federal funds will provide them with the tools they need to thrive in the 21st Century.”

· North Dakota University System– $267,655 in federal funding to upgrade teleconferencing equipment.

· North Dakota Educational Technology Council– $237,817 in federal funding to upgrade distance education equipment in schools, including schools on Indian Reservations.

· North Dakota University System – $237,817 in federal funding to purchase video conferencing equipment to increase the quality of distance education and support new distance learning opportunities.

These federal funds are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Distance Learning & Telemedicine Grants.

Editorials –

Sota editorial –

Listen to echoes of their voices

these young Dakotas taking their lives

by cd floro

Nov. 19, 2015



hear their




upon shores

of our heart

and mind


gentle spirits

in rebellion

against an





where food

and water

for the journey

are tainted

by matrix




has come

to trick us

into handing

over our souls


we fail

to notice what

is happening


but hear what

it is in echoes

of the children's

voices for

they have seen

what escapes

our attention


oh that we might

listen and learn

what Iktomi

is doing

that steals

their will

to continue


with us

Brief editorial comments from the editor’s desk –

On and Off the Lake Traverse Reservation

The current crisis is not political.

It is not economic.

It is spiritual.

We are a community in mourning.

Not only are we seeing the most beautiful young people telling us their spirits are so disheartened by what we are providing them, but several of our elders have left on their spirit journeys.

Prayers to families and friends of each of those who passed away.

May you find comfort as all must, in the healing of our community.


The level of mean-spirited discourse … no, not discourse, shouting … among the Oyate it at an all-time high. And, yes, there have been many conflicts over past years.

Today’s turmoil approaches a level not of conflict but of war.

We take heart only by witnessing it as a catharsis, a time of needed change.

Whatever “side” or “faction” there is, we have our friends.

For example, the current Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseu Sr.

We’ve known Garryl in and out of Tribal office over many years. And as a friend.

It’s difficult to accept anyone’s picture of him as one who would be part of a conspiracy.

And we’re not just saying that because he oversees the Sota and authorizes our checks.

We need level heads and a lowering of hostility, but we also need transparency and full accounting of how the Tribe’s money is being spent, how resources are being managed.

A forensic audit was suggested at Friday’s meeting.

As a result of allegations, the FBI is already looking into how Districts and Tribal programs are spending federal money. Indictments have been served. More or on the way.

Wherever this information leads, if someone … anyone … in the Tribe is misusing these moneys, he or she must answer in court.

House cleaning must be done in order to go ahead in a good way for all the Oyate.


One more comment about the elephant in the big room of the Oyate.

Make no mistake.

This current crisis is not political.

It is not economic.

It is not about who wants to borrow $30-plus million more to put into gaming, which has become a hole rather than the short-term revenue-generator to foster a variety of businesses. (Oops, we slip back into politics.)


None of that.

This is spiritual.

There is something happening around the world.

Some call it a paradigm shift. Some consider it transitioning to a higher vibration of consciousness.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse has spoken of it for over two decades in his prophecies.

As have other visionaries and spiritual leaders.

This is a time of great violence and upheaval. Along with people at war with one another, Ina Makoce – Mother Earth – is in a period of violence.

There is only one way to save this planet and its people.

That is by becoming bringers of light.

It is for the Dakota Oyate it is by restoring your hearts, minds and spirits to the roots of your ancestors.

And it certainly is not by continuing to fall into the square world of wasicu’s where you were never meant to fit in. (That is something Joe Williams Sr. spoke about last week in his conversation: We are people of the circle, and wasicu have taught us to live in a world of squares/rectangles.)

Please quiet the shouting.

Be still and listen, Oyate, to your broken Dakota heart.


Tribal Secretary Crystal Owen has announced that Native American actor Tatanka Means is coming to the Lake Traverse Reservation.

Besides his acting career, he is also a comedian.

He will be featured at the SWO Tribal Christmas Party on December 10th entertaining Tribal employees and their guests with a comedy show.


Elder's Meditation:

"In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred, everything is for sale." -- Oren Lyons, ONONDAGA

The Elders often say that when something is sacred it has spiritual value. You'll hear, on the Earth there are sacred spots. You'll hear, our ceremonies are sacred, our children are sacred, marriage is sacred. When something is sacred it means it's so holy you can't attach a value to it. Therefore, it's not for sale. It's an insult to suggest buying something sacred. On the other hand, if we look at it differently, as there is no sacred land, ceremonies are not sacred, our children are not sacred, etc., then everything is for sale. Sacredness creates spiritual space. Sacredness makes things holy. Sacredness shows respect for God.

Great Spirit, let me honor things that are sacred.


Words to consider (or, perhaps not!):

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it's more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. David Brin (1950 - )

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves. Robert Anton Wilson

No one can earn a million dollars honestly. William Jennings Bryan (1860 - 1925)

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006)

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. Dr. Joyce Brothers (1928 - )

Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute. Josh Billings (1818 - 1885)


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.

-- CDF

Obituaries –

Funeral services for Richard Wanna

Funeral Mass for Richard A. Wanna, 88 of Sisseton, were held last Friday morning, November 20, 2015 at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church, Sisseton, SD with Celebrant Rev. Fr. Jerry Ranek.

Pallbearers were Stacy Wanna, Doug Renville, Benji Thompson, Junior. Thompson, Keith Wanna, Ronnie Donnell, Scott LaCroix and Jason Wanna.

Honorary Pallbearers were "All of Richards Family and Friends."

Military Rites were provided by the United Veterans Association.

Wake services were held on Wednesday and all-night Thursday at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Hall, Sisseton, SD.

Interment was at the St. Matthew's Catholic Cemetery, Veblen, SD.

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

Richard was born to Xavier Wanna and Rose Demarris on June 14, 1927 in Veblen, SD.

He grew up and attended school in Veblen after his education he joined the U.S. Navy in March of 1945 and served until August 1946.

After his discharge he returned to Veblen and then he worked for various companies in Minneapolis and St. Paul area and returned often to Veblen to help on the farm.

Richard liked to travel, play cards and pool and liked to attend family functions and he also liked to drive his car around and listen to music.

Richard passed away on November 16, 2015 at Coteau des Prairies Hospital in Sisseton, SD.

Richard is survived by his two sons Marlon Wanna and Quentin Barse and one daughter Kayleen Mosser and numerous and nieces, nephews and cousins.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents, five sisters and four brothers.

Cahill Funeral Chapel of Sisseton, SD has been entrusted with Richard's arrangements. An online guestbook and obituary are available at

Services held for William St. John

William Roy St. John, age 47, formerly of Sisseton, South Dakota journeyed to the Spirit World on Sunday, November 15, 2015.

He was born on January 8, 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota the son of William LaCroix and Patricia St. John.

Survived by a son Anthony Philbrick; a grandchild Wakan Philbrick; a brother Richard Byington; and by a sister Netnuqua Martin; nieces and nephews; other relatives and lots of friends.

Preceded in death by his mother Patricia St. John Renner, and father William LaCroix, brother Mark Byington.

William enjoyed to do artwork like pencil drawing, portraits, and paintings, playing basketball, watching football and basketball. William enjoyed eating at Pizza Hut. He also enjoy spending time with his son Anthony St. John Philbrick. William loved his family, he was very caring and loving to everyone he met!

Funeral services for William Roy St. John were were scheduled this Monday morning, November 23rd at the Tribal community center in Agency Villiage, South Dakota.

Interment is in St. Matthew’s Cemetery in Veblen, South Dakota.

Wake services were held on Saturday evening and all-night Sunday at the community center.

Honorary Casket Bearers: Chaske St. John, Kyle St. John, Dylan DeMarrias, Isaiah Dragswolf Sequoyah St. John

Casket Bearers: Richard St. John, Juilo Casarez, Carlos Casarez, Jeffery Moreno, Edward St. John and Fred Ducheneaux

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted, Minnesota is serving the family. Online condolences may be made to

Funeral Mass for Connie DeMarrias

Funeral Mass for Constance (Connie) Selma St. John-DeMarrias will be held Monday, November 23, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church, Sisseton, SD with Fr. Jerry Ranek officiating.

Organist will be Kay Bursheim. Burial will be at St. Matthew's Cemetery, Veblen, SD.

Wake services were held at St. Kateri Tekakwitha Saturday and all-nigh Sunday.

Active pallbearers will be Shane DuMarce, Taymin Pacheco, Bruce DeMarrias Jr., Lane DuMarce, George DuMarce, Dillon DuMarce, Dallas Keeble and Christian Pacheco.

Honorary Pallbearers Patrick Deutsch Jr., Brandon Deutsch, Connie Abraham, Marie Renville, Ione Lukins, Marcella Haug, Agatha Franklin, Robin Keeble, Cindy Esterby, Clarine White, Geraldine Kriz, Fran Quinn, Cheri Braun, Wanda Zietlow, Connie Baker, Ruth Hill, JoAnn Sharpfish, Cheryl Yellow Bird, Sharon Saul, Cindy Saul, Roberts Redwing, Tracey Saul Medina and Celine Buckanaga, and all of her Granddaughters.

Cahill Funeral Chapel, Sisseton, SD is in charge of arrangements.

Connie was born on March 24, 1934 to Esther St. John and Frances Renville in Veblen, SD. She attended school at the Wahpeton Indian School and Stephan Crow Creek.

Connie married Floyd DeMarrias.

She worked at Woonsocket, Landburger, Sisseton-Wahpeton Head Atart for 3 years, SD State Home Health Aid for 17 years, Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel for 14 years.

She loved baking bread, rummagine/thrifting, shopping and watching the Young and the Restless and Big Bang Theory.

She loved spending time with her Great Grandson Jakobe and Granddaughter Hannah.

Connie died on November 18, 2015 at her daughter's home in Sisseton, SD.

Connie is survived by six children Donavon (Robin) Keeble, Julie (Norman) Watts, Patricia (Larry) Nerison, Harlan DuMarce, Leonard DuMarce, and Bruce DeMarrias all of Sisseton, SD. Brothers Ponce Owen of Veblen, SD, Melvin Renville of Flandreau, SD, and Darrell Renville of Sisseton, SD.; one sister Joyce Krantz of Flandreau, SD, numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Connie was preceded in death by her husband Floyd DeMarrias; sons Wayne, Rodney, Mike and Keith DuMarce; sisters Dianne White, Viola Renville and Selma St. John; brothers Tyrone Keeble, Ronald Renville and Donald "Bucky"Pilcher; Mother and Father Esther St. John and Frances Renville; Grandparents Moses and Elizabeth St. John.

For her obituary and on-line registry please visit

Services held for Alayla Richotte

Funeral service for Alayla Rose Richotte, 13, of Agency Village, SD was held this Monday, November 23, 2015 with final viewing at 12:00 noon at the SWC gym in Agency Village, SD with service at 2:00 p.m. at the Max Family Cemetery with Danny Seaboy and LaVerne Blackthunder Jr. officiating.

Pallbearers will be Cole Richotte, Eli White, Matt Cleveland, Thoody Thode, Robert Taylor Jr. Derrick Locke, Cameron Seaboy and Nick Lawrence.

Honorary pallbearers will be all of Alayla's friends, cousins, and family members and her Volleyball Team. We wish we could name you all, there are so many lives and hearts she touched. Special recognition to Isabella Ortley, Gracie Goodsell, Ashton Flute and Jeremiah Eagle.

Interment will be in the Max Family Cemetery, Agency Village, SD.

Wake services were held at the SWC gym Friday and all-night Sunday.

Cahill Funeal Chapel, Sisseton, SD is in charge of arrangements.

Alayla was born on October 2, 2002 to Tate Crawford and Lindsey Richotte in Fargo, North Dakota. She lived her whole life in the Sisseton area.

She attended Sisseton Middle School and was on the Volleyball team and in the Natural Helpers Club.

Alayla loved art work, painting and drawing and really enjoyed art class. She loved music and always had her earbuds in her ears; she enjoyed hanging out with her friends and her cousins. Her cousins looked up to her.

Alayla was gentle, kind, and always willing to help.

She always saw the best in people and looked past their faults. She had a beautiful smile, heart, and soul.

She had a lot of love to give. She loved her little cousins. She loved new friends.

She had a wonderful sense of humor. She was always laughing and smiling. She loved to joke around and make people laugh.

She loved animals especially her basset hound Daisey.

She liked to tease people and loved hanging out with her uncles and she had a great love for her family and was always visiting everybody. She had a beautiful soul and a love of nature and being outside.

She had a love for all of her surroundings. She saw the beauty in everything. She loved biking around.

Alayla is survived by her parents, grandparents Deb Richotte and Tom Locke; sisters Destree Richotte, Jesselynne Cloud and Lorenalynn Cloud; Maternal Great Grandparents Rose Max and David L. Seaboy; Uncles Cole and Tyrell Richotte; numerous cousins and numerous friends.

Alayla is preceded in death by her maternal grandfather Robert Richotte and uncles Robert-Paul Richotte and Duran Richotte, Great Grandparents Pete Richotte, Evelyn Marie Quinn, and Paul Richotte.

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

Funeral services for Kenny Seaboy

Edward Duane “Kenny” Seaboy Jr., of Summit, SD, journeyed to the Spirit World on Thursday, November 19th, 2015, following a year-long battle with cancer.

Kenny was born to Edward Seaboy Sr. and Ruby (Owen) Seaboy on August,10th 1943 in Sisseton, SD. He grew up in the Waubay area, where he attended elementary and high school. He later attended SWCC. Kenny was a life long learner and pursued a wide variety of interests.

In his younger years, Kenny loved to Rodeo. His favorite events were saddle bronc & bare back riding...a passion which he would later pass on to his sons.

Kenny also served as a BIA Law Enforcement officer, a Probation Officer, a Public Defender and a Para Legal.

He was voted in as a representative of the Enemy Swim District to the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribal Council from 1981-1982. He was also a Substance Abuse Counselor and Red Road Consultant for Dakotah Pride. He continued work in this field for many years and on other reservations (Ft. Thompson, Lower Sioux and Crow Agency Montana).

He was an eight-time traditional sun dancer and was very active with the 38+2 Unity riders.

Kenny was also an AIM member and participated in the International Treaty Conference Coalition along with many non-profit organizations.

He was known for his creativity and commitment to the betterment of his people and family.

Kenny truly enjoyed working with children of all ages in the rodeo world, he was mentor to all, and hosted many rodeos in his community.

He was a much respected Tribal elder, known for his endless stories, a wonderful sense of humor, creativity, vast skills and experiences from all over the world.

Kenny was the owner, operator and creative genius of his own saddle making business, Pony Tracks Custom Leathers, for over thirty years. He was very passionate about his saddle and chap making skills. He made numerous saddles, boots, chaps and all types of rodeo equipment for professional and local cowboys alike.

Kenny's artistic skills later evolved into creating and tooling stories into his custom orders.

He was a one of a kind, unique and gifted artist.

His passion and talent can be seen in many locations around his community: including the Sisseton Wahpeton Colle and SWO Tribal offices, Dakota Sioux Casino, Veteran’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD and many other reservations in Minnesota.

Kenny was the 3rd of six children. His siblings include Orville Seaboy, Deanna Seaboy-O'Riley, Sharon Seaboy-Cloud, Beaman Seaboy, and Bonita Seaboy-Flammond.

He is survived by his wife of 32 Years, Shirley Jean (Hill) Seaboy of Crow Agency Montana.

Kenny was the proud father of six children: Kenny Seaboy, Trinie Sr. Seaboy, Georgiann Kristine (Krissy) Seaboy-McCauley, Lonnie Seaboy, Tessa Seaboy and Shannon Seaboy-Cordell. He was also a very proud grandfather & great grandfather of sixty-two children.

Kenny will be truly missed by all of his Hunka family and friends!

Kenny was preceded in death by his father and mother, Edward and Ruby Seaboy, and one daughter, Krissy Seaboy-McCauley.

Final ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at 12:00 noon at the Enemy Swim District Community Center.

Officiating: Father Charles Chan.

Drum Group: “Wahpekute.”

Honorary Casket Bearers: Kenny Belgarde - Speaker Andy LaVander Ron Eagle Chasing Wayne Mendendahl Alan Neiland Clint Sweet/Don Sweet Robbie Gill Wayne German Francis Charging Cloud. Roy Shepherd Sr. James Campbell Jr. Dennis Banks John Hill Jr. Gregory Hill Patrick Hill Vernon Hill Jeffery Hill. Raymond Grey Bear Art Owen David Flute Jordan Kirkie Tucker Wells TJ McCauley Sam Seaboy Chace Seaboy.

Casket Bearers-grandchildren: Cody Seaboy. Tyler Seaboy Austin Kirkie Tucker Seaboy Tate Seaboy. Jalin Cordell Kaiya Cordell Derrick McCauley.

Urn Bearer: his wife Shirley Seaboy.

Inurnment: St. James Cemetery Waubay, South Dakota.

Services Wednesday for Darlene King

Darlene Joyce King passed away on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at the Coteau des Prairies Hospital, Sisseton, SD.

Wake services will be held at the Buffalo Lake District Center on Monday and Tuesday, at 7:00 p.m.

Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at the Buffalo Lake District Center.

Watch for updates online and a complete obituary in next week’s Sota.

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 must 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.

Daly announces SWO scholarship recipient

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Higher Education Program announces this year's recipient of the Leo A Daly SWO Architecture/Engineering Scholarship.

Alexander Flammond was selected as the scholarship recipient for the fall 2015 semester. He is a junior studying at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri majoring in Mechanical Engineering maintaining a Grade Point Average of 3.12.

"I am currently striving to achieve my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, while also weighing the possibility of a following master's program. I appreciate the opportunity given to by this scholarship."

Alexander is Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate enrolled at Enemy Swim District and is a third generation scholar. According to his professors Alexander has engaged himself in an inherently rigorous curriculum and manages to demonstrate an enthusiastic spirit of "Learning for learning's sake". Way to Go Alexander!

This scholarship was created through the generosity of the Leo A Daly Company and was established for the further educational advancement of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate with its priority to students enrolled in a major area of study related to the architecture or engineering disciplines. The scholarship is based on merit.

The Leo A Daly Company is well known nationally and internationally for creating prestigious architectural designs and created the interior/exterior designs for the SWO Tribal Headquarters.

My voice: Encourage pride in Native culture

By John Derby

Argus Leader – Nov. 20, 2015 – n response to Stu Whitney’s Voices article titled, “Time for Indian nicknames to go away,” published Sunday, Nov. 8, I would like to give a Native American perspective.

 First of all, the state has no jurisdiction on the nine Indian reservations here in South Dakota. Therefore, the S.D. High School Activities Association can recommend and/or advise that schools on reservations change their nicknames and/or imagery, but that decision is up to the local school boards, not SDHSAA. My spouse, who is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, informs me that any organization that would try to change their Indian nickname and/or imagery from the Belcourt Braves, which has been in existence since the 1930’s, wouldn’t even make it to the school board’s agenda. I’m sure the same could be said of quite a number of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or tribal schools located on our reservations here in South Dakota.

Now as far as imagery is concerned, the key point is authenticity. Do you realize that as late as the mid-twentieth century, it was illegal for a number of states to display Indian art, including imagery? It took our Congress quite a few years to pass the 1990 Indian Arts & Crafts Act that prohibits the misuse of displaying and/or selling Indian arts and crafts by non-Indian imposters. This was happening in certain parts of our country, particularly in the Southwest. I just happened to be the Indian Education supervisor in 2001-2002, when this issue came to the fore regarding the Washington High School Warriors.

The school had a number of meetings with Art War Bonnet, director of our local Indian organization in Sioux Falls. A person was selected by the local Indian organization to paint the various Indian and non-Indian leaders here in South Dakota. Again, the school district took the necessary time to work with the local Indian organization in Sioux Falls. It was not like – this is our way of displaying Indian culture. I remember when I was the principal of Shonto Boarding School located on the Navajo reservation in northern Arizona, near the Utah border (the largest boarding school in the country at that time). If you were to visit the school, you would notice authentic Indian art displays depicting Navajo life from yesterday to the present. You mean to tell me, that you are going to tell them that this Indian art display is offensive?

There are a number of non-Indian schools in our state that have Indian art displays that represent Indian nicknames. I haven’t visited all of these schools to find out if they display Indian artwork as part of their nickname. Obviously, if it is not authentic and/or offensive, then we need to take it down and allow the local school board to decide if they want to continue with their inherited nickname. The point being, it is up to the local school board, not the SDHSAA, to make their decision.

Many of our schools have a high dropout rate among our Indian young people. I remember my first year as supervisor of the Indian Education program with the Sioux Falls School District when two of my Native American Connection teachers came to me and said, “John, I just wish we could work with these students before they got to high school.” I huddled with my immediate supervisor, Dr. Bill Smith, and made the decision to expand the Native American Connections program to all of our district middle schools. Why? We needed to get our Native American students performing reading and math at least at the seventh- and eighth-grade levels before they entered high school. If you check the statistics, you will notice more Native American students graduating from our local high schools.

Attendance is a key factor. Research tells us that for every day a student misses school, he misses two days of instruction. Then, when we get students to class, they listen when instruction is offered. Why do certain schools perform better on standardized tests than others? Teachers and staff will tell you that students who listen and do their homework, do much better than students who are not engaged in instruction. It simply doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

It is important to teach our young people to be proud of their heritage and culture. If they are gifted in the arts and crafts, they need to be encouraged and take pride in their work. To be told that authentic Indian imagery is no good and offensive sends the wrong message.

According to the 1969 Kennedy Report, the No. 1 reason for the high dropout rate of Native American students among minority groups was poor self-concept. Where do we get our self-concept? Doesn’t that come from the home, family and community? I remember Bill Mehojah, former director of BIA education, mentioning a number of studies revealing Native American children enter kindergarten with a vocabulary of approximately 5,000 words. Whereas, their non-Indian counterpart enters kindergarten with a vocabulary of approximately 15,000 words. Many students are behind before they even entered the K-12 school system. These are the real important issues we need to focus on if we are going to move forward with Native American and/or disadvantaged students in our community. When you raise the level of education in your community good things happen.

In closing, I remember when I taught an introductory Indian Studies course at Augustana College during 1971-72. I came across a 10-minute filmstrip titled: “What More Can You Take Away,” about a young Native American girl growing up on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation near Mobridge. She was taught many of the traditional values of the Lakota culture. Then upon graduation, she moved to Rapid City, and for the first time, experienced racial discrimination in the form of stereotyping, prejudice and name-calling. Upon returning to the reservation, she talks to her uncle about these hateful experiences. Her uncle being a traditional Lakota remembers a song that his great-grandfather Sitting Bull sang and passed down to his family. I would like to paraphrase it as follows:

“God you have created me Indian (Lakota), I will be Indian until the day I die, the journey will have many rough and rocky roads, I must rely on you for strength, ... thank you God for creating me Indian.” - Sitting Bull


John Derby was born on the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota and grew up in Sioux Falls. A 1960 graduate of Washington High School, he had aspirations of a professional baseball career, but chose instead chose college, earning a B.S. degree in physical education, M.A. in counseling, and an Ed.D in educational administration. He has worked for more than 45 years in education, as a teacher, counselor, graduate student and educational administrator. A member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, he has worked on six Indian reservations primarily as an administrator. He served as a Branch Chief with the U.S. Department of Education from 1990-96, as director of the Indian Fellowship Program. He retired in 2011. He and his wife live in Sioux Falls. They have five children and 19 grandchildren.

"Holiday Harmonies" to present seasonal music

The 24th Annual Holiday Harmonies Concert and reception, sponsored by the Sisseton Arts Council with support from the Sisseton Ministerial Association, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3:00 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. The concert will showcase musical groups from Sisseton area churches. Each individual church group will present selections of their favorite Christmas music.

Following the program, refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall of Grace Lutheran Church by the members of Sisseton Alliance Church and the Christian Outreach Center in Sisseton. (Groups hosting the reception are rotated to different area churches each year.)

Tickets for the Holiday Harmonies concert will be available at the door. Admission price is $5.00 for adults, and students (K-12) will be free. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Sisseton Ministerial Association to be used for those in need in our community.


Submitted by Harry O.




























































Thankful Nation

By Rep. Kristi Noem

November 20, 2015

I am finding it tough to get into the right mindset to write this column. In recent days, we’ve had to have some difficult conversations about how we’re going to keep the American people safe and away from terrorism’s deadly fist. I’ve traveled to Pine Ridge to talk to young people and tribal leaders about a tragic suicide epidemic afflicting Indian Country. My team and I have received hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls from South Dakotans who are concerned about how the federal government is caring for veterans, supporting our seniors, and digging out of debt.

Our world can be such an ugly place. But in the midst of it all, most of us will sit down with family or friends on Thursday and give thanks for our many blessings. What an incredible national tradition that is.

Especially when times are tough, we need to take the time to reset – to step back and take an account of what we do have. For me, I’m grateful for my family, for the partner I have in my husband Bryon, for the time I get to spend hunting with my oldest daughter Kassidy, for the laughter that seems to follow our second oldest daughter Kennedy wherever she goes, and for the tender heart of our son Booker.

I’m grateful for my mom and the incredible grandma she is to my kids and their cousins. I’m grateful for the time I had with my dad and all the lessons he taught me. I’m grateful for my mother-in-law and father-in-law who have been there to support us at so many turns along the way. I’m grateful for my siblings and their spouses and my nieces and nephews; they have made our family of five so much bigger (and so much louder!)

I’m so incredibly grateful to live in South Dakota. I’ve always loved our state and after spending a week or so in Washington, D.C., I become even more appreciative. I call coming home my detox.

I’m grateful for the people of our state – for those who offer words of encouragement, those who challenge me, those who pray for me, and those who ask questions and offer solutions.

I’m grateful to live in a nation that has made freedom the first tenant of our Bill of Rights; a nation that promises opportunity and strives to better itself and the world around us; a nation that takes the time every year to give thanks.

From my family to yours, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Beneficiary access to durable medical equipment

Ensure Beneficiary Access to Durable Medical Equipment Legislation will ensure that durable medical equipment (DME) providers are able to meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries in their areas

Washington, DC – Nov. 19, 2015 – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) today introduced the DME Access and Stabilization Act, legislation that would provide bridge relief to rural DME providers in non-competitively bid areas through the end of 2018. This legislation will ensure that DME providers are able to meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries in their areas. Additionally, this legislation seeks to address the underlying issues with DME reimbursement in non-competitive bidding areas. Examples of DME include hospital beds, blood glucose monitors, and wheelchairs.

“It is important that people receive quality health care, no matter where they live,” said Thune. “Not only does this legislation ensure that suppliers in rural areas can provide services they need to people in all parts of South Dakota, but it may enable people to return home faster after hospitalization.”

“Seniors in rural areas like North Dakota deserve continued access to needed medical equipment, like hospital beds, walkers, and oxygen supplies,” said Heitkamp. “Our bipartisan bill would smooth the transition to a new payment formula for businesses supplying and servicing these products, and make sure seniors, particularly those in rural communities, can continue to live independently and with dignity.”

Thune and Heitkamp introduced this legislation to address the problem caused by the national rollout of competitively bid DME prices to non-competitively bid areas. Competitive bidding was created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Competitive bidding for DME started with Round 1 of bidding in nine metropolitan areas in 2008, but was suspended due to issues with implementation. Suppliers then had to rebid Round 1, and prices for Round 1 went into effect in January 2011. Round 2 competition started in 2011 in an additional 91 predominately metropolitan areas, and prices for Round 2 took effect in July 2013. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will then take these rates from the competitively bid areas and extrapolate them to non-competitively bid areas, which will threaten beneficiary access to DME because of inherent differences in supply and delivery costs between metropolitan and rural areas.

On January 1, 2016, the competitive bidding program will be rolled out to South Dakota and North Dakota, two areas without competitive bidding areas. According to an estimate, many providers in the upper Midwest will face a nearly 40 percent reduction on average in reimbursement for the most commonly ordered DME they provide to seniors, making it financially difficult to continue to provide DME.

Joining Thune and Heitkamp in cosponsoring this legislation are U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Angus King (I-Maine), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

Ripple Effect –

Hold onto to your hats… And dust and debris.

 A wrapper, leaves, gravel road, dirt piles are commonly found objects in yards and fields.  These items when left on the landscape wreak havoc on rivers, streams and lakes all over the world.

The Red River Basin is known for its varying landscape from extremely flat agriculture land to rolling hills and forest.  One thing we have in common is wind.  With wind in a varying landscape come movement of dust and debris.  When the wind blows dust and debris, it can land in our water bodies creating issues for wildlife and aquatic species.  Not to mention, polluting our rivers, streams and lakes.

 The United States Environmental Protection Agency outlines some dust control measures that can be done within a county, community or residential area to temporarily/permanently reduce the amount of dust the deposited in the air.

 Temporary Measures

• Vegetative Coverings: Temporary seeding and mulching may be applied to cover bare soil and to prevent wind erosion. The soil must be kept moist to establish cover.

• Barriers: Solid board fences, snow fences, burlap fences, crate walls, bales of hay, and similar material can be used to control air currents and blown soil. Barriers placed at right angles to prevailing wind currents at intervals of about 15 times the barrier height are effective in controlling wind erosion.

• Calcium Chloride: This material is applied at a rate that will keep the surface moist. Pretreatment may be necessary due to varying site and climatic conditions.

• Irrigation: This is generally done as an emergency treatment. The site is sprinkled with water until the surface is wet and repeated as necessary.

• Tillage: This practice roughens the soil and brings clods to the surface. It is an emergency measure that should be used before wind erosion starts. Plowing should begin on the windward side of the site using chisel-type plows spaced about 12 inches apart, spring-tooth harrows, or similar plows.

 Permanent Site Modification Measures

• Permanent Vegetation: Seeding and sodding should be done to permanently stabilize exposed areas against wind erosion. It is recommended that existing trees and large shrubs be allowed to remain in place to the greatest extent possible during site grading processes.

• Stone:  Coarse gravel or crushed stone may be placed over highly erodible soils.

• Topsoiling: This method is recommended when permanent vegetation cannot be established on a site. Topsoiling is a process in which less erosive soil material is placed on top of highly erodible soils.

Not only does this help keeping dust out of our waterways, it also helps with air quality.

 The EPA also offers some simple tips that you can use in your home, yard, or neighborhood to reduce waste and decrease marine debris.

·         Reduce, reuse, recycle

·         Dispose of trash properly

·         Secure receptacles

·         Spread the word

 For more information on how you can do your part in reducing dust and debris in our rivers, streams and lakes, please visit the Environmental Protection Agencies website at

 Until the next Ripple Effect, The Red River Basin Commission (RRBC).


The RRBC is a grassroots organization that is chartered not-for-profit corporation under the provisions of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota law.  Our offices in Fargo, ND and Winnipeg, MB can be reached at 701-356-3183 and 204-982-7254, or you can check out our website at

Youth, school activities highlights –

Education watch on the Lake Traverse Reservation

Highlights of SWC Dakota Language class

The Sisseton Wahpeton College Dakota Language Teaching Methods class is offering a community class last week, Thursday, November 19, and this Tuesday, November 24.

Hours are from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the log cabin.

This is free and everyone is welcome!

Dakota Wounhdakapi Kte!

Here are photos from last Thursday.

SWC Dakotah Language teaching certificate students

Tanyan ecanun!

Dakotah Language Teaching Certificate students Robin, Jeremy, and Eric leading their own Dakota Language class.

Children’s Dakotah Language Picture Dictionary available

The SWO Dakotah Language Institute has published a "Children's Dakotah Language Picture Dictionary."

For information on purchasing a copy, contact Tammy DeCoteau or Eric DuMarce at 605-698-8302 or by mail at SWO Dakotah Language Institute, PO Box 509, Agency Village, SD 57262.

TZ Student Council shows appreciation for teachers

Members of the TZTS Student Council presented their teachers with treats to thank them for all that they do!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tiospa Zina PEACE students use fundraiswer to serve Thanksgiving meal

The PEACE group from Tiospa Zina Tribal School used money raised from food sales to buy, cook and serve an early Thanksgiving meal to their families.

Students made potatoes, turkey rolls, corn, stuffing and deserts.

Parents came and enjoyed a video presentation of pictures from the past four months of the activities that our group has been participating in.

PEACE wanted their family and the school to know how thankful they are for the opportunity to learn valuable skills that will help them be successful after graduating from high school.

ESDS holds annual Veterans Day Program

Submitted by Rebecca Dargatz

School Community Director

Enemy Swim Day School

Enemy Swim Day School Community Education Department hosted the annual Veteran's Day Program on November 11th.

Veterans Justin Chanku, Jesse Chanku, DeWayne Boyd, John Feather, Darrel Mireau, and Connie Sauer presented the colors.

The program consisted of introduction of the veterans, the singing of the national anthem in Dakotah (sung by Grace Bourelle, Mary Beth Kirk, and Rebecca Dargatz), the Pledge of Allegiance led by the 3rd grade class, a reading of the history of Veteran's Day by Woneyah Red Eagle, a Veterans Day poem read by Jourdes Chanku, and the Flag Song & Honor Song performed by the ESDS Drum Group.

Sixth-eighth grade students participated in the United Veterans Association Essay contest.

Winners of the essay contest were 6th grader Storm Shepherd (not pictured), 7th grader Akisa Manning-Peters, and 8th grader Alicia Renville.

The ESDS Community Education Department hosted a coloring contest. Winners of the coloring contest were kindergartner Mattison Keoke, 1st grader Zitkana Zetina, 2nd grader Jesscinda Hopkins, 3rd grader Angel Eastman, and 4th grader Jourdes Chanku.

Wopida Tanka to all of our veterans!

SWO Head Start Announcements

FALL PICTURE RE-TAKE DAY – Tuesday, November 24, 9 AM-12:00 PM @ Head Start West – If you want a re-take, please bring the original photo package. New orders are also accepted. Order forms are available at the front desk. To have one sent home, contact the receptionist at 698-3103, ext. 110.


HALF DAY WEDNESDAY – Wednesday, November 25 - Students will be released after lunch for the Thanksgiving holiday. Early Head Start students are to be picked up by noon. Head Start students will ride buses home after lunch or can be picked up by noon.

DAD/GPA/UNCLE DAY – Wednesday, November 25 – Dads, grandpas, uncles are encouraged to visit their Head Start child. Call the child’s teacher to find out when to visit.

NO SCHOOL THANKSGIVING DAY – Thursday, November 26 - All centers will be closed for the day. Offices will also be closed on Friday, November 27.

SHS Sioux Voices Thanksgiving basket winners

The SHS Sioux Voices Club held its 2015 Thanksgiving Basket Raffle winners.

Winners were:

Lois Smith.

Doc Wanna.

Club president Fiona White Eagle delivers basket to winner Doc Wanna and Freshman Club member Jaylyn Brant delivers basket to winner Lois Smith. Vice President Katie Christopherson drew the winning names.

Working to improve Native American early childhood education

Washington, DC – Nov. 19, 2015 – Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) have introduced legislation to bolster early childhood education opportunities for Native American families.

Tester and Schatz’s Tribal Early Childhood Education Act will better coordinate existing tribal early education initiatives, provide additional funding to start or expand early childhood programs, and recruit and retain more early childhood teachers to Native American classrooms.

“Graduation rates will not improve in Indian Country if students continue to fall behind at the starting line,” said Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “This bill invests in Native American students, puts them on a path to graduate on time, and better prepares them to launch a successful career.”

“When children in our Native Hawaiian communities are well prepared for school, they have a better chance at succeeding,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill makes key investments in early childhood education for native students, creating more opportunities for them to reach their full potential.”

The Tribal Early Childhood Act amends the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide tribes and tribal organizations the ability to obtain technical assistance and training to administer new childhood education initiatives, more easily navigate through the red tape that has restricted many tribes from previously accessing early childhood education resources, and directly coordinate six different tribal early childhood initiatives operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The bill also provides supplementary funding to bolster early childhood education infrastructure and facilities, as well as extend the federal teacher loan forgiveness programs for early childhood educators to better recruit and retains teachers in Indian Country.

Native American kindergartners are more likely to be held back than any other peer group and Native American students graduate high school at the lowest rate in the nation.

Children who do not participate in early childhood education are 25 percent more likely to drop out of school and 60 percent more likely to never attend college.

Your Year-End Financial Checklist

By Nathaniel Sillin

It will begin soon enough – all those "beat the rush!" ads for holiday shopping, activities and events. Right now, you have a great opportunity to beat the rush to organize your year-end finances and make some smart moves for the New Year.

Consider the following tasks for your year-end financial to-do list.

Total up your year-to-date spending. Whether you organize by computer or on paper, make sure your tracking system for spending, saving and investment is up to date. This way, you can make sure you are on budget for the year and ready with data for tax time. Once you are finished, determine your net worth – what you own less what you owe – and get an early idea of what you need to change next year.

Check in with your planner or tax professional. Late December is a busy time for financial professionals. Take a minute to see if they can review your numbers and make suggestions on year-end financial activities and new moves you should make in 2016.

Make sure you've reviewed all your credit reports for the year. You are entitled to one free copy ( of each of your three major credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. It's generally wise to schedule delivery of each at different points in the year to catch errors or irregularities.

Check and rebalance your portfolio. With the dramatic market swings this past year, be sure to check if your retirement and other investments are still on track with your investment goals. Get qualified help if necessary to see if the assets you own still fit your needs. And if you need to do any tax selling by the end of the year, now is the time to start thinking about it.

Check your insurance coverage. If you buy your own home, auto, life or other insurance policies, contact two or three agents representing highly rated ( insurers to review the adequacy and pricing of your coverage. If you have made any structural changes or improvements to your home, make sure those actions are reflected in your homeowners insurance. Such work may boost your home's replacement value. Also, if you've had a major life or financial event like a new baby or the purchase of a new home it's time to make sure all your coverage is sufficient.

Update your W-2, benefits and estate plan if necessary. While you're updating your insurance and investment needs for big life events related to family, property or marital status, see if your tax withholding and employee health coverage and investments need review. Get qualified help to make this assessment if you are not sure.

Empty out your flexible spending accounts. If you have a Flexible Spending Account for health care or other qualifying expenses, it's time to submit outstanding claims from the doctor, dentist or optometrist. Remember you can only transfer $500 in your remaining balance over to the next year. Make any appointments or medical purchases you need to now and get the paperwork in fast.

Do a last-minute tax review. If you work alone or with a tax professional, review your annual income, investment and spending data to see if there's anything you can do in the final weeks of the year to save on taxes. If tax-deductible donations to qualified charities and nonprofits are recommended, consult sites such as GuideStar (, CharityWatch ( and Charity Navigator ( to evaluate your choices so you know your contribution is being well spent.

Save time and cut back on waste with online bill pay and deposits. Automatic online bill pay means you won't have to waste time writing checks or risk late payment fees. Scheduling bill payment through your checking and savings accounts can save time and money, while setting up regular electronic deposits to savings and investment accounts can also help you save money before you are tempted to spend it.

Bottom line: Doing a last-minute review of your finances can potentially save money and help you save, spend and invest smarter in the coming year.


Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa's financial education programs. To follow Practical Money Skills on Twitter:


There no line ads in the legal advertising section this week.

Trading Post ads

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

Job Openings

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

Teacher (Rover), Early Head Start

Director, Planning

Administrative Assistant, Fish & Wildlife Department

EAP Counselor, Human Resources Department

Closing Date: November 30th, 2015 @04:30 PM

Survey CAD Technician, GIS

Closing Date: December 4th, 2015 @04:30 PM

All interested applicants may obtain application and job description information at the Human Resource Department, of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate or contact Arnold Williams at (605) 698-8238 or Denise Hill at (605) 698-8362. (Tribal preference will apply)


Dakota Nation Development Corporation

A Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Corporation


JOB TITLE: Occupancy Specialist

STATUS: Full-Time, 40 hours per week

The Dakota Nation Development Corporation is seeking qualified applicants for an Occupancy Specialist position. This position requires a high school diploma/GED equivalent; an AA Degree preferred and background in housing compliance/occupancy and knowledge of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). A job description is available at the DNDC office or you may email Please submit a resume with 3 letters of reference. Any questions, please call our office at 698-3200.

CLOSING DATE: December 4, 2015 @ 4:30pm



Tiospa Zina Tribal School

Employment Opportunities

*November 20th: Teacher Substitute Training at TZTS from 9:30am-4:00pm.

2015-2016 School Year Vacancies:

Substitutes needed for custodial, kitchen, teaching, and transportation - starting at $10/hr, varies per position Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma (please contact the HR office for more information) Applications are accepted on an on-going basis

Vacancy: High School English Teacher (Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a High School English Teacher Opening Date: April 30, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: High School Science Teacher (Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a High School Science Teacher Opening Date: April 30, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Special Education Teacher (Secondary) (Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a Special Education Teacher Preferred, will consider applicants with current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status per Secondary or Primary Education levels. Opening Date: April 30, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Gymnasium Custodian Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma and 1 year experience Opening Date: June 24, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Dakota Studies Teacher Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a Dakota Studies Teacher Opening Date: October 7, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Cook Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma, has/willing to obtain Child and Adult Nutrition & Safe Serve certification, and 1 year directly related experience. Opening Date: October 23, 2015. Closing Date: November 6, 2015.

Vacancy: Middle School Math Teacher Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for a Middle School Math Teacher. Opening Date: October 23, 2015. Closing Date: November 20, 2015.

2015-2016 Coaching Vacancies:

For List of Coaching Positions Below: Proof of all SDHSAA coaching requirements at the time application is submitted. Requirements are to complete the following courses through the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS): Fundamentals of Coaching, and First Aid and Safety for Coaches. Must also submit a letter of intent that answers the questions found on form Athletics Coaching Questionnaire. OPENING DATE: April 17, 2015 CLOSING DATE: Open until filled.

Junior High Track Coach Assistant Girls Basketball Coach

2015-2016 Extra-Curricular Assignment Vacancies:

For List of Extra-Curricular Assignments Below: Applicants are required to have a GED/High School Diploma, be able to fundraise if applicable, identify and recruit students if applicable, meet on a regular basis if applicable, and perform the duties per assignment description (contact Human Resources for description information). OPENING DATE: May 1, 2015 CLOSING DATE: Open until filled.

AISES Advisor Destination Imagination Advisor

If you would like to apply to be a part of the TZ tiwahe you may pick up an application from the TZTS HR office located at #2 Tiospa Zina Dr. Agency Village, SD 57262. Applications may also be printed off the HR web page by downloading from links under employment forms to the left. Completed applications may be sent to PO Box 719, Agency Village, SD 57262. Faxed to: 605-698-7686. For further information call 605-698-3953 ext. 208. Indian Preference employer. At will employer. All applicants are subject to a Background Check and Pre-Employment Drug Test, pursuant to SWSB policy.


Enemy Swim Day School

Facilities Assistant II

The Enemy Swim Day School has an immediate opening in the facilities department. The position requires a general knowledge of cleaning and maintaining classrooms and school grounds and physically able to perform the duties as required. This is a school year position, from 3pm to 11pm, Monday through Friday. The position includes health/vision insurance and retirement. Please visit for an application and job description. Call (605) 947-4605 or (888) 825-7738 and ask for Ed to inquire about the position. Applications are available at the school. Indian preference policies will be followed. Position closes November 30, 2015.


Dakota Magic Casino

Job Openings

The  Corporate Department

Is Now Accepting Applications For

Position:  Attorney (Part-Time)

Job Description:  Under direction of the CEO for the SWO (Tribe) is responsible for providing legal advice to the DNGE regarding a wide array of tribal legal matters. The position will have an increasing focus on tribal law, leasing, general commercial contracts, and other transactional matters as may be assigned.

Closing Date: December 4, 2015 @4:00 p.m.

Starting Wage: Negotiable

Member of the state bar of South Dakota required.

Minimum 3-5 years experience as a licensed attorney working on tribal issues.

Extensive knowledge of all areas of Indian gaming.

If interested please submit application to Corporate Department 

16849 102nd Street SE Hankinson ND 58041

For complete Job Description contact Heather Williams @       

 701-634-3000 ext. 2426

Indian Preference will apply / EEO

(Please Provide Tribal Enrollment)


Dakota Magic Casino

Job Openings

Hotel Department: Bellhop (Full-Time or Part-Time) Rotating

Marketing Department: Coat Room (Full-Time or Part-Time) Swing

Table Games Department: Dealer (Part-Time) Rotating

Closing Date: November 27, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Starting Wage: D.O.E.

High School Diploma or GED required for most positions

Two identifications documents required upon hire

If interested please submit application to Human Resources Department, 16849 102nd Street SE, Hankinson ND 58041.For complete Job Description contact James Neconish 701-634-3000 ext. 2582 Indian Preference will apply / EEO. (Please Provide Tribal Enrollment). Must be licensable by the SWO Gaming Commission.


Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Job Openings

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel is seeking to fill the following position(s):

HOTEL: FRONT DESK CLERK (1 FULL- TIME) GENERAL FUNCTION: Staffs the Front Desk to attend to the needs of the guests throughout their stay. REQUIREMENTS: High School Diploma or GED. Three to six months related experience and/or training, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Good people skills, both in person and on the telephone. Must meet the requirement of a non-gaming license upon hire.

This position will close on November 25, 2015 at 4 pm.

Indian Preference will apply/EEO.

Contact the Human Resources Department for complete job descriptions at 1-800-658-4717 ext. 1652.

If interested please fill out an application and submit to: Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, Human Resources Department, 16415 Sioux Conifer Road, Watertown, SD 57201.


Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Job Openings

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel is seeking to fill the following position(s):

LOUNGE:  WAITSTAFF (1 Part-Time) GENERAL FUNCTION: Acts as host/hostess for all Lounge and casino patrons. REQUIREMENTS: High school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent. Must be able to stand and/or walk for        prolonged periods of time. Able to reach, bend, lift, carry, stoop and wipe. Able to carry up to 20 lbs. on a continual basis. Able to lift 50-65 lbs. Basic math skills a must for money handling responsibilities. Excellent communication skills. Good organizational skills. Must obtain a Non Gaming License upon hire.

Open until filled

Indian Preference will apply/EEO.

Contact the Human Resources Department for complete job descriptions at 1-800-658-4717 ext. 1652.

If interested please fill out an application and submit to: Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, Human Resources Department, 16415 Sioux Conifer Road, Watertown, SD 57201.


Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Job Openings

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel is seeking to fill the following position(s):

PORTER: PORTER (2 Full-Time) ROTATING (FEMALE) GENERAL FUNCTION: Serves as janitorial/housekeeping staff for guests and casino operations. REQUIREMENTS: Physical mobility throughout the facility and surrounding grounds. Able to lift 40 to 50 lbs. Must obtain Non Gaming License upon hire.

This position will close on November 25nd, 2015 at 4pm.

Indian Preference will apply/EEO.

Contact the Human Resources Department for complete job descriptions at 1-800-658-4717 ext. 1652.

If interested please fill out an application and submit to: Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel, Human Resources Department, 16415 Sioux Conifer Road, Watertown, SD 57201.


Dakota Connection Casino

Job Openings

Position: Surveillance Manager

Qualifications: High School Diploma or GED. Formal training in law enforcement is preferred, 2 years supervisory experience in Surveillance, 3 years work experience and/or training in security, law enforcement, loss prevention, and/or other related fields. Experience in and documenting the results for criminal proceedings. Ability to maintain strict confidentiality. Mechanical ability and computer experience is required. Knowledge of CCTV, security systems, gaming cheating, concept of operations. Knowledge of Indian gaming. Must be at least 21 years old. Must obtain a Key Gaming License.

Hours: Full-time

Opening Date: Thursday, November 19, 2015

Closing Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2015 @ 4:00 p.m.

All positions will be exposed to noise & tobacco smoke

Indian preference will apply/EEO Employer.

Apply with the Human Resources Department, call or write for job description. Submit application to: Human Resources Department Dakota Connection Casino, 46102 SD Hwy 10, Sisseton, SD 57262.


Dakota Connection Casino

Job Openings

Surveillance Department: Agent (1) part-time & (1) full-time; rotating shifts; day, swing, graveyard, weekends, holidays, and the ability to work flexible hours. Must have excellent written & verbal communication skills, motivational & mechanical skills. Knowledgeable of Tribal, State, and Federal gaming regulations. Knowledgeable in the operation of Microsoft Word. Must be at least 21 years old, must have a High School Diploma or GED. Must be able to obtain a Key Gaming License. 1 year previous experience preferred.

Opening date: Thursday, November 19, 2015

Closing date: Wednesday, November 25, 2015 @ 4:00 p.m.

All positions will be exposed to noise & tobacco smoke

Indian preference will apply/EEO Employer.

Apply with the Human Resources Department, call or write for job description. Submit application to: Human Resources Department Dakota Connection Casino, 46102 SD Hwy 10, Sisseton, SD 57262.



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