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Volume 46 Issue No. 26

Anpetu Iyamni, July 1, 2015

Inside this Edition –

Calling all Oyate: 148th annual SWO Wacipi this week!

Annual Pow Wow Guide published in this edition

Summer 2015 General Council highlights

Tribal Elderly hold public forum on meth addiction on Lake Traverse Reservation

7GOV Youth Leaders meet with Tribal Council

Deadline for receipt of copy is Friday noon

Services for former area teacher Samuel Mark Gutormson, age 58, of Watertown and formerly of Huron, passed away peacefully and met his Lord and Savior on Sunday, June 28, 2015 at the Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls. A funeral service to celebrate Sam’s life will be held at 1:30 pm on Thursday, July 2, 2015 at American Lutheran Church in Huron with burial at Ideal Cemetery. Visitation with the family present will be from 5 to 7 pm on Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at Welter Funeral Home; or 1 hour prior to the service at the church. Sam was born on April 19, 1957 in Huron, SD to Alvin and Leanne (Patrick) Gutormson. He graduated from Huron High School in 1975 and later graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology from South Dakota State University in 1979. Sam later attended Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN from 1979-1982 and obtained his teaching certificate from SDSU in 1983. Sam was united marriage to Sharon Kiel on May 25, 1985 in Philip, SD. Sharon passed away on August 21, 1992 of cancer. Sam later married Susan Waege on March 28, 1998 in South Shore, SD. He taught in various schools throughout South Dakota and North Dakota for over 25 years and was currently a substitute teacher in the Watertown School District. In the early part of his teaching career, Sam enjoyed coaching multiple sports, and umpiring baseball in the summer. In his later years, Sam enjoyed keeping up with his former students on Facebook, watching the Minnesota Vikings and Twins, fishing, and playing cards. He was a member of Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer in Watertown. Sam is survived by his wife Susan Gutormson of Watertown; 1 daughter, Kara (Shawn) Pugsley of Huron; 1 sister, Janna (Rick) Volten of Viroqua, WI; 3 brothers, Erik Gutormson of Toronto, SD, Tim (Kalyn) Gutormson of Brookings, SD, and Andrew Gutormson of Huron; his mother, Leanne Gutormson of Huron; many nieces and nephews; his mother-in-law, Janice Waege of South Shore, SD; 2 brothers-in-law, Wayne (Becca) Waege of Grand Forks, ND and Garry Waege of South Shore, SD; and 1 sister-in-law, Vergene Small of Clarkston, WA. Sam was preceded in death by his first wife Sharon in 1992, his father, Alvin Gutormson and father-in-law, Robert Waege, both in 2003.

SWO hold Summer General Council 2015

Sota photos by John Heminger

The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe held its first General Council of 2015 last Thursday and Friday, June 25-26. Purpose of the Summer General Council is to review the Tribe’s fiscal condition and hear reports from its revenue-generating businesses – including gaming. This session, there were also reports on proposed energy development projects, prospects of legalizing marijuana and developing hemp and marijuana as products, and attorney Susan Williams, an SWO member, returned to update the Oyate on steps that need to be taken to protect their water rights now and in the future.

SWO Tribal Chairman Bruce Renville moderated the sessions, introducing the speakers.

The United Veterans honor guard posted colors both days. On Thursday, Wahkpekute was host drum; on Friday, Stone Ridge.

Following the Chairman’s opening remarks on day one Sisseton BIA Superintendent/former Chairman Russell Hawkins gave a presentation on behalf of the Bureau.

Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise CEO Ron Olson and CFO Weston Quinn teamed up to give the report on how the casino operations are working.

Reports on each casino were given by Ron Olson (Dakota Magic), GM John Rondell (Dakota Sioux) and GM Leroy Quinn (Connection).

Read the narrative reports here:

Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise

To our shareholders:

In 2012, the State of South Dakota negotiated a new gaming compact with the Sisseton Wahpeton Ovate. Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprises (DNGE) is continuing to see the benefits of these compact negotiations. Dakota Sioux Casino and Dakota Connection Casino have made record profits from the additional slot machine purchases. DNGE is continuously looking forward to keeping the financial momentum going in 2015 and beyond.

A major step in continuing that momentum going is to increase the gaming floor, in the form of slot machines, for Dakota Magic Casino, as we did for its sister properties. DNGE has developed the "blue prints" with the architects LJA/Worth group. DNGE had hired Loeffler Construction, a construction management company. They have been approved to start soliciting bids from subcontractors.

On May 12, 2015, financial support from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community was approved for a $30 million dollar loan. $25 million of the loan will go towards the Dakota Magic Casino expansion\remodel, with construction starting at the end of this year.

$5 million of the loan will go towards the new Dakota Connection Casino. This project will start when Dakota Magic project is roughly 80% completed. In order to ensure the appropriate time and attention is set forth to the Dakota Connection expansion, we felt it was necessary to wait until the Dakota Magic project was near completion.

These two properties have been operating beyond their capacity levels. By correcting various issues and improving their look we are optimistic for greater revenue. As stated in the case study from Klas Robinson in 2013, that with a growth of an additional 250 slot machines, Dakota Magic is expected to create an additional $6.8 million per year.

Concept renderings will be shown at General Council for the improved look and decor of the gaming floor and exterior. Dakota Magic was originally built for 500 slot machines. Currently they have 934 slot machines on the floor. The problems are numerous, electrical issues, bad air quality, cramped walkway space, etc. The expansion will correct these issues, with better HVAC systems for air quality, more electrical receptacles, and more space between gaming machines.

Dakota Connection was built as a temporary structure; it has been standing for 18+ years.

Unfortunately, it will be in use for a few more years before DNGE can break ground on the new building. The problems are very similar to the ones that Dakota Magic is currently up against, basically no ability to grow. Therefore, a completely new building is a definite must for Dakota Connection.

Other improvements that were made to the DNGE properties include hardware and software upgrades, network server replacements, PC replacements, etc. With these upgrades, DNGE will be more efficient, have redundancy backups, and will have less down time (excluding aristocrat system issues). These improvements will help the front line employees provide better customer service, provide a better entertainment experience for the customer, and help with computer down times,

 In conclusion, DNGE is continuing to create record breaking profits and is looking at better planning of future growth. DNGE would like to thank our staff and management for all their hard work and dedication. In addition, to our support from the SWO Tribal Member and SWO Tribal Council. Without the support and excellent staff, none of this would be possible.


Ron Olson

Acting General Manager Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel.

Dakota Magic Casino & Hotel

To our shareholders:

Good Morning Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Tribal Council. My name is Ron Olson and I was hired in October 2014 as the CEO for Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise. I am an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate in the Long Hollow District. Currently, I have been acting in the capacity of the General Manager for Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel in addition to the performing the CEO duties.

Since I have been hired in October, I have been getting myself acquainted with the properties and their operations. There has been a number of changes that are up and coming. The management staff and I are working closely to ensure the projects are being completed effectively and as efficiently as possible.

Our staff and management at the DNGE properties deserve to be recognized for their hard work and dedication. The wage matrix for DNGE employees have not been evaluated for quite a few years. Ps you all are aware, the DNGE will be implementing a $3/hour increase on the base wage for all of its employees (excluding the Corporate Officers and General Managers). This increase will be effective July 2m, 2015. It is expected to cost DNGE an estimated $3.1 million. After discussions with SWO Tribal Council, we have made the necessary changes in the distributions to the Tribe to be able to fund the increase of wages.

One of the changes that were made was the "Tribal Gas Discount". Previously SWO Tribal Members would receive a 20% discount on their fuel purchases from any of the DNGE C-Stores. Currently, the SWO Tribal Members will receive a ten cent ($0.10) discount. Our C-Stores mark up their fuel $0.10/gallon. In order to ensure gaming wasn't taking a loss on offering the discount; it was decided to offer our SWO Tribal Members fuel at cost.

We have reduced the margin of profit to be more competitive in our market in the DNGE C-Stores. The gallon sold per month has reduced since the change has been made. As a revenue generating source for the Oyate, Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise would greatly appreciate the continued patronage from our Tribal Members in our C-Stores.

Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel is in the final stages of the loan agreement with the Shakopee Mdewankanton Sioux Community. The loan is being used for an expansion/remodel of Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel and Dakota Connection Bingo and Casino. Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel will be breaking ground in 2015. After completion of the DMC property, we will begin construction on Dakota Connection Bingo and Casino.

In closing, Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise appreciates the continued support from our SWO Tribal Council and the members of the Oyate. We understand the concerns that are being brought forth and we are more than willing to address them.


Ron Olson

Acting General Manager Dakota Magic Casino and Hotel.

Marketing Report

To the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate:

In 2014 we continued to increase our marketing focus to include social media while further defining the "Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise Brand." We also further defined our strengths in promotions, giveaways and made some changes to the Corporate Coin or rewards and Bounce-Back programs to attract existing and new customers and to increase our trips along with lowering the percentage of investments to each player.

We implemented a new players club program which is The Dakota Nation Gaming Players Club Reward Program which now features four tiers - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze each tier that offers great perks and benefits based on your play. The more points you earn, the higher your status will be. The higher the status, the more benefits and perks you'll receive like complimentary food and event tickets, discounts and priority lines.

The number of points you earn in six months determines your status and your benefits. It's entirely up to you. And, because it's Dakota Nation Gaming, you can earn and redeem your points at all three of our uniquely entertaining casinos. This is one great little card.

Three Casinos - One Card.

Developing this new program and the installation of the new upgrade has been ongoing for the last six months and has consumed much of our time.

We continued to develop your hometown casino slogan with the communities of Fargo / Moorhead and Watertown, through affiliations with "Red Hawks Baseball" Fargo Force Hockey, Scheel's Arena Concerts and Bluestem Concert Series in the Fargo / Moorhead region,

The greater social citizen we are in these communities, the greater their residents will frequent our facilities.

Our direct mail reward and bounce back programs are delivering repeat casino patrons. These coin programs have allowed for us to see who i playing, what machine they are playing, how long they are playing and how much money they are wagering. This has resulted in:

*Increased Trips

*Increased spend per visit

*Tracking of carded play

The benefits of the direct mail reward programs provides free slot play based from the customers carded play along with food discounts, hotel discounts and gas discounts.

We continue to develop the Email Program that is reaching out to different bases of our customers that are willing to receive electronic communications. Utilizing this method will reduce our printing costs and at the same time allow for a great instantaneous connection to our customers.

In addition, we continue to improve the Texting Program to blast quick information to our customers, which advertise upcoming events and promotions. This venue is also perfect to reach out to customers for last minute occurrences like food or entertainment specials. We have also developed a new Scratch & Win promotion that customers can win prizes and bring to the casino for redemptions.

With the uses of email, texting and digital motion media, we are attempting to continue to reach out to a younger customer base, to supplement the present customer bases for continued growth of all facilities.

In closing, we wish to thank the many employees within the Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprises. We feel that our visibility will continue to grow with added marketing efforts in advertising and participation within the "Dakota Nation Gaming Territory."

With Sincere Wishes for Future Success,

Rhonda Greybuffalo-Sederberg, CMO Trainee Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise.

Crystal Poor Thunder, CMO Trainee Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program was established to provide counseling, referral, and other assistance to employees.

*History- It is important that employees and managers/supervisors understand that EAP's concentrate mainly on personnel issues and job performance and understand it is not a medical program.

*Purpose - It's a mistake for HR to categorize an EAP as an employee benefit. It is a systematic way for managers/supervisors to manage "troubled employees."

*Goals - Implicit within and part of EAP is the development of goals and strategies needed to resolve problems that may be affecting their work performance.

*Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for EAP are being updated.

Client Case Load:

*EAP continues to receive Managerial referrals on a regular basis.

*Since the start of the calendar year there has been a steady increase of employee self-referrals.

*During an average week EAP has approximately 8 to 12 individual client contacts.

The Developing Productive Employees (DPE) program is also an important aspect of the DNGE EAP.  This program is intended to provide employees that have left employment with DNGE on unfavorable terms and the goal is to provide those employees with tools they can use to help them regain employment and achieve success with DNGE.

*In the Fall of 2014 we consolidated the 5-day DPE class to a 2-day class with all the major components of the 5-day course curriculum. The DPE class is currently being taught by Ms. Brenda Uses Arrow and Dr. Johnson.

*Since the change, we have had approximately 239 individuals complete the course and ready to apply for employment with DNGE. In comparison to a 28-months period prior to the implementation of the 2-day course, only 206 individuals had completed the DPE class to regain employment.

*The 2-day course also allows the EAP to offer the DPE classes at least two (2) times per month, which in turn has decreased the time it takes the HR Dept.'s with filling open positions.

*Since the expenses of the DPE class are absorbed by DNGE, we have reduced the cost of meals, stipends, and administrative costs while increasing the number of employable individuals.

*We have also been administering a referral survey to the DPE participants and have delineated many of the reasons/factors that employees felt they lost employment with DNGE and has aided the EAP with redirecting resources to address some of these issues (see attached).

Other Meetings and Activities:

*The EAP has also collaborated with other local agencies to assist with aftercare and relapse prevention efforts. These include SWO Drug Court and State of South Dakota Courts and others.

*The SWO Interagency Behavioral Health Team to coordinate resources in the times of crisis for DNGE and the whole community.

Future Plans and Direction:

*We are continuing to work on updating the DNGE Personnel Policies and Procedures to stay current with the issues in the gaming industry.

*Are goal is to set up more trainings for our employees at all three properties b address any and all area's necessary.

*Plan to collaborate with Sisseton Wahpeton College to develop and implement a 1-credit course for all Manager's and Supervisor's to include all area's necessary to develop and strengthen our leaders to improve our employee engagement.

Dr. Norman Johnson, DNGE EAP Provider.

Dakota Connection Casino

Greeting Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Members:

My name is LeRoy Quinn, Jr. I have been the General Manager for Dakota Connection Casino since August 2013. I wish to take, this opportunity to thank all the Tribal members who chose to attend this General Council assembly today. It is a great honor to address this assembly.

Fiscal year 2014 was a great year for our revenue generating Departments and FY 2015 also started out with a very positive outlook. The Dakota Connection Casino went from fifty (50) class III machines in 2013 to one hundred sixty one (161) class Ili machines by July 01, 2015. It has made a big difference. In the last year and a half Dakota Connection Casino was able to pay our intercompany (Dakota Magic) towards our slot machine loan. I am proud to say we do not owe Dakota Magic Casino a cent at the present time. It is .a great 'feeling to stand on our own. Some of our high points this year have been:

*Received an Unqualified Opinion for FY 2014 audit from the external auditors McGladery & Pullen, CPA, from Duluth, Minnesota.

*Purchased over $158,616.00 of much needed new equipment.

*Retained Architect for our new Casino Complex to begin construction in 2017 (at least twice the current size)

*Upgrading gas and diesel tanks and adding more gas and diesel pumps by this fall

As the General Manager, I have worked closely with all Department Managers and the Marketing Department to host events to bring more revenue to our Casino. With the South Dakota gaming compact now allowing us more slot machines plans are underway to increase our machines not only on the current floor but possibly going to .a maximum of four hundred (400) on our new Casino floor.

Our number of full-time employees is now continuously over 100 employees; which adds benefits, salaries, expenses, and situations for our Finance and Human Resource Department to deal With Our C-Store and Restaurant are at their maximum number of employees which means better customer service.

The Bingo Department struggles to reach enough players to hold nightly Bingo sessions.. I fear the Bingo Program, like in other parts of the country, is on its final session. We are trying hard to keep Bingo alive. We have not been able to attract the .18-35 year age groups which we need to participate in our Bingo activities.

In closing I would like to thank the staffs at Dakota Connection Casino for their outstanding job performances and dedication, it is their hard work and commitment that has made this such a huge financial year for Dakota Connection Casino,


Leroy Quinn Jr.

General Manager Dakota Connection Casino.

Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Members:

I want to take this opportunity to thank the tribal membership for attending general council today and listening to my report on F.Y. 2014 & the first 8 months of F.Y. 2015.

Listed below are some highlights for F.Y. 2014 and the first 8 months of F.Y. 2015.

*DSC&H received an Unqualified Opinion for F.Y. 2014 from external auditors McGladrey & Pullen, CPA. This is the highest opinion you can receive.

*DSC&H installed 50 more class 3 slot machines in December of 2014. This brings the total number of slot machines on the gaming floor to 412.

*On April 17, 2015 we opened the new 14 pad RV Park.

*Currently all 22 department and associate manager positions are held by tribal members. Overall 60% of the work force at DSC&H is tribal members.

As you can see on the charts and graphs in the DNGE report the net income at DSC&H has increased since the new gaming compact was approved and I believe it will continue to increase for years to come.

In closing I would like to thank the staff and management team at DSC&H for their hard work during F.Y. 2014 & F.Y. 2015.

Respectfully submitted,

John Rondell, DSC&H General Manager.


On day two SWO Tribal Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau Sr. gave his report, along with CEO Greg Benidt.

Editor’s note: One thing Greg did not say was how many volunteer overtime hours were donated by the Tribal Finance staff to put together all the numbers presented in the bound report! That included some Saturdays.)

The Eide Bailey audit report was presented.

Also during the day were reports by:

Mni Wiconi, Susan Williams.

Dakota Nation Community Development (non-profit), Glen Anderson.

Dakota Nation Development Corporation for-profit), DelRay German.

Dakota Western/SWO Plastics, GM Robert Huff.

Wind Power, Hazen LaMere.

Throughout both days there was an open microphone which was used by several Tribal members. They voiced concerns and asked questions about decision-making by Tribal Council and gaming and business managers.

Unfortunately, being unable to understand what is being said at these public meetings in the rotunda makes it impossible to give readers a report.

Here are photo highlights of the two days of Summer General Council 2015.

Tribal Elderly Board holds public forum to address meth

By CD Floro

Sota Editor

The SWO Tribal Elderly Board called a public meeting last Tuesday afternoon at the Nutrition Center in Agency Village to address the ongoing epidemic of meth abuse on the Lake Traverse Reservation.

Invited guests who attended included: Capt. Gary Gaikowski, SWO Tribal Law Enforcement; Troy Morley, Tribal Liaison, US Attorney’s office, Sioux Falls; Levi Jensen, SD Highway Patrol; and Carrie LaBlanc, FBI Agent, Aberdeen.

There were also representatives from Tribal government and programs, including: Crystal Owen, SWO Tribal Secretary (and former Meth Prevention Coordinator); Richard Bird, Dakotah Pride Director; James “JC” Crawford, SWHA Director; Mickey Divine, Child Protection Program. Shawn Eastman, Tribal Attorney, had another meeting but came before the forum closed to answer questions about status of the codes and regulations. Also present was Steven Sowa, who provides Housing with drug-testing equipment.

Lake Traverse District Councilman Dave Flute also attended and shared his views at the close.

Capt. Gaikowski brought a display of packaged meth, paraphernalia used in ingesting the chemicals, and evidence of its manufacture and use. During his remarks, he invited the elders to come and take a close look, and if they see any of these items in their home or community, they can know that meth is being used.

Rev. Clifford Canku opened with a prayer, and on behalf of the Board Martha Renville welcomed everyone.

She said, “Our Tribal elderly are very concerned and won’t tolerate meth any more.”

“Zero tolerance,” she said.

Martha added that the purpose of the meeting was “hopefully to get some answers from these people … what we can do.”

Gary Gaikowski spoke first, displaying the paraphernalia.

He said, “If you see any of these things be aware.”

Call if you notice anything suspicious.

“Cars, traffic, hours of occurrence,” he added.

“If these tips tie in to information I have … who … when … we can get a search warrant.”

“Usually what new find are … small, minor, paraphernalia.”

But just because “the big stuff isn’t found … it moves fast.”

And it isn’t only meth, he explained.

“It’s meth, ecstacy, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines,” he said.

He encouraged everyone to look around their own homes.

“We have laws to support individual homeowners … community members,” he said.

“I do agree,” he added, “with zero tolerance.”

“But new laws need to be passed,” he said and described current laws as “weak.”

Martha asked, “What can law enforcement do to protect an informant or accuser?”

Gary suggested calling the hotline to remain anonymous.

“But it is a right for the accused to know the accuser.”

“If we keep getting the same names from anonymous tipline sources then we can investigate,” he said.

Tamara St. John spoke, out saying the Violence Against Women and Tribal Law and Order laws have been passed but “there is confusion in updating Tribal laws.”

She said she had hoped the Tribe’s legal department would be present (Attorney Shawn Eastman did come later and spoke on these issues).

“Are these laws ready to be adopted? Tribal Law and Order Act passed by Tribal Council last November and was enacted in March in 2015. We need copies of these laws. We should see them.”

A comment was made about sentencing guidelines.

“Drug codes,” said Tamara, “are what I was referring to.”

Drawing on her seven years of experience as the Tribe’s Meth Prevention Coordinator, Crystal Owen was next speaker.

CO: Meth Prevention 7 years. Back up.

She asked, “How many of our elders know what meth is?”

A few hands were raised, not very many even though the center was nearly filled.

She explained:

“It is a manmade, synthetic drug. Cooked.”

Dopamine occurs “in our brain naturally … makes us feel good.”

Meth is taken in different ways by users.

They “smoke, snort” the chemicals to “feel good … really good.”

So good for some they describe it as the “best feeling ever.”

“Exciting … great euphoric adrenaline rush.”

“If you are suffering from trauma, abuse, depression, come from an alcoholic home … suffer from these traumas and oppression … can take this drug just to feel good.”

She asked everyone to imagine being at a basketball game and watching someone from their team, perhaps a family member, make a basket to win the game. Everyone jumps and screams for joy. “That,” she said, “is the (euphoria) addicts say they experience.”

“One time” is all it takes.

“But this drug is evil,” she said.

“Meth takes the spirit away.”

“You don’t care about anything or anybody just to get the drug.”

Not everyone gets hooked though, she said. “Some are repelled by it.”

“It tastes bad, made from these chemicals … but it increases dopamine.”

“Then (for those who become addicted to the high) the more you use the more you need.”

It is a “vicious cycle.”

“Meth is very addictive … and leads to depression,” she said. “It is linked to thoughts of suicide.”

“Thirty day treatment won’t work.”

Nine months of treatment is recommended.

“It is a chronic disease,” Crystal explained. “In that sense, like Diabetes.”

“Some have had to leave the Reservation to survive.”

She told of a personal experience, when a relative came for Thanksgiving dinner with Crystal’s family.

The relative was obviously high.

“What could we do? We hugged her. We all cried. She cried.”

“We told her ‘We are going to get you back.’”

“Having a Meth Prevention Coordinator is not enough … it takes a community,” she said.

She spoke against banishment.

“Do we kick them out if they are an addict or convicted?” she asked.

“Do we chase them away or try to help them.”

And while “We have compassionate hearts … we have to protect our families,” she said.

“There are babies being born addicted.”

(Note: Before leaving office former Chairman Robert Shepherd proclaimed Meth abuse and its use during pregnancy an “epidemic” on the Lake Traverse Reservation.)

“We need to protect the unborn, our families.”

“We need to help law enforcement,” she said.

“We have to work together to tackle this problem.”

She looked around the room, “Several of our elected officials are here and ran on this platform.”

“How do we work together?”

“She closed by saying “I am here to do whatever I can to help.”

It is all about “helping each other,” she said.

Richard Bird spoke about treatment methods at Dakotah Pride Center.

“Meth is on the rise,” he said, “like pot was in the 70s.”

More and more “in the past two years.”

“A urine or blood test shows it being ingested.”

If you need treatment for meth, or for pills, you must be willing to stay sober. “If you come in and are not that sure, then treatment is not going to work.”

“We’re looking at developing a plan for longer treatme3nt … working with Tribal Law Enforcement not for jail (time) but more of a justice and rehabilitation program.”

“We’re seeking funding for court, for a Tribal treatment program, a nine month program … otherwise we send people away to Keystone and other sites across the state.”

“We’ve been working with IHS and other social service programs for the past 5-6 years. IHS has provided funding to send people to Keystone.”

He said that due to cases of trauma, there is need for more mental health people. “There are only two mental health people to cover the whole Reservation,” he said.

“We need to have mental health in any recovery plan.”

He told of a meeting last week with IHS “to apply for surplus funding to help hire mental health workers, psychologists.”

“We need funding for more.”

Vivian Gill Chasing Hawk said “Yes we need more. Mental health is a big issue.”

She also commented on the stalled legal work. “Get that code in place,” she said.

Richard responded, saying the Tribe needs to put in place its “criminal justice/treatment program … should include more mental health and detox people.”

Patricia Roth, Dakotah Pride counselor, spoke.

“When family members bring someone in, or violation (referred by law or court), what I stress is education … we can do this here.”

“But be aware it takes time, commitment.”

“(Person in treatment) is on parole, still must check in with employer.”

“I prefer that our Tribal members get help from us … not from outside.”

Patricia spoke of learning firsthand what it takes to “sober up.”

“We have the resources here … we can do this.”

Martha Renville spoke, saying that sometimes when Tribal members need help and are on probation, that “doesn’t prevent them from doing or selling drugs on the Rez. Perception is: If you are charged in Tribal Court you don’t take it seriously.”

Carrie LaBlanc, the FBI Agent from Aberdeen, did not give a lengthy talk but did invite Oyate to work with her and the FBI office.

“You can go through Tribal Police or directly to us.”

“Call us at (605) 225-3353. You can speak anonymously.”

“We can talk on the phone or we can come out.”

Troy Morley thanked the Elderly for the invitation and thanked everyone for coming.

“Thank you,” he said, “for recognizing the danger of this drug, meth.”

“They (users) don’t care about anything … selling their possessions, yours, their own children too.”

“We can only stop this with your help. You are actually our first line of defense.”

“It is hard,” he recognized, “if you know a relatives is manufacturing … or using.”

“These are family members.”

“But if nothing is done it will only get worse,” he said.

“You know everything that goes on in the community … housing units … your own house.”

“You know your children and grandchildren. (Notice) behavior changes, you know when they are being stoned … don’t have money … where is the money going….”

“Don’t help them (relatives) continue.”

In 2014 there were 55 active drug investigations, he said, in Roberts County.

And 125 convictions.

“The first step,” he said, “is to reach out and let us know what is going on. We are here to help you.”

When asked about what happens when a family member is charged, Troy said “When someone gets charged federally for using, we look at how many times been charged.”

“There is a variety of factors involved.”

“We get notified of all then set up a priority list … targeting habitual offenders.”

He said, “We are not going to come in with a federal case against a first time offender.”

There were questions about how long meth stays in a person’s system. Answer? Depends … up to three or four days. This depends because ingredients in different “cooked” batches varies.

Also, users seem to age rapidly.

(See pictures often published in the Sota showing lovely young women, handsome young men, who in as little as a year of hard meth use age in wrinkled faces with poor teeth.)

Meth and alcohol and other drugs are found in babies. Under South Dakota law a pregnant woman’s use of drugs and alcohol does not constitute child abuse. It is not a criminal case.

But the Tribe can pass a code making it a crime.

There was a lengthy discussion off the floor about cleanup of “meth houses.”

Housing Authority routinely tests for meth and other drugs in housing units when they are vacated. If a home tests negative, or positive and then is cleaned, if it is found later to be positive then the tenant or someone else is using it for meth.

SWHA can also be called in to test.

This testing has been going on for the past three years.

At Barker Hill, for example, when tasked with monitoring 11 homes Jesse Larson said his crew found ten of them positive for meth. “It opened a can of worms,” he added.

Housing units are inspected annually, and the drug testing equipment is said to be 99 percent accurate – the same as being “used in airports, bus stations, etc. The machine tests for ten different drugs.

Jesse said, “We test every move. If a house tests positive, the air is exchanged and the house is bleached.

“We make sure the house is drug-free … using a new method in past year to purchase testing equipment and for cleanup.”

To the discussion on cleanup, Crystal added: “We can learn how to clean. We don't need to spend thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars for an outside company. DMC first hired a cleaning company paid $1,800 to clean one room. Not necessary.”

Law Enforcement or Housing can do the testing.

The lack of having codes in place was brought up several times.

Crystal Owen said the new codes were begun three years ago.

“We wanted them approved right away.”

But, she said, Judicial needs to ensure they are in compliance with the Tribal Law and Order Act.

And “no one has taken the initiative to update the majority of our codes.”

“All need to be updated.”

“We need someone to come in and type thousands of pages of codes. We hired someone (who worked) almost a year and finally they were finished and approved at one point by Council.”

But that was found to be a conflict of the Tribe’s policies and procedures, she said.

“We did not properly allow Judicial to come in and do their duties.”

JC Crawford, former Chairman and newly hired SWHA Director, admitted that Housing has “no standard operating procedure” for checking housing units for drugs.

And Housing has lots of “other problems,” he said.


“We have to consider a tenant’s rights. We cannot violate their rights.”

He said to the elders, “You can help support us with a zero tolerance policy.”

Such a policy, he suggested, would “have to have enough evidence … and give people a second chance.”

“As administrator … we will develop policies and procedures and administer them ... are we going to have zero tolerance for drugs in our units?”

He explained SWHA has 600+ rental units, built in the 70s and 80s. “Very few built since 2000.”

“What we have today we have to preserve. Need to keep the homes to preserve NAHASDA funding.”

He added, “We are not winning at housing but we are losing because we don't have the resources. We can manipulate federal system but it comes down to us. Leadership.”

Rev Canku stood and said that Long Hollow District is on record to protect landowners and homeowners rights.

“What we want you to do JC is inform future renter this is what we have … spell out the terms. Have something written down to protect ourselves.”

“Any time a person is going to rent a house in Long Hollow we want to present this code to them. Can you abide by this? If not maybe you shouldn't move up to Long Hollow.”

“We have to stand up for ourselves. People don't think we have these rights because we have been oppressed for so long. We don't want lawbreakers to continue to come into our community and destroy it. We are not going to back down.”

Rev. Michael Simon said, “I haven't heard someone say I am the person in charge and this will happen. Some way or another we just don't have it … our leadership is a problem.”

“We want to hear someone say we are going to do something about this problem! As Dakota people … I got a grandchild 13 want to keep him safe.”

“What I haven't heard this afternoon … I will take ownership of this problem. Spoken with passion.”

JC asked, “Zero tolerance or somewhere in between?”

Felix Johnson, said “As an elder on our Housing Board, yes, we want zero tolerance on the dealers, the manufacturers, dealers … we want then out of here. Banned. Yes we will help the users.”

Tom Wilson was broadcasting the forum over KXSW and online. One comment: “We need a justice center more than a grocery store.”

In response to another online question, law enforcement said that “1 out of every 3 days we are going to have another conviction (at the current rate).” This makes the testing/monitoring and zero tolerance enforcement even more “difficult.”

Martha Renville added, “We all need to step up to the plate. And we can all be part of this.”

Zelma Flute asked about how the drug problem here is connected to organized crime.

Gary Gaikowski referred to a recent bust in Veblen.

He described it as a “little problem.” Paraphernalia. Not manufacturing. No big time operation.

Martha said that Roberts County would be willing to send its court report to be printed in the Sota.

(As long as the Tribe pays the publishing costs.)

Mickey spoke on behalf of Child Protection. She addressed principally the women who continue using during pregnancy.

“Referrals,” she said, “are made through Law Enforcement Board, States Attorney, Sheriff’s office, Tribal Law Enforcement, Coteau des Prairies.”

“The goal – it is not a chargeable offense when a mother bears an addicted baby – but during the process the mother is given an opportunity to get treatment.”

“We are tracking every child born with signs of addiction.”

She said, “The mother is crucial.”

“We come to the elders to ask for your guidance.”

“What do you think would work better?”

She told about research going on now, studying effects of meth addiction in babies.

It was suggested that Tribal Council accept zero tolerance in all seven Districts.

R.C. spoke:

Neighborhood watch has been initiated in Enemy Swim District, perhaps other Districts ought to consider a similar volunteer program.

SWHA security is only tasked with “watching the units … even if we called them they can’t do anything,” said one elder.

The elderly who spoke said they would like on Tribal Law Enforcement officer in each District.

“In Long Hollow I see rise in crime. Not only drugs. High speed care chases.”

“We need to stand up and speak out … somebody is going to hit a child, kill somebody.”

“We need a community effort.”

I hope to get something done.”

“We’re all related. Let’s do things together.

Tribal attorney Shawn Eastman came to the forum, and Crystal invited her to speak.

“Shawn, our attorney, was invited here but busy doing work in town. Thank her for taking time to come here.”

“Please talk about the status of codes. Update us on that,” asked Crystal.

“We’re working with the Tribe and eight other tribes (on judicial codes).”

“We look forward to sharing what we learned from the tribes and from the state … about drug and alcohol crimes.”

She acknowledged the “lack of mental health resources.”

“I apologize I don’t have a list of the codes but will get that. It’s really long.”

“There is a lot of work.”

“We have always had alcohol and drugs as criminal … in our penal code.”

“Legalization of marijuana is now being considered. How are we going to resolve this? Is it a conflict of interest?”

About zero tolerance, she said “We would not pass something that would be a conflict of interest.”

Martha interjected “Why not let the people decide about marijuana.”

Many of the elders are set on banishment, “but there is a lot more to it … a lot more,” suggested the attorney.

Crystal addressed meth users and their families:

“I can't make you get off the drugs. Not your mom. Only you.”

“What kind of life do you want? What kind of life do you want for your children?”

“We can put in place all the laws … but we need to teach and continue working with youth and families.”

“We need tough love. At some point send them away. Pray they will find a way out.”

Everett Blackthunder was invited to speak.

“Everett is working with our Tribal Youth program,” Crystal said.

“Their calendar is full. Fishing. T-ball. Drum practice. Museum field trips. The Tribe is supporting these youth activities.”

Everett spoke from the heart about recovery.

He talked about how hard the first five of the recovering addict’s 12 steps can be.

Admit your life has become unmanageable.

Believe in a power greater than myself.

And the other steps.

“When I first went through this myself I found it difficult.”

It is “hard living in addiction,” he said.

You have a “hard time trusting, believing.”

“I was told to open up.”

“I believe people can do it together … but it’s hard.”

It takes “faith … prayer.”

“But we need to respect others’ way. Respect even if it is not your way.”

“I didn’t have a father now I have an opportunity to work with our boys and young men. So many levels they need.”

“Hard … but it is worth it.”

“I don’t put myself above anyone.”

He spoke of inipi, but “whatever you believe in open up to that.”

It was when Everett began going to meetings with brothers that he was able to begin recovery.

Recently he attended a recovery group event at Tallgrass. He described the powerful feeling of hope that was shared by those who had begun their steps, and those who had been working on them for a longer time.

Lake Traverse District Councilman Dave Flute spoke, saying “I am a man of compromise.”

“Banishment could be in stages.”

“I believe in treatment. Justice center. Met with SD legislators in DC and no promises but they are supportive and looking into funding for us. Thune and Noem are looking at how do we make this happen.”


“I am not a proponent of legalizing marijuana on our Rez because of a lot of issues … see it as leading from one high to another … although I know our sister tribe (Flandreau is legalizing marijuana).”

“I am more interested in treatment.”

About the judicial codes, he said we would consult with his colleagues (Council) … “find out what to do.”

He commented on the separation of powers.

“Not trying to circumvent the process, but as Council we can make it happen.”

“We are Dakota people not wasicu we can make this happen. No offense,” he said.

And he questioned what was the objective today.

“Motivational speeches?”

“Or who is in charge … to find solutions.”

“As a leader of the Tribe … we do need to take that lead.”

“We need to be Dakota. Something is going to happen. We don’t know what it is.”

“Don’t think it will be the end of the world.”

“The danger is we lose our identity, our culture … or reignite it in the 7th generation.”

“I am a proponent of neighborhood watch; zero tolerance; justice center.”

“I hope,” he said, “we don’t have meetings over and over … want to take action.”

Mike Greeley, Elderly Board president, wrapped it up.

He said, “Alcohol is not part of our culture. Meth is not part of our culture.”

He reminisced to the time when “alcohol sales on the Rez resulted in a jail term.”

“Bad things happened when it became legal on the Rez,” he said.

From the office of SWO Tribal Vice-Chairman –

"From the desk of Geri Opsal, Tribal Veteran Service Officer"

Phone 605-698-3388

*4th of July: Remember it's not just a 3 day HOLIDAY - teach your Takoja's….the price of FREEDOM and why we celebrate Independence Day! We celebrate the Declaration of Independence for two reasons. It represents an official severing of ties between the original 13 colonies and the rule of Great Britain. But it also represents the core of our beliefs, the very makeup of our identity as citizens of the U.S. Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, combined a rich a history of ideas and eloquently presented them to the then King of Great Britain along with a list of grievances. At certain times, the concept of what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America may seem unclear. While many citizens are very passionate about our country, there are others who cannot accept patriotism as a wholesale, no-strings-attached concept. For those who already deeply love the United States, and for those who are struggling with the idea, the Declaration of Independence can be a guidepost. It is an unassailable document that embodies what it means to be an American, and everything we hold dear. IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…"

*FRIDAY - 3 JULY 2015 @ 7:30AM - UVA & Bataan Death Memorial March will start at Robert Kohl's driveway and proceed to the Pow Wow arena. This will be in honor of all Bataan Death March survivors and honoring our 2 SWO Bataan Death March survivors: Winfield Thompson, Sr., WWII US Army - Louis Williams, WWII US Army. The walk/run is a total of 3 hours and we will have breakfast served after a honor song and flag raising of our 2 SWO. We will meet from 7:00AM on and start at 7:30AM. We will have water available and T-shirts for participants. ALL honor guards are asked to lead carrying the banner and flags. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 268-0502.

*VA Townhall Meeting: Mr. Brubaker (VBA) spoke first and gave some interesting statistics: 14,819 veterans currently receiving service connected comp in South Dakota this totals about 15 million dollars a year over 1300 of these veterans are women. The VBA in Sioux Falls currently employees 60 persons and 66% of these are veterans. Mr. Goodspeed. Upcoming events: June 30, 2015 Summer of Service Open House encouraging people to volunteer at the VA In August there will be two open houses for the new Women's Health Clinic. One will be for the general public and the other for only women veterans he spoke at length about the new Choice First Program. He has a plan in place where all the Avera entities (hospitals, clinics, etc.) are now providers in this program. He is in talks with Sanford to do the same. At the present time 97% for veterans are being seen within the 30 day time frame. Those who are not will have the choice of the Choice First Program or being seen at another VA hospital or waiting for an appointment at the Sioux Falls VAMC. Mr. Goodspeed also spoke about the budget. Some things have had to be changed in the current budget because of shortfalls. All travel for staff has been cancelled. Purchasing for non critical equipment has been cancelled. Many construction projects have been "defunded". He is not sure if these construction projects will go forward; they have been approved but now the funds are no longer available. Mr. Brubaker spoke about new regulations concerning herbicide exposure and the brown water/blue water Navy. As I understand it the VA is now saying that some ships that were in certain harbors will now be considered brown water and the veterans on those ships may be entitled to compensation for disabilities on the "agent orange list". The VA will be going back over previously denied claims that fit this criteria and having them re-adjudicated. He also addressed the new forms for appeals and informal claims. He said he has not had much push-back from veterans about the new forms and the fact that informal claims must be submitted on the correct form. Some service organizations, however, are not happy with this change.

*Not sure if you are familiar with the VAforVet's group. They have a representative around this area and their primary focus is to get Veterans Federal jobs anywhere across the United States. The contact for them is: Mark Berninger, Regional Recruiter at, phone 719-524-4981, and cell is 303-330-8435 Andree Sutton, Chief of Recruitment at, cell is 347-749-1414.

*WOMEN VETRANS: This is from Jesse, Nick, and John of No Barriers Warriors. We are Veterans with over thirty years of combined military service and now proudly serve as staff for a nonprofit that is excited to take Veterans on Expeditions around the world. Applications are NOW OPEN for our Colorado Rocky Mountain Female Veteran Expedition, Estes Park, which we will travel to Estes Park to learn how to rock climb, do a day of community service, and summit a nearby 14,000 foot peak. The program is completely free to the Veteran, including airfare. If you know of any service connected disabled veterans that may benefit from our program, please, direct them to our website at, where they can find information about the overall program, dates, and stories from last years group of veterans. Most importantly, encourage them to complete the application for Colorado Rocky Mountain Female Veteran expedition, stes Park at, which closes June 30th. If you, your network, or any of the veterans you serve, have specific questions about the Colorado Rocky Mountain Female Veteran Expedition, Estes Park or No Barriers Warriors, please email us at

*Code Talker Statue Meeting: SWO will be hosting the next meeting to be held at DSC on July 7, 2015 @ 11AM. We encourage our Veterans who want to be part of the honor guard that day to call the office. We will need to post the colors and would like you to stay the duration and retrieve the colors after adjournment. I was selected to send the letters to the artists/sculptures to present their concept and those letters were sent out on 6/5/2015. We are moving forward. The committee is called the "Code Talker Memorial Planning Committee". We foresee this being a great event for all Dakotas/Nakotas/Lakotas!

*REMEMBER: We are here to serve you our fellow Veteran, widows, dependents. Call us at 698-3388 or cell 268-0502.

*I am proud to state that our SWO is hosting the next Code Talker meeting on July 7, 2015 at Dakota Sioux Casino. I will update you as we hope to select a sculpture at this meeting.

*Upcoming Events: July 3rd, 2015 "Bataan Death Memorial March - Agency Village, SD. July 7th, 2015 "SWO hosting Code Talker Statue Meeting at DSC @ 11AM. July 8th, 2015 Bid Closing SWO Veterans Cemetery.

*American Legion Post #314- Delano Renville, Commander Cell:# 268-0354 / Vietnam Veterans Kit Fox Society - Dayton Seaboy, Commander Phone:# 698-3901 ask for Doc / Desert Era Veterans - Danielle DeCoteau, Commander Cell#: 268-1765. For GAS ASSISTANCE: Geri Opsal 698-3388

Have a good week.

Geri Opsal, Tribal VSO.

We must look for the opportunity in every difficulty instead of being paralyzed at the thought of the difficulty in every opportunity." -Walter E. Cole, Korean War Veteran.

Please read Sec. Zimmerman’s column here:

SD Department of Veterans Affairs

Secretary Zimmerman July 2015 Column

For many the Fourth of July has become a holiday, a three-day weekend, or a day off from work.

The Fourth of July is a celebration - a celebration of the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, one of the most famous and cherished documents.

It's about celebrating the values that this country was founded upon.

It's about celebrating the ideals of democracy, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is a time for us to embrace the foundation this great country was built on and share this legacy with our children and our grandchildren.

It is a time for us to remember and honor those first Americans who made sacrifices to create this country and all those that have defended it.

Helen Kellar once said, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."

As we gather with friends and family this Fourth of July, let us all CELEBRATE our independence. Let us live up to John Adams' challenge to celebrate from one end of this great continent to the other."

-- Larry Zimmerman, Secretary South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.

SWO 7GOV Youth Leaders meet with Tribal Council

Submitted by Skyman Redday

The 7th Generation Oyate Voices youth leaders met with council on June 9th.

Councilmen David Flute, Jerry Eastman, Marc Beaudreau and Kevin Roberts, along with Chairman Renville and Secretary Owen were in attendance at this meeting.

They discussed what 7GOV was about and what they are doing for our community, and the upcoming events they have scheduled for the summer, like the documentary they are working on, the traditional games they are helping with at the youth center.

7GOV Mission Statement "To lead our Oayte utilizing Wowaunsida and Tehinda." Goals of 7GOV are:

*To provide a collective voice and represent tribal youth in all matters concerning them.

*To serve as a means of mobilizing and coordinating the actions of youth, other community members and organizations toward positive goals.

*To promote the development of future tribal leaders.

*To help solve problems facing tribal youth; to coordinate school and community service projects.

*To provide opportunities for the youth to interact for fun and fellowship.

7GOV Recruitment

Recruiting youth between the ages of 14-24, drug and alcohol free lifestyle. Please send name and of young person, parents name and contact information. Include why you feel they would be a good leader. Send referrals to Or call 698-3917 ext. 114.

USDA announces $1.97 million for new Pine Ridge community center

Investment part of Obama Administration's commitment to Indian Country, Promise Zone initiative

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD – June 22, 2015 - Today, Leslie Wheelock, Director of the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations joined other federal, state, and Tribal leaders to announce $1.97 million to Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC) for a community center serving the Oglala Lakota community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The announcement was made at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Regenerative Community which plans to build additional housing, a small farm, an aquaponics greenhouse, a grocery store, powwow grounds and a youth center on the Reservation. Today's funding announcement is for Phase One of the project.

"The lack of affordable housing and non-existent or crumbling infrastructure has locked too many tribal communities in a cycle that makes economic opportunity nearly impossible." said Wheelock. "With creative public-private partnerships and smart investments like the Regenerative Community and critical housing and supporting infrastructure, we can break that cycle. This will be another example of how targeted, place-based, community economic development can work and another demonstration of the Obama Administration's commitment to the future of Indian Country."

USDA financing for this project comes from USDA Rural Development and includes:

Rural Housing Site loan for $489,000 to assist with the development of the streets and utilities for 23 lots; Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance grant for $300,000 to establish and develop a self-help program that will start with the construction of 12 new homes; Water and Waste Disposal loan funds of $30,000 and Water and Waste Disposal Native American Set-Aside grant of $672,000 for drinking water and sanitary sewer systems; and Water and Waste Disposal loan of $271,000 and a grant of $209,000 for the storm drainage project. In addition to USDA Rural Development, other investment partners include the Sustainable Home Ownership Project, USDA Rural Development, Enterprise Community Partners, the Northwest Area Foundation, and the Bush Foundation.

Thunder Valley CDC will manage the Regenerative Community under the direction of Executive Director Nick Tilsen and in cooperation with other community partners and key local, tribal and regional organizations, and will take a holistic approach to addressing the area's most challenging issues.

In April 2015, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, South Dakota was one of eight newly designated Promise Zones by the Obama Administration. Promise Zones are high poverty communities where the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other community identified priorities.

Today's event is part of USDA's celebration of the National Homeownership Month and the 50th anniversary of USDA's Mutual Self-Help Housing program which has built 50,000 homes for new homeowners.

USDA Rural Development in South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton. For more information, visit the USDA Rural Development website at

The Administration's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

Tribes can partner for protecting wetlands –

Seeking partner proposals to protect, restore critical wetlands

Washington, DC – June 22, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $17.5 million in financial and technical assistance to help eligible conservation partners voluntarily protect, restore and enhance critical wetlands on private and tribal agricultural lands.

"USDA has leveraged partnerships to accomplish a great deal on America's wetlands over the past two decades, Vilsack said. "This year's funding will help strengthen these partnerships and achieve greater wetland acreage throughout the nation."

Funding will be provided through the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP), a special enrollment option under the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program's Wetland Reserve Easement component. It is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Under WREP, states, local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and American Indian tribes collaborate with USDA through cooperative and partnership agreements. These partners work with willing tribal and private landowners who voluntarily enroll eligible land into easements to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their properties. WREP was created through the 2014 Farm Bill and was formerly known as the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program.

Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. The voluntary nature of NRCS' easement programs allows effective integration of wetland restoration on working landscapes, providing benefits to farmers and ranchers who enroll in the program, as well as benefits to the local and rural communities where the wetlands exist.

Proposals must be submitted to NRCS state offices by July 31, 2015. Projects can range from individual to watershed-wide to ecosystem-wide. Under a similar program in the 2008 Farm Bill, NRCS and its partners entered into 272 easements that enrolled more than 44,020 acres of wetlands from 2009 through 2013. Most of these agreements occurred through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). Through partnerships, MRBI identifies high-priority watersheds where focused conservation on agricultural land can make the most gains in improving local, state and regional water quality. The new collaborative WREP will build on those successes by providing the financial and technical assistance necessary for states, non-governmental organizations and tribes to leverage resources to restore and protect wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Through WREP, NRCS will sign multi-year agreements with partners to leverage resources, including funding, to achieve maximum wetland restoration, protection and enhancement and to create optimum wildlife habitat on enrolled acres. WREP partners are required to contribute a funding match for financial or technical assistance. These partners work directly with eligible landowners interested in enrolling their agricultural land into conservation wetland easements.

Today's announcement builds on the roughly $332 million USDA has announced this year to protect and restore agricultural working lands, grasslands and wetlands. Collectively, NRCS's easement programs help productive farm, ranch and tribal lands remain in agriculture and protect the nation's critical wetlands and grasslands, home to diverse wildlife and plant species. Under the former Wetlands Reserve Program, private landowners, tribes and entities such as land trusts and conservation organizations enrolled 2.7 million acres through 14,500 agreements for a total NRCS and partner investment of $4.3 billion in financial and technical assistance.

The funding announced today was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing, and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

Brings Anti-Trafficking Leader Cindy McCain to ND

Bismarck, ND – June 26, 2015 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today brought Cindy McCain, an international leader in the fight against national and global human trafficking, to Bismarck to talk with local community leaders, advocates, and law enforcement about collective efforts to combat these crimes on the ground in North Dakota. McCain, who serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s task force on human trafficking, will tour cities and reservations across western North Dakota with Heitkamp to discuss challenges and next steps in the state’s fight against human trafficking.

During a roundtable discussion that is part of her Strong & Safe Communities Initiative, Heitkamp and McCain spoke with more than 30 state and local law enforcement, health care and victims services workers, and advocates including Christina Sambor of FUSE (a Force to end hUman Sexual Exploitation), about their efforts to build an active support system for victims and a strong defense system against these rapidly proliferating crimes in North Dakota’s oil patch and across the state. Together, they discussed how this form of modern slavery has been able to operate in the shadows for so long and has been able to continue to gain footing in communities across North Dakota and around the country. They also talked about the necessary next steps in North Dakota’s anti-human trafficking fight, including continued capacity building and collaboration amongst various parties in the state.

“North Dakota was hit hard by our oil and gas boom – delivering great economic benefits, but also bringing about a marked increase in one of the most hideous crimes this nation has ever seen,” said Heitkamp. “The form of modern slavery that is human trafficking exists by way of an unseen, and global network that is dependent on its own invisibility to communities and the silence of its victims – but our communities are already banding together to dissemble this web by bringing these crimes into the light and recognizing those taken captive as the victims they are. As we map out our path forward in continuing to battle these crimes, my good friend, Cindy McCain – whose tireless efforts to end human trafficking around the world are truly awe-inspiring – has a great deal of insight to offer from her experience combating these crimes locally in Arizona, as well as around the country and the world. North Dakota has made a great deal of progress in working to stop these terrible crimes, but we still have much more to do, and working with Cindy can help us keep our communities strong and safe.”

“Eradicating human trafficking from our nation and beyond our shores requires the collective recognition that these crimes are happening in our own backyards, and a strong, united response to work against them,” said McCain. “Today I had the opportunity to join Senator Heitkamp in meeting with some of North Dakota’s top leaders and advocates who are working to halt human trafficking across the state, and together we were able to discuss ways to build on their progress. I look forward to continuing my visit across western North Dakota with Senator Heitkamp – who has been a leader in the fight against human trafficking in the Senate – so that we can help more communities face new challenges related to these crimes head-on.”

This weekend, McCain and Heitkamp will continue their tour across western North Dakota as they learn more and discuss new strategies to combat human trafficking across the state. Tomorrow, they will travel to Parshall on the Fort Berthold reservation to meet with tribal leaders and law enforcement from MHA Nation about the unique challenges tribal communities face when trying to fight this problem within their law enforcement, criminal justice system and tribal victims services – particularly with limited resources in the west where these crimes have spiked.

Later that day, Heitkamp and McCain will travel to Williston to speak with local leaders, law enforcement and health care officials about the complexities of taking on human trafficking in the heart of North Dakota’s oil patch, as well as how to expand best practices – including building out a federal pilot program training Williston health care workers to identify and help protect victims – across the nation with Heitkamp’s recently introduced Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act. Heitkamp and McCain will also visit Watford City to talk with community leaders about how the community’s massive population boom has given rise to these new crimes and how to best resist these threats.

McCain and Heitkamp’s human trafficking tour of North Dakota continues their longstanding work to build a global and national network of support against these crimes. Heitkamp and McCain have traveled across the nation, as well as across the border to Mexico last spring with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), to meet and speak with leaders about building a network of support against these hideous crimes. They also participated in a panel discussion together on human trafficking at the McCain Institute’s annual Sedona Forum in 2014.

Heitkamp has rapidly become a champion in Congress in the fight against human trafficking – from sounding early alarm bells in the Senate by leading a 2013 Senate Committee of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on tackling human trafficking as a law enforcement issue, to leading multiple sessions in North Dakota with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials to train North Dakotans, women leaders, and law enforcement and victims service providers on how to identify, report, and investigate incidents of human trafficking.

Buy-Back Program exceeds $500 million paid to Landowners

Washington, DC – June 25, 2015 – In a major milestone for the Department of the Interior’s Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Buy-Back Program), Deputy Secretary Michael Connor today announced that more than $500 million has been paid to more than 24,000 individual landowners to restore the equivalent of nearly 850,000 acres of land to tribal governments.

The Buy-Back Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing individual landowners at fair market value. Consolidated interests are immediately restored to tribal trust ownership for uses benefiting the reservation community and tribal members.

“The Department is making significant progress toward fulfilling President Obama’s goal of strengthening and investing in tribal communities,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “Today’s announcement highlights not only the efficiency of our work in the department but also our partnership with tribal governments. The Buy-Back Program and tribal leaders must continue to work together to ensure that landowners are aware of the opportunity to consolidate their fractional land interests for the benefit of both the landowner and tribal communities.”

When the Program began, there were about 245,000 owners of nearly three million fractional interests across Indian Country who were eligible to participate in the Buy-Back Program. Many saw little or no economic benefit from what are often small, undivided interests in lands that cannot be utilized due to their highly fractionated state.

“The success of the Buy-Back Program is a critical opportunity for Indian Country,” said Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. “Consolidating and returning these lands to tribes in trust has enormous potential to improve tribal community resources by increasing home site locations, improving transportation routes, spurring tribal economic development, and preserving traditional cultural or ceremonial sites.”

As Ernest L Stensgar, Vice Chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, stated at a recent Listening Session for the Buy-Back Program, “I’m an allottee, but I chose not to sell. But two of my children did – my daughter needed a home and with the proceeds from her interests she was able to buy herself a home. And she said, ‘Dad, I have a home. I have roots here.’ And I said, ‘Well, you keep that home. You’re getting this money back, but more importantly, that land that’s coming to the tribe is going to return to you anyway. It belongs to you, and your children and your children’s children are going to receive benefits from that land. So even though we’re helping you now, you’re also helping yourself and you’re helping your children down the road.’ That’s very, very important to us.”

Individuals who choose to convey their interests receive payments directly into their Individual Indian Money (IIM) accounts. In addition to receiving fair market value for conveying their land based on objective appraisals, individuals also receive a base payment of $75 per offer, regardless of the value of the land.

Landowners in all 50 states – and many residing internationally – have had the opportunity to participate in the Program. Offers are currently pending at:

Cheyenne River Indian Reservation (deadline: June 29) Fort Belknap Indian Reservation (deadline: July 18) Fort Peck Indian Reservation (deadline: July 30) Rosebud Indian Reservation (deadline: July 30) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (deadline: July 31) Tribal governments have the opportunity to actively participate in the Buy-Back Program, including identifying acquisition priorities and leading owner outreach. The Department has entered into cooperative or other agreements with 20 sovereign tribal nations thus far. Each agreement is unique in time, scope and responsibilities based on the expressed interests of the tribe. More information is available here.

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is encouraged by the progress of the Land Buy Back Program in reducing the fractionation of trust lands on the Standing Rock and other reservations and in providing funding to the Cobell Scholarship Fund so our children will have the opportunity to acquire a post-secondary education,” said Dave Archambault II, Chairman, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe hopes to continue to work cooperatively with the Program to complete land exchanges which would further accomplish the goal of reducing the fractionation problem.”

A percentage of Program sales – up to $60 million – is contributed to the Cobell Education Scholarship Fund, which will make financial assistance available to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary and graduate education and training. Interior has thus far transferred more than $17 million to the Scholarship Fund. This contribution is in addition to the amounts paid to individuals who choose to participate, so it does not reduce the amount landowners receive for their interests. The Scholarship Fund is administered by the American Indian Graduate Center. More information can be found at

There are many partners within the Department who work with tribal governments for the Buy-Back Program’s successful implementation. This includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (OST).

Landowners can contact Interior’s Trust Beneficiary Call Center at 888-678-6836 to ask questions about their purchase offers and learn about financial planning resources. Individuals can also visit their OST and BIA office, or find more information here in order to make informed decisions about their land.

Editorials –

Sota guest editorial –

Leader of Sioux Nation issues dire Warning to unite globally

By Jane Ayers

Reader Supported News – June 26, 2015 – Chief Arvol Looking Horse, spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota, and North Nakota tribes of the Great Sioux Nation, facilitated the 20th annual World Peace & Prayer Day/Honoring Sacred Sites ceremonies from June 18-21 in Ashland, Oregon. Looking Horse is revered worldwide for being the Keeper of the 19th Generation Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle. Over the four days, 1,000 participants gathered at Howard Prairie Lake to pray for world peace and healing of the earth, with thousands worldwide also lighting their “sacred fires” and joining the international prayer that focused on All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. The international prayer has been held in different countries over the twenty years, and Looking Horse has conducted the opening prayers to many sessions of the United Nations.

Maori elders traveled from New Zealand to bless the sacred grounds while bald eagles soared overhead. International travelers from Egypt, Canada, and Japan united with local residents and renowned tribal elders, including Agnes Baker-Pilgrim from the Siletz Tribe of Oregon, Eddie Benton Banai from the Grand Medicine Lodge (Ojibwe), Rabbi David Zaslow, and Professor David West, to pray with people united worldwide during the solstice ceremony to bring about an “energy shift” of healing.

Following are Looking Horse’s serious words for these times, from his talks over the four days, along with messages from Agnes Baker-Pilgrim, Eddie Benton Benai, Rabbi Zaslow, Paula Horne, and Professor David West.

Chief Arvol Looking Horse Addresses Seriousness of Earth Changes

“As a child I didn’t have or use guns. Now today I am a spiritual leader. I am the 19th Generation Sacred White Buffalo Calf Bundle Keeper, and yet my grandma on her deathbed said, ‘If people don’t straighten up, he’ll be the last bundle keeper for the Lakota.’

“Many world leaders have blessed this World Peace and Prayer Day: twenty years ago, H.H. the Dalai Lama gave his blessing [for our first World Peace prayer ceremony]. In South Africa, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela have also blessed the prayer. That is what it will take, people who love nature and the environment. This international prayer is about the empowerment of nations to walk in beauty, because life is beautiful and sacred, and we are living with Spirit.

“On June 21st, we accomplished making history. As we came here, we heard words of the Pope talking about climate change. Scientists are now standing with First Nations on stopping tar sands extraction.

“Today we are standing together because Mother Earth is dying and is sick and has a fever. Our work doesn’t end here. We will carry on our ways for the responsibility of our children. We are faced with great challenges, because man has gone too far, and brought us to this prayer. Our grandfathers have tears in their eyes, and ask us ‘What is going on? Something strange is going on.’ My prayers in circles are focused on the water of life being affected. The signs of the white buffalo being born, along with white deer, etc., we’ve witnessed in all parts of the world, are all part of prophecy of these times.

“As years have gone by, the story of White Buffalo Calf Woman has been highlighted, as she said that white animals would be born and we’d be a voice for these animals. June 21st is the anniversary of twenty years of World Peace and Prayer Day. Twenty years ago, we started this journey when the first white buffalo was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. Almost every year since then, a white buffalo or other white animal has been born, yet soon to be killed.

“Mother Earth is going to have side effects from so much corruption, like the Tar Sands extraction. Also in Hawaii, the sacred sites are being ruined. We are going to the White House and to the United Nations to express our concerns, as our work is not done today. In the Sacred Hoop, there is no ending and no beginning. We are also working with the people of the world through the U.N.

Proclaiming the Importance of Sacred Sites

“My whole life I have been honoring sacred sites. We made a book, The Star Knowledge Book to share some of our stories, i.e., the teepee is a vortex to Great Spirit. We have come to respect the secret knowledge and language. In that sacred language, I’ve come to respect the deep responsibility we have to live in this world … to respect the energy, knowing that Mother Earth is a spirit, the Source of Life, not a resource.

“No matter where you go in the world, every culture has its own ceremonies and sacred sites. Previously we rode on horseback, walked, and ran to our sacred site, Grey Horn Butte. It is a sacred site to our people, but others call it Devil’s Tower. That language is hurting our people. We can never use that language, no foul language, as reference to our sacred site.

“I was just a young boy on the reservation in South Dakota when the elders said we need to travel back to our sacred sites. They said we needed to gather and remind people about our sacred sites. In fact, they said we need to write a book. So we went to the Seven Council Fire in Rosebud and there we chose and talked to many elders about the stories they could share. As I mentioned, we published a blue book, Star Knowledge, about the star knowledge, the universe, and the stars. I learned so much from these elders about how everything that moves has a spirit and everything has its time in this world, so I was humbled to hear the teachings: knowing how to respect life and go through all these protocols to approach, to understand it, about how to receive and give.

“We’re losing so many elders. But we had so many elders called upon who came and each spoke Lakota, and it was beautiful to hear the language. It is our way of life: the sacredness of the language. Knowing language is a crucial part, and I learned from the elders that way. The elders shared about the sacred sites and the star knowledge, and how beautiful it is to listen to their message. That which lies deep within the Source has truly inspired the life of all things, everything, we live with it in spirit that way. I was a young man and I never thought it would be my life: the voice, the spirit of our way of life, our ceremonies.

We Must Unite Now – We Are at a Crossroads

“The prophecies say someday that time will come again when all nations will stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a sacred circle. The prophecies say because we aren’t watching where we’re going, that Great Spirit will bring us back into that circle.

“From the heart of Mother Earth, we have a message that all these white animals are being born, and this message is for all the world: We must unite as all nations and one prayer.

“We are at a crossroads faced with chaos, disasters, sicknesses and viruses. There are tears in our elder’s eyes. We must unite. We are all being faced with tragedies and disasters, and volcanos are beginning to erupt worldwide. These Northwest territories are speaking to us of volcanos. Yellowstone National Park could erupt with super-volcanos anytime.

“We soon will see the 4th of July fireworks, but what about Mother Earth’s fireworks with all the volcanos of the world erupting?

“The climate is changing. If only the trees, water, and rivers could speak, they’d tell us their story. In that tree, every year is a circle. In our life, we have a cycle of life and we too are part of the growing of that tree. We have our seasonal ceremonies, so our way we are taught, we learn from every person and all the teachers who have gone before, some known and some not, some written about, some not, but we still have their voice today. I’m honored by wise words they shared and left behind. Every time we have our spirit bowl/plate we are offering to those who have gone before us.

A Blessing and a Warning

“We are networking through modern technology but our ceremonies have been saying this for a long time about the Earth and climate change. The message of the white animals being born worldwide is there’s a blessing and a warning that we, of this generation, are facing chaos, disaster, big winds, tornados, and flooding. Prayer is the answer.

“In 1995, the first white buffalo was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, and we took a message there. Today, the message is still the same, with white animals being born, not just white buffalo calves, but white animals born all over the world. The message is that Mother Earth is sick and has a fever.

“We took the message to the U.N. that mankind has taken this too far, and only through prayer will a healing come back to Mother Earth. If we don’t do this, Mother Earth will shake herself and volcanos will erupt. It is only through prayer that we can create an energy shift and make changes for the sake of our children. This message is still the same today. The Kobi also came to the U.N. too and shared their message with us. There is so much affecting the environment: the Keystone Pipeline, droughts, earthquakes, the air and water being hurt. Mother Earth is speaking to us.

How to Be Ready

“How can we be ready for what is coming in the future? It is through the people having enough faith and belief, and to calm their spirit – to believe something can change. I hope this country can stop the fracking. All our elders are saying, ‘Return to the sacred.’

“You have to have a good mind if you’re going to help the People. If not, it affects people who don’t think, then use guns. The foods we eat from Monsanto are not good.

“We are part of this global community. I hope we can create an energy shift and that even Republicans and Democrats would too have a greater understanding of what’s happening to Mother Earth at this time.

“We are here because there is something we’re being called upon to do. We know something is wrong and we don’t want to face it except to face it spiritually. We are praying to the Sacred Fire, and people all over the world are in tune with us and in prayer with us.

Urges All to Work for Environment

“We received news today, June 21st, that a U.N. Declaration is being taken today to the Secretary General of the U.N. calling for an establishment of an Indigenous United Nations to reflect the accumulation of thousands of years of knowledge, and for the protection of future generations. In addition, they attached a proclamation of the ‘vision of Arvol Looking Horse and his World Peace and Prayer Day’ with an emphasis ‘to exhibit concern for all life and to pray for global healing’ and to proclaim the ‘importance of caring for sacred sites.’

“It referred to Iroquois Chief Leon Shenandoah’s prophecy thirty years ago that referred to the ‘end of life when trees start dying from the treetops downward, then nothing will grow.’ It referred to spiritual consciousness being the highest form of politics. It further called on the abolishment of nuclear bombs, and further affirmed that ‘We are the spiritual energy and are 1000x stronger than nuclear energy.’ We cannot trade the welfare of our children, and must abolish nuclear threats. It also requested the Papal Bulls (Manifest Destiny) be officially rescinded.

“You too can be a peace leader and work with the environment. That fate is in you, and no more are we alone. We are a global community and faced with global challenges, but through prayer we set an agenda for the future for world peace. Life is sacred and we are part of this global community. I hope we can all create an energy shift with prayer.

“People all over the world have been in contact us through the different communications we have today. To the people who have helped us with this spiritual journey for the past twenty years, I want to say, ‘Thank you for believing, and I truly believe each and every one of you can share this with your heart.’ Cherish what Creator gave you as this Life is sacred, the fire is sacred, and the water of life is sacred. There’s so much we have to live with, and everything has a Spirit, and that Great Spirit gave us life.

“The Sacred Fire is a spirit, and the Water of Life is a spirit. In that circle, there is not one person higher than another. In the sacred hoop, all are leaders. As we started our sacred fire for the ceremony, there is no ending, no beginning. We are part of the cycle of life and we have a responsibility.

“We pray someday June 21st will be an international holiday. As we stand here, people are gathering at their sacred sites worldwide.

“We need a lot more of you in the world to pray for peace because it is not good what we are facing. In our prayers, we have dignity, honor, and respect. If we live it, our children will have it too. The elders say you are not alone in this world because you always have your ancestors, so never say you are all alone.”

Agnes Baker-Pilgrim Honored at World Peace & Prayer Day

Agnes Baker-Pilgrim, 91, is the oldest living member of the Takilma Tribe in Oregon, and a member of the Siletz Tribe. She is also the head of the 13 International Indigenous Grandmothers Council, and her family has conducted an annual Salmon ceremony on the Rogue and Applegate Rivers for close to two decades. Her daughter and son, Nadine and Keith Martin, provided a smaller version of this traditionally-cooked salmon feast for the World Peace and Prayer Day, and Agnes addressed the participants over the four days:

“It’s people like Arvol Looking Horse who help us have world peace. We all have the honor that our ancestors left us their unfinished work to take care of this planet: ozone hole, smog in the cities, trash in the oceans and rivers, GMOs, massive cutting of trees, tops of mountains being mined, global warming causing ice melts.

“All this destruction is damaging the 7th generation and the unborn yet to come. We have to do better so they can grow up and have white hair like me, and also have a world with clean water and air. We have to start with these little people, because the world and the future is theirs.

“I have been part of the Salmon Nation all my life. If you live by the streams, rivers, lakes, oceans, protect them. Don’t throw any trash in the waters.

“If I can be a voice for the voiceless at age 91, what’s your excuse? I care and I know you care what happens to the animal habitats in the water. We can’t live without the animals.

“If you have one foot in this world and one in the other like me at my age, you had better walk your talk. I hope all will give prayers for Chief Arvol Looking Horse, prayers as he carries the Sacred Pipe. You know the karma if one doesn’t carry it right, and he walks his talk.

“Creator can answer prayer. Walk your talk because prayer really works. Love one another. Take care of the children and hug the little ones a lot. Say thank you for being here for me. Because of the love of my kids and grandkids and great grandkids, I am here at the age of 91. It’s their love that is why I am sitting here. With the Maori dancing here, I wanted to dance too. Prayer works, and I’m not talking ‘church.’

“In Jefferson, Oregon, I did the ribbon-cutting for the nation’s only veterans wall memorial, dedicated specifically for Native veterans and Code talkers, finally all together. Don’t forget the biggest contingency of our U.S. forces have been Native.

“I care and speak about the salmon, the water, the condors which are the thunderbirds, getting the lead out of bullets [to prevent contamination to predators eating wildlife killed by hunters], to stop the clear-cutting of our forests, spraying of 2,4,5-T herbicides, no spraying along the highways, save the bees, and no GMOs. I prayed and blessed thirty-nine condors in Portland. It won’t be long until they’ll fly overhead.

“Magic happens. Creator can do that. It’s One God, many paths, so don’t use your path as a sword. We are all in this leaky canoe together.

“When I cooked salmon for Martha Stewart years ago at one of my Salmon gatherings, as she was putting the salmon on our redwood sticks, I told her, ‘after eating salmon cooked traditionally, you’ll throw away your frying pan.’ (When you eat salmon, thank the tree people too because the wood is used for the fire, and also we put the salmon onto redwood sticks to traditionally cook them).

“We are all water babies. Take care of the water wherever you are. At least once a day, give thanks to Mother Earth for all you have, all you eat, even your jewelry, automobiles, cell phones, everything comes from the Earth, and is made from the Earth’s resources. I pray that I walk my talk. Know that all there is is love, and there’s a purpose for you. You come to a ceremony on one level, and then go home on a higher level. Creator has a hand on you.”

Elder Eddie Benton Banai, of the Grand Medicine Lodge, Ojibwe:

“We are all related. The elders have been saying for generations that either people protect the Earth and water, or else there will be no life … As we look around today, there is consciousness rising, an awareness of this. But we are fast running out of time. Civilization has become an enemy of the People, and the leaders of this civilization don’t see Mother Earth is living…. Republicans and multinational corporations have no feeling for the People. Even the Bible says you even if you have all the money in the world, what about at the end of the road? Money is not the only thing important. Yes, money is necessary but it is Life itself that is most important. Man might own the watch on his wrist, but the watch shouldn’t own the man. We are running out of time, and how the Earth is being ruined, we might only have four more of these World Peace and Prayer Days. 72% of the world’s drinking water is already contaminated. If all the water is destroyed, we are all gone too. To save the Earth, put down your biases and differences, and begin walking and working together.

“Our stories began 50,000 years ago, and that is a little bit longer than 1492. Since 1492, nearly all indigenous languages have been destroyed. It is good we have men like Arvol Looking Horse who know about responsibility.

“The consciousness needs to continue after four days here. How many days ago on CNN did we see the murders in the church? Who’s raising these kids? Be active and talk about the elimination of drugs in our communities and our nation.”

Additional Speakers Add Their Support

Rabbi David Zaslow of Ashland’s Havurah Synagogue emphasized an understanding that “It is all nations, not one nation. It’s all religions, not one religion. It’s all, not one.”

Former SOU professor David West stated, “In over 300 tribes, there is no word in their languages for ‘failing.’ Yes there are words for ‘mistakes or learning from mistakes’ but no words for ‘failure,’ so there is hope for us all.”

Looking Horse’s wife, Paula Horne, pointed out, “NASA scientists have said we are at a point of no return. We are here to prove it different and be a ripple effect. If we could do this worldwide, we could heal the earth.”

Looking Horse Urges People to Make Their Choice Now

In White Buffalo Teachings, another of his books, Looking Horse states:

“We are the watchers. We are the witnesses. We see what has gone before. We see what happens now, at this dangerous moment in human history. We see what’s going to happen, what will surely happen unless we come together – we, the Peoples of allNations – to restore peace, harmony and balance to the Earth, our Mother …We must understand the two ways we are free to follow, as we choose: the positive way or the negative way, the spiritual way or the material way. It’s our own choice, each of our and all of our choices. You yourself are the one who must decide. You alone, and only you, can make this crucial choice. Whatever you decide is what you’ll be, to walk in honor or to dishonor your relatives. You can’t escape the consequences of your own decision. On your decision, yes, on your own personal decision, depends the fate of the entire World. We are the only species destroying Mother Earth! You must decide. You can’t avoid it.

“Each of us is put here in this time and this place to personally decide the future of humankind. Did you think the Creator would create unnecessary people in a time of such terrible danger? My Grandmother once told me to understand that every person can have a good heart, a heart big enough to change the world! She said the Great Spirit wouldn’t give us something we couldn’t handle!

“Know that you yourself are essential to this World. Believe that! Understand both the blessing and the burden of that. You yourself are desperately needed to save the soul of this World. Did you think you were put here for something less?”


Jane Ayers is an independent journalist (stringer with USA Today, Los Angeles Times) and regularly contributes to Reader Supported News. She can be reached at

Pow Wow Visitors Guide


Welcome to the annual Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Pow Wow or Wacipi, as it is known in the Dakotah Language. The 148th annual wacipi is being held Friday through Sunday, July 3-5, 2015. Grand entries are at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 1:00 p.m. Sunday.

This event is the longest-running annual event in South Dakota and one of the oldest established celebrations throughout the United States.

Open to the public, the annual pow wow is always well attended and draws more foreign tourists than any other event in the Glacial Lakes region. This visitor’s guide was developed by the Institute for Dakota Studies, Sisseton Wahpeton College, to assist visitors in the enjoyment of the wacipi – a gathering of the people to celebrate with traditional songs and dances.

Admission is free to everyone.

This year’s gathering features a traditional arbor, constructed eight years ago and recently updated.

A wacipi was originally a spring event held to celebrate the seasonal renewal of life. People would congregate to sing, dance, renew old friendships, and form new ones. Pow wows held a religious significance as an opportunity for families to hold naming and honoring ceremonies. In the Dakota tradition, the celebration was also a prayer to what in Dakota is called Wakan-Tanka, the Great Spirit, the Creator, or Grandfather. The word “pow wow” is traced by some to the Algonquin language and is believed to have been used by non-Indians to mean, in general, a council or meeting.

Today, pow wows are still very much a part of the lives of members of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and for other American Indians. While some begin as early as March, the “pow wow season” normally runs from June until September (with some notable exceptions, such as the Sisseton-Wahpeton Veterans Day Pow Wow and May graduation pow wows). Pow wows are held every weekend, often at several locations simultaneously during peak periods. Many families pack up and “go on the pow wow circuit,” camping out and enjoying the traditional celebrations of singing, dancing, and seeing old friends not since the previous season.

Competitive singing and dancing for prize money is a relatively recent change in the pow wow. In a contest pow wow, prize money is awarded to top point-getters at the culmination on the last day of the pow wow. This year's event is a contest wacipi.

Just as all pow wows have changed somewhat over the years, so has the annual pow wow of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate been changing. Most spiritual ceremonies -- for example, naming ceremonies -- have recently been excluded and are no longer part of many pow wows. But special memorial and honoring ceremonies, and ceremonies for fallen eagle feathers, do continue.

The circle is an important symbol to Dakota people. It is used extensively during wacipi. The dancers come to the center of a circle, the drums and the audience form a circle around them, the concessions form another circle around the gathering. The pow wow brings the circle of Sisseton-Wahpeton people closer to family, friends, and to the Dakota culture.

Grand entry

A pow wow begins with the grand entry. Spectators should always stand and remove caps or hats during grand entry, flag songs, honor songs, and invocation or other prayers. The grand entry itself is likely derived from rodeos and wild west shows; it is the parade of honored persons and dancers which opens each session of pow wow dancing. Dancers demonstrate their style and regalia.

All dancers are requested to take part in the grand entry.

Because of the tradition of honoring akicita, or warriors, veterans are also prominent in most pow wow grand entries, and the Sisseton-Wahpeton pow wow is no exception. Watch for the flags to be carried by veteran honor guard members.

At the head of the procession, the eagle staff is carried into the circle – signaling the opening of the grand entry. It is followed by the American, Canadian, state, and tribal flags.

Title holders from tribal pageants, such as Miss Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and Junior Miss Princesses, enter next, followed by invited dignitaries and honored guests.

Male dancers then enter with traditional dancers first, then grass dancers and fancy dancers.

Incidentally, the “grass dancers” are a holdover from many years ago. These dancers would come onto the field first, to trample down the tall grass and thus make ready the pow wow grounds for other dancers who would come later. Early in June, local Dakota Oyate, including grass dancers, gathered here at the Tribal ceremonial grounds for a special “blessing ceremony.” Prayers were invoked over the grounds, and the grass dancers performed this traditional trampling down of the grass.

Junior boys, then junior girls, follow in the same order as the adults. The last to enter the arbor are the little boys (tiny tots --traditional and fancy dancers), and little girls (tiny tots -- traditional and fancy shawl dancers).

The dancers come clockwise, or sunwise, showing the audience, singers, and other dancers, that they are dressed and ready to dance. They show their outfits or regalia (the term “costume” is believed by many to be derogatory and its use is not appropriate) and their steps, letting people know who they are and what they can do.

When the grand entry song ends, there is a flag song (honoring the American flag) and a victory song (honoring akicita and for all the oyate, the people), then an invocation blessing the gathering. The eagle staff (positioned above the American flag to signify the first nation) is tied to the pole in the center of the arbor or brought to the announcer’s stand. The dancing then begins.

Types of songs and the drum

Dakota people create different types of songs for different occasions, such as grand entries, dance categories, and honoring ceremonies. While they differ in tempo, words, and emotion, pow wow songs all follow a similar structure.

There are songs for all occasions, such as honor songs, veterans songs, and war party songs.

Many pre-reservation songs have been put aside in favor of the large number of newly created ones.

Some groups sing only their own songs, others borrow songs and perform their own as well.

The songs are not written, but tape recorded and then learned by both singers and dancers.

Singers are not judged by the sweetness of their voices. In the Northern Plains, the higher parts of the song are sung falsetto and the melody gains energy and rhythm as the voice descends. The sound is produced at the back of an open mouth and throat. The volume and quality of the voice depends largely on well-developed abdominal muscles. Singers are judged on the range, volume, strength, and expressive quality of their voices as well as how they blend with the rest of the group. Women sing an octave higher than the men and sometimes join the men in songs. Women may “trill” at special places in the song to indicate deep emotion such as joy or appreciation of the song.

The drum is an essential ingredient of the pow wow. These sacred instruments come from many sources. Some are handed down in a family, others are donated to a drum group. Older drums are made of deer, elk, horse, or buffalo hides, but contemporary bass drums can be purchased, renovated, and finally blessed, and considered sacred as are the older drums.

The drum is more than a musical instrument. It has its own life. Some drum groups have gone through ceremonies to have their drums blessed and named. The drum is regarded as possessing its own powerful spirit. Gifts are made to the drum, and a drum may have its own sacred medicine pipe.

In some traditions, the drum symbolizes the heartbeat; in others, the powerful medicine of thunder.

The drum is always treated with respect. Nothing is set on a drum, nor does anyone reach across it.

The beat of the drum is like a heartbeat, starting slowly, then beating more quickly as the singers move ahead in the song. The drumsticks connect the singers to the power of the drum as they sing. The drumming is judged by the rhythm of the song.

Usually drum groups are judged only on the songs they sing for the dance specials and on intertribal songs. There are many different kinds of rhythms and drumbeats played as required by the type of contest song. The drumbeats must be in perfect time, each player must be in unison.

People unfamiliar with pow wows should remember that the term “drum” also refers to the drum group itself.

There are many well-known drum groups from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate. Many play at area and regional pow wows, some have been asked to perform at national events and sites, ranging from California universities to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Among the well-known groups are Grey Fox, Wahpekute, Ridge Runners, Buffalo Lake Singers, Dakota Nation, Iyaptapi (Big Coulee), and the Tiospa Zina Tribal School Drum. Recently, a younger generation of singers has come together to re-form the Old Agency Singers.

Types of dance

To understand and appreciate pow wow dancing, it is helpful to be familiar with the different dance categories. In general, there are separate dance divisions for men, women, juniors, and tiny tots, as well as separate contests for men and women over 50 years of age. For men, there are three different dance competitions: traditional, fancy, and grass dancing.

The men’s traditional dance began when war parties would return to the village and “dance out” the story of a battle and when hunters would dance their story of tracking and then capturing prey. The outfit of the traditional dance is more subdued in color than that of other dancers. Frequently decorated with bead and quill work, the circular bustle of eagle feathers represents cycles and unity. The eagle feather spikes on the bustle point upward, representing a channel between the Great Spirit and all things on earth. Traditional dancers are often veterans and carry items which symbolize their status as warriors -- shields, weapons, honor staffs. The traditional dance step is done with the ball of the foot touching the ground on the first beat, and the whole foot on the second beat. Dance movements are patterned after animals and birds as an imitation of tracking or of the animal itself. The men’s grass dance originated with the Omaha Tribe, probably in the 1860s. A very popular dance, outfits feature colorful fringe. The basic step of the grass dance involves the ball of one foot being tapped on one beat and placed down flatly with the next. Weight is shifted from foot to foot.

Men’s fancy dancing is relatively new. It is more a freestyle dance with fancier footwork, increased speed, acrobatic steps, and varied body movements. Most dancers wear brilliantly colored bustles. Dancers must stop with the music with both feet on the ground. Traditionally, women danced only to certain songs or on special occasions and usually in the background. The women’s traditional dance consists basically of remaining stationary and bending the knees with a slight up and down movement of the body. Most women traditional dancers wear or carry a shawl, some carry an eagle or hawk feather fan.

The women’s fancy shawl dance is relatively new. Outfits consist of a knee length cloth dress, beaded moccasins with matching leggings, a fancy shawl, and jewelry. Footwork is the chief element of the fancy dance, the style moving toward more movement, especially spinning.

The jingle dress dance had all but died out at one time, but interest has been rekindled and now women from many tribes make and wear them. The jingle dress cannot be mistaken. It is made of cloth and covered with hundreds of metal cones, or jingles. All people, including tourists in the audience, are welcome to dance during a round dance. The round dance is a chance for everyone to dance moving clockwise around the arbor. Street clothes are acceptable, no special regalia is necessary.

Additional information about the men’s bustle or “Crow”

James Steele adds the following information concerning the bustle or “crow,” as it was originally called: There was no circular piece in the old days but a square. The two feather spikes represent two slain warriors and the quills themselves represent arrows and should be tipped with red horsehair. The two trails of feather represent going and coming, and the name crow comes from the bird because of its keen sense of smell -- especially of dead flesh. Other feathers included in the original crow were magpies, buzzards, and eagles . . . because that was the order they would appear after a battle. The small shells or bells attached to the spikes represented the sound of the battle. Only men with great war honors or feats wore the “crow.” The 5 x 5 center piece was made from an entire eagle skin, and other bird skins (crow, magpie) were used as decoration.

Other aspects of the pow wow

There are several interesting aspects of pow wows that should be mentioned. The first is the eagle feather. During an eagle feather ceremony, spectators should stand and remove caps or hats. Picture taking is not permissible at this time. To Dakota people and most American Indians, the eagle feather is sacred. When an eagle feather falls from a dancer’s outfit, the pow wow stops and this special ceremony is performed.

In some traditions, a fallen eagle feather is treated as an enemy because the sacred power of the feather can turn against the person who has lost it. The ceremony is necessary to capture the feather, ask forgiveness, and pray over it to restore the feather’s power for good. Different tribes have different customs. In some traditions, the eagle feather is looked upon as a protector and its accidental dropping is similar to the American flag touching the ground. Other traditions simply have a veteran pick up the feather and return it after the prayer and the gifting.

During an honor song, spectators should always stand and remove caps or hats. As the name suggests, honor songs are requested at a pow wow to honor a person or people. A family might request an honor song for a returning son or in memory of a deceased relative. Honor songs can be made for almost any occasion. In some traditions, people with a Dakota name have their own songs for use when the person is honored. In other cases, there are “generic” honor songs for people. As already mentioned, veterans are greatly honored by Dakota people. In today’s society, they often receive too little attention for their sacrifices. The honor accorded veterans at pow wows takes many visitors by surprise. Veterans are especially well honored by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, who have several active veterans organizations. Veterans serve as flag bearers and they retrieve dropped eagle feathers. They are honored with many songs.

The respect for veterans is an integral part of Dakota culture. It is a tradition which grew from times when the welfare of a village depended upon the quantity and quality of the fighting men – the akicita. To be a warrior was a man’s purpose in life. And the veterans of today are given the same honor and respect as warriors of long ago. In some tribes, bravery is still honored as one of the four virtues --bravery, generosity, wisdom, and fortitude.

Of course, today, women are included as they also serve in the armed forces and several of our Oyate women have been deployed in harm’s way.

The giveaway is believed to be universal among American Indians. Unlike societies where one expects to receive gifts for accomplishments, Native American society holds that a person being honored has a giveaway and provides gifts for others. It has been said that the chief of a tribe was always the poorest man in the village, for he looked out for the good of all his people. Charged with their welfare, honored by them, the chief gave away blankets, horses, food, and whatever else the people needed. Today, giveaways by people being honored or in honor of someone else, are common at pow wows. Visitors will also notice a renewed interest in traditional moccasin games. The Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate are involved in intertribal and international efforts to revive these games, and a moccasin tournament is now an integral part of each year’s annual wacipi.

“Pow Wows Now and Then” (a poem)

(Editor’s note: The following poem was written by Jake Thompson on April 10, 1980. Jake writes of the value of this celebration: “The annual coming together of the whole Tribe expresses and deepens the Dakota value of sharing.”)

Seeing new and old - friends, Indian cars, teepees, eagle feathers, honor, fringed shawls, fancy dance outfits, traditional regalia, contests, eagles, singers, dancers, “snags.”

Smelling new and old - cooking, the four winds, sweat, horses, campfires, dogs, smoke, buckskins, “perfume.”

Hearing new and old - songs, laughter, bells, eagle bone whistles, jokes, drums, the camp crier, applause, gossip, the announcer, 49’s, “I love you.”

Touching new and old - drumsticks, respect, giveaways, hospitality, handgames, Mother Earth, drums, tradition, generosity, “her.” Tasting new and old - corn soup, fry bread, coffee, rations, cold ones, Indian tacos, dust kicked up, commodities, water, "and that goodbye kiss."

Brief editorial comments from the editor’s desk –

On and Off the Lake Traverse Reservation

Anpetug de iyamni was’te do.

Before focusing on the news in this issue we’d like to pause so we might share with our kodas their grief.

There are always losses, as these are part of our lifetime.

This week we reflect on a long life which ended in the presence of family.

We also reflect on lives taken by accident.

One, a 53-year-old whose actions saved the life of a baby traveling in the same car.

The other, a 22-year-old victim of drowning.

And we have friends and family in hospitals, some with serious even critical injuries.

Often we hear about the Oyate, the community, standing together.

Let’s make it real, not a slogan.



Pidamiya all who helped with last week’s first General Council of 2015, held Thursday and Friday at the Tribal administration building.

Acoustics are an ongoing problem, and hopefully solutions will be found and remedies made before the December General Council or any other public meetings to be held in the rotunda.

Otherwise, General Council and other gatherings should be held elsewhere: if the SWC omniciye tipi is too small, then at Connection or at Magic.

It is important to know what people are talking about! Our reporting of last week’s two-day General Council will have to rely on written reports.

Thanks to John Heminger for helping get photos!

His pictures, and some of our own, are in this week’s article. See page one.


Hoka hey!

Grassdancers and drums came out to the ceremonial grounds last week to pray and prepare the grounds for the wacipi!

The 148th annual Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Wacipi will be held this week.

See the poster on our back page.

This is a contest pow wow.

Please note we are printing the annual visitors guide here.


Thank you to the Tribal Elderly Board for helping raise awareness about the ongoing epidemic of meth abuse on the Reservation.

Thank you all who came and asked “What can we do to help.”

There were some answers presented, possible solutions.


We are awaiting updated reports on how the resurgence of the Creator’s game is impacting lives of our Oyate – young and not-so-young alike. Wicasta and winyan alike.

Watch next week for photos showing how the game is spreading among our SWO.

Thank you to Erin Griffin and Franky Jackson for your support of lacrosse!


Elder's Meditation:

"Whenever you take anything from the Earth, remember to leave an offering." -- Joe Coyhis, STOCKBRIDGE-MUNSEE

We need to look at nature and its inhabitants as our brothers and sisters. Whenever we pick plants or herbs, we should leave an offering of tobacco. We should talk to the plants and ask their permission to use them. The plants will feel honored to be of service for each of them knows they are here to serve. Each of them knows they carry a special medicine and this medicine is about continuing the cycle of life. We need always to be grateful to our brothers and sisters.

Creator, I thank you for the opportunity of life.


Words to consider (or, perhaps not!):

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007), Mother Night

Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts. Saki (1870 - 1916)

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim. George Santayana (1863 - 1952), Life of Reason (1905) vol. 1, Introduction

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)

We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong. Sir Arthur Eddington (1882 - 1944)

There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on. Robert Byrne

There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time. Edith Wharton (1862 - 1937), The Last Asset, 1904


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 –

Services held for Rebecca Stoughton

Rebecca Lynn Stoughton, age 53, of Sisseton, South Dakota Journeyed to the Spirit World on June 22nd, 2015 at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

She was born on December 23rd, 1961 in Sisseton, South Dakota the daughter of Alois J. Wanna and Claudia Kirk. 

She enjoyed beading, reading as she was an avid reader, movies, was an artist and native storyteller.  She loved her family.

Rebecca was active in A.I.M./Native American Issues and Concerns.

Survived by her mother: Katherine Mary Van Vlack of Hamden, Connecticut; brothers: Alvin Arellano of Phoenix, Arizona, Ed Wanna of New Town, North Dakota, Keith Wanna of Sisseton, South Dakota, Alois "Jeff" Wanna of Sisseton, South Dakota and Stacey Wanna of Sisseton, South Dakota; sisters: Carlotta Wanna-Strom of Monticello, Minnesota and Brenda Wanna of Minneapolis, Minnesota; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.  Further survived by her mother: Katherine Mary Van Vlack of Hamden, Connecticut; brother: John Van Vlack of Prospect, Connecticut; a sister: Barbara Van Vlack of Prospect, Connecticut and a brother: Charles Van Vlack of East Hampton, Connecticut, her birth mother Claudia Kirk and family; other relatives and friends. 

Preceded in death by her father: Philip Van Vlack.

Funeral services for Rebecca Lynn Stoughton were held last Friday morning at the Community Center in Agency Village, South Dakota.

All night wake was held Thursday at the Community Center.

Honorary Casket Bearers were Diane Mireau, Paulette Cloud, Jim Cornielious, Carrie Greeley, James Rondell, Lillian Wanna, Barbara Van Vlack, Scarlett Wanna, Grace Wanna and Jennifer Wanna and all her friends and relatives.

Casket Bearers were Jeff Wanna, Jace Wanna, Alois Wanna III, Keith J. Wanna Jr., Charles VanVlack, Craig Wanna, Thoody Thode, Stacey Wanna, Jon Van Vlack and Jon Garritty.

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

Funeral services for Ernie Barse

Ernest D. Barse Sr., “Grandpa Ernie” left on his spirit journey June 26, 2015. In recent days his big family had gathered around him, as they understood he would be leaving soon.

There were funeral services held at 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening, June 28, 2015 at the SWO Community Center, Agency Village, SD.

Watch for a complete obituary next week in the Sota.

Funeral services Tuesday in Flandreau for Kenny Bursheim III

Flandreau, SD - Kenneth DuWayne Bursheim, III, "Maka Yucan Can Mani", The Ground Shakes As He Walks", 22 entered the spirit world in the early morning of June 26, 2015 in an accidental drowning at the dam in Flandreau, SD.

He was born to Kenneth "John Boy" Bursheim, Jr. and Sondra "Annie" Wakeman on July 15, 1992 at Pipestone, MN.

Kenneth grew up and went to school at Flandreau Public School.

When Kenneth was young he liked to sing and dance and would sit down at any drum and sing.

Kenneth was a sundancer and really believed in our Native American way.

He loved to make people laugh and had his way of always making you feel loved. His smile could light up the room. Kenneth was known to be very well mannered and very respectful and always there to help.

He met Tashina his companion, the love of his life and had 3 children, Mathias age 5, Kenneth IV age 4 and Nevaeh age 3. Kenneth was so proud of his children.

Kenneth loved his Gramma's and had a special relationship with them. He was Gramma Marvel's baby and he knew it. His Gramma Bev named him "Sweet Pea" and he was her sweet pea.

He had a special friend, Liz Wakeman who said, Kenneth was the only kid that wasn't scared of her and Kenneth always did little jobs for her and she had little bags with candy and money in them that she made especially for him.

Kenneth's God mother was DeVon Bursheim and his Godfathers were Patrick Deutsch, Jr., Tilmer Selvage and Jared Goodsell and Kenneth always knew he could count on them.

His brother Keith said, "He'll miss every damn thing about him!" Kenneth had a special relationship with his cousin, Sara who he confided in every time he was feeling down or just needed someone to talk to.

He is survived his by mother, Annie Wakeman (Robert Sanchez), father, Kenneth Jr., brothers, Brandon, Keith, Brooks, Ray, Sidney and JJ, sisters, Robin, Beverly and Jasmine. Grandmothers Marvel and Barbara, Great grandmother Beverly and many aunts and uncle, nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandfathers Kenneth Bursheim, Sr and RK Wakeman.

Funeral services will be Tuesday, June 30, 2015, 10:00 AM at the Wicoicaga Otipi Coummunity Center, Flandreau with burial in First Presbyterian Cemetery, Flandreau.

Vigil services are for three nights at the community center.


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.

Celebrating the Red, White, and Blue

By Senator John Thune

Fourth of July is right around the corner, and as South Dakotans fire up their backyard barbecues or embark on family vacations to celebrate this summer, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on the true importance of Independence Day.

Nearly 240 years ago, our Founding Fathers took a bold stand for freedom by declaring independence from Great Britain. It hasn’t always been a smooth road, but through the bravery and sacrifice of one great generation after another, America has remained a strong beacon of hope and opportunity for people around the globe.

From our nation’s heroes who fight hard for the red, white, and blue, to the farmers and ranchers who start their day long before the sun even rises, America’s collective strength is borne out of hard work, unity, and love of country.

Today the Fourth of July means many things to many people. It’s an opportunity for cities and towns to come together for picnics and parades. It’s a time for friends and families to share old stories and create new memories. Most importantly, it’s a chance to celebrate all of the blessings and opportunities that come with being an American. This holiday has a special meaning for me and my family because my dad, Harold, a member of the Greatest Generation, sacrificed an unbelievable amount for his country and his family. He was one of many young men who served on the USS Intrepid during World War II. Just a few months ago, I was fortunate enough to visit the Intrepid and walk through the same halls that my dad did so many years ago, under much different conditions.

Whether your family is traveling or spending time at home this year, I hope you enjoy a safe, fun, memory-filled week. Happy Fourth of July, and remember that our freedom is not free.

This Independence Day

By Rep. Kristi Noem

Washington, DC – June 26, 2015 – How different the fourth of July must have been in 1776. Today, it’s a loud celebration with fireworks, parades, and excitement. But I imagine a much quieter and reflective tone in 1776. Yes, John Adams had written that in the future our independence “ought to be commemorated … with shows, games, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other.” But we still had a war to win against the British. And for the next seven years, we battled to secure our independence and protect our rights, among them “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

There have been so many times over the last few years that I’ve seen these liberties once again tested and strained by an intrusive federal government. The President’s health care law, for instance, took control away from families and put our healthcare options - and our wallets - into the hands of bureaucrats. The Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly seeks out new regulations that threaten to increase our electricity bills or erode our property rights, as a new “Waters of the U.S.” rule could do. The government is telling our schools what ought to be put on lunch trays and targeting certain groups that speak out against an even bigger federal government. It has to stop.

My focus each and every day is to reverse this trend and to make sure you’re in control. We’ve made some progress, although we still have a long way to go. When the Department of Labor tried to ban some kids from doing certain farm work on their relative’s or neighbor’s farms, I put pressure on them and they withdrew the rule. When OSHA tried to regulate small family farms, we got them to reverse course. When the President’s health care law sought to ration care for seniors, we gutted the finances for the program and continue to fight for its full repeal.

Independence Day is yet another reminder of why we need to keep fighting for a smarter government – a government that opens opportunities for every American and protects our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. During this year’s Independence Day celebrations, I encourage you to take on our Founding Father’s quieter and reflective tone – if only for a moment. Consider the battle they fought, the declarations of liberty they made, and the journey we have yet to finish.

I am so proud to live in this country – a country where anything can happen because we have the freedom to pursue our American Dream. We each share the responsibility of keeping it that way.

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

A Purposeful Meaning, a poem

Written By

Jessica Hope Spencer


I plunged against my heart, like a sponge

squeezing every ounce of liquid,

draining unto a surface, for its purpose,

to spread along these paths

we walk along on Creator's earth.

I cleansed my ears, to the reaching

connecting to every portion of my soul,

to recognize the troubling, of thy spirit

and the questions that are left untold.

Is it that, what makes us deaf

to see the strength

which faith has brought us?

and is it such things,

that makes us blind

to believe all things

in which love can conquer.

And as I fell down upon

my hands and knees

I made a plea, to cry for help

and a prayer for its blessing, that

this of Creator, God

may open all doors,

to look upon the steps

we climb in life,

and the many downfalls we leave behind.

I wake upon this day

very thankful and gratefully so,

for the many things yet to see

and the many things yet to explore.

The unsolved, the mystery of things

such things that are meant to be.

And what are these things,

that are meant of this?

to search for the purpose

and its meaning

we sometimes miss.

Poems by Elden Hayes –

Love Dies

She left and took my heart with her

I'll never let her see me crying,

the fire has burned itself out

she said that she could feel her love dying.

I walk in the land of the broken heart

there is nothing but gravel and miles,

when you travel this lonely road

there is never any room for smiles.

I swim in the river of pain

where the piranha eat up the sharks,

when once the possibility grew

now there is just a definite dark.

I drink in the saloon of regret

where every swallow becomes a tear,

fragile feelings are my whiskey

the constant rejection is my beer.

I struggle to see a tomorrow

where unhappiness can be gone,

a place where pain engulfs you

only from the words of a song.

I long to catch that lingering dream

where true feelings can be spoken,

a place where honesty overwhelms

and no promises are broken.



The Drinking Pit

Sleeping on a hard mattress that owns the floor

at least I don't have far to fall,

using my jacket as a blanket

even though it is kind of small.

I can hear the rats at play

their numbers have grown since last night,

I can see blood on the floor

so someone must have had a fight.

There is no electricity in the house

there's an old wooden bathroom outside,

there are many holes in the walls

an exit to where the rats hide.

This place isn't really a home

just a house where we gather to drink,

you can tell where someone threw up

you could never miss the putrid stink.

My addiction causes me to seek out others

who live to drink every day

we work hard to stay drunk

we don't know another way.

The empty bottles tell the story

they litter what used to be the back lawn,

I guess we'll drink here forever

or at least until all of us have gone.



Roberts Co. Aliive –

July - Coalition Corner

Study finds 1 in 5 Teens have driven under the influence of Marijuana

A study conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) says that one in five teen drivers report they have driven under the influence of marijuana. The national study of nearly 2,300 11th and 12th graders, also found that 30 percent of the teens surveyed don't consider marijuana use as a driving distraction.

Being under the influence of marijuana is more prevalent among teen drivers than alcohol, as compared to the 13 percent of teens surveyed who report they have driven after drinking. "Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and perception and can lead to poor decisions when a teen under the influence of this or other drugs gets behind the wheel of a car," said Stephen Wallace, Senior Advisor for Policy, Research, and Education at SADD, in a news release. "What keeps me up at night is this data reflects a dangerous trend toward the acceptance of marijuana and other substances compared to our study of teens conducted just two years ago." In that study, Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD found that 78 percent of teens were at the other end of the spectrum, characterizing marijuana use as "very" or "extremely" distracting to their driving.

Friends do play a significant role, as most teen drivers say they would stop driving under the influence of marijuana (90 percent) or alcohol (94 percent) if asked by their passengers. Yet even teen passengers are seemingly less concerned about riding in a car with a driver who has used marijuana than with one who has used alcohol. While a significant majority (87 percent) of teen passengers would speak up and ask the driver to refrain from getting behind the wheel after drinking, only 72 percent of teen passengers would do the same for a driver who has used marijuana. And the study found that girls are far more likely to speak to the driver than boys in either circumstance.

It takes only one car crash to change lives forever-far too many young people still die in alcohol and drug-related traffic deaths. Drug abuse is always unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable-and the problem becomes a public safety issue when drugged driving occurs. Parents-start talking before a problem happens-driving or riding with an impaired driver is a high-risk decision. Talk to your teens and tell them to SPEAK UP. It is important that our kids know it is unsafe to ride with someone who is under the influence of any drug-including marijuana, prescription drugs not prescribed to them, or alcohol.

We need to keep reminding ourselves that we can make a difference. We must raise consciousness around the risks of driving or riding with an "impaired" driver-remember "Friends don't let Friends Drive Drunk OR Drugged." And as always, resources for parents are available on our website at

Supreme Court upholds insurance subsidies in Federal Exchanges

Washington, DC – Today, June 25, 2015, the United States Supreme Court delivered a ruling in the King v. Burwell case that upholds a key provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The decision allows for the continued provision of premium tax-credit subsidies towards the purchase of health insurance in federally facilitated exchanges for those that meet income eligibility requirements. Many American Indians and Alaska Natives live in states with federally facilitated exchanges so this decision is significant.

In his remarks from the White House, President Obama stated “…health care is not a privilege for a few but a right for all. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay.”

After hearing this morning’s ruling President Cladoosby said “The U.S. Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell today is great news for Indian Country! Insurance subsidies are critical to ensuring access to affordable health insurance for American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) issued a joint statement in the decision with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Collaborative for Health Equity, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, PICO National Network, and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.

From the White House –

FACT SHEET: The Supreme Court Upholds Critical Part of the Affordable Care Act What You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act.

After nearly a century of work, after decades of trying, after a year of sustained debate, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. Since then, health reform has become the law of the land and after more than five years under the law, it has been woven into the fabric of an improved American health care system, on which Americans can rely throughout life. And it’s probably impacting your life in ways you do not realize. Young adults can stay on their family’s plan. People losing jobs, changing jobs, or breaking out on their own no longer have to worry about whether they can get health insurance. Having a pre-existing condition or being a woman no longer means you pay for more coverage. And, affordability has improved – from insurance that is there for you when you need it to discounts on prescription drugs in Medicare.

Here are examples of how the law has already made the health care system better and is providing all Americans with the peace of mind that comes with health security:

· Better benefits and consumer protections: More than 137 million Americans now have guaranteed access to preventive care, including immunizations, well child visits, certain cancer screenings, and contraceptive services, with no additional out-of-pocket costs as well as no more annual caps on essential benefit coverage and new annual limits on out-of-pocket costs.

· Dramatic decline in the uninsured, including more young adults covered: We’ve seen the largest decline in the uninsured rate since the early 1970s, and the uninsured rate is now at the lowest level recorded across five decades of data. Since several of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions took effect, more than 16 million uninsured people have gained health insurance coverage. Over 4 million young adults have gained coverage, many through the Affordable Care Act’s provision allowing young adults to remain on a parent’s plan to age 26 and its broader expansion of coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid. By the second quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate among young adults had dropped by more than 40 percent. And a recent study found that over 85 percent of individuals newly covered by the ACA like their insurance.

· Safer hospital stays: From 2010 to 2013, an estimated 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health care costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions and hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions, a 17 percent decline over the three year period. The Affordable Care Act also improves care received through incentives that promote quality of care and time spent between patients and doctors.

· Savings for seniors: More than 9 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved an average of $1,600 per person on their prescription medicine, over $15 billion in all since the Affordable Care Act became law.

· Numerous affordable coverage options: About 85 percent of those who enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace (about 8.7 million individuals) qualified for an average tax credit of $272 per month. About 8 in 10 of individuals signing up for qualified health plans this year had the option of selecting a plan with a premium of $100 or less after tax credits. And there are more insurance plan options in many areas of the country.

· More covered by Medicaid: As of April 2015, 12.3 million additional Americans were covered under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program compared to the start of October 2013, when the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment began. To date, 28 States and DC have expanded Medicaid.

· Savings for hospitals: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, hospitals saved an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014 because of less uncompensated care, with about two-thirds of the total savings going to hospitals in States that have expanded Medicaid. Reduced hospital uncompensated care means less of a “hidden tax” for insured Americans.

President Obama’s health care policies have even broader and more transformative implications for the U.S. economy. The ability to buy affordable plans through a competitive Marketplace will allow countless Americans to move, start businesses, and dream big American dreams – without worrying if an illness will bankrupt them. And, slowing health care costs have reduced the Federal budget deficit and enabled businesses to invest in jobs and a growing American economy.

While progress has been made, we will continue to work to make health care even better, starting with making sure people understand and benefit from the law. We will continue to work toward a health care system that results in better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, with an empowered, educated and engaged consumers in the center. This includes promoting preventive care, securing coverage for all Americans, and further driving down the cost of care to keep our economy strong. And we’ll continue to work with the 22 States who have not yet taken advantage of Federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility to over 4 million Americans in need.

Heitkamp: We must address the national epidemic of Suicide among Native Youth

Suicide Rates for Native Young People Ages 15-24 are 2.5 times the National average and is the second-leading cause of Death

Washington, DC – June 24, 2015 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today highlighted the urgent need to reduce the epidemic suicide rates among Native youth, and to work collectively toward solutions that will improve lives and outcomes.

During a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing, Heitkamp spoke with tribal leaders, Indian Health Service officials, and policy experts on the need to comprehensively address the severe challenges facing Native children such as suicide. According to a White House 2014 report on Native youth, suicide rates for Native children ages 15-24 years old are 2.5 times the national average and are the second-leading cause of death in that age group.

“For too many young people living on tribal lands, the experience of being forgotten or forsaken is a tragic reality,” said Heitkamp. “When suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Native youth and young adults, we must speak clearly with one voice: This country is and has been facing a national epidemic. We can no longer sit idly by and allow this issue to persist. Changing trajectories for young people on tribal lands is possible – but we need firm commitments from federal, state, local and private partners to find ways to prevent such tragic deaths. Just two weeks ago the U.S. House of Representatives took up my unanimously passed Senate bill to create a Commission on Native children to find solutions and provide recommendations for many of the holistic challenges facing Native youth, including the high rates of suicide. Let’s build on that bipartisan momentum and tell and show Native youth they are not forgotten.”

As part of her ongoing support for suicide prevention among Native young people, Heitkamp is advocating for protections against suicide in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. By offering activities and professional development that includes suicide prevention support, schools will work more effectively with students and families in providing healthy school climates – a critical step in increasing mental and behavioral health and decreasing trauma and suicidal tendencies. In April, Heitkamp joined her colleagues in the Senate colleagues in providing recommendations for the reauthorization – several of which were successfully included, such as early education support.

Last November, Heitkamp brought together some of the nation’s leading experts, policy makers, federal agencies, and advocates to identify ways to reduce the effects of traumatic stress Native American children experience, and improve and protect the mental health of Native children. Dr. Tami DeCoteau, a licensed clinical psychologist in Bismarck, moderated the discussion.

Heitkamp has been steadfast in her fight to change the trajectory of Native youth. Less than two weeks ago, members of both parties in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the unanimously passed Senate bill to improve the lives of Native youth by creating a Commission that would study and identify complex challenges faced by Native children – including high rates of suicide. The Commission – which is supported by all five of North Dakota’s tribes as well as former Senator Byron Dorgan – would then provide recommendations to better protect Native children and make sure they have the economic and educational tools they need to thrive.

Conditions for young people in Indian Country are tragic and must be addressed. For example:

Suicide rates for Native children ages 15-24 years old are 2.5 times the national average and is the second-leading cause of death in that age group.

Suicide has long been a prevalent problem among Native youth in North Dakota. Five young people – three teenagers and two 25-year-olds – on the Standing Rock reservation in Fort Yates took their own lives within a two month period in 2005.

· In 2004, an average of six young people attempted to commit suicide every five days in North Dakota, with one succeeding in taking their own life. Of these suicides, up to five times more occurred on Indian reservations than on nontribal land.

· Much like Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska, North Dakota's suicide rate has increased dramatically in recent years – jumping 70 percent in 10 years, with large increases among middle and high school students.

· As population has increased near energy development, violent crime has similarly increased 121 percent from 2005 to 2011, which strains infrastructure and diminishes the ability for tribes and centers to address other issues, such as suicide.

Senate unanimously passes Resolution designating June 2015 National PTSD Awareness Month

More than 1 in 4 Veterans from Conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan treated by the VA have been diagnosed with PTSD

Washington, DC – June 25, 2015 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced the Senate unanimously passed her bipartisan resolution designating June 2015 as National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month and June 27 as National PTSD Awareness Day.

For the third consecutive year, Heitkamp introduced and the Senate passed her bipartisan resolution to help raise awareness about the challenges that servicemembers, veterans, and other members of society with post-traumatic stress face, and reduce the stigma often associated with it. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), nearly half of our nation’s veterans from the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq treated by the VA have been diagnosed with at least one mental health condition, and more than 25 percent of these veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress. Heitkamp’s resolution designates June 2015 as National PTSD Awareness Month and June 27, 2015 as National PTSD Awareness Day. This year’s resolution seeks to decrease the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress by emphasizing that it is a common injury, and is treatable and repairable.

“When our servicemembers return home to North Dakota and states across the country following tours of duty, many of these men and women still carry with them the invisible scars of battle,” said Heitkamp. “It’s our responsibility to provide our veterans with the support they need, and that includes raising awareness about post-traumatic stress and eliminating the stigma that’s often associated with this injury, which can affect anybody experiencing trauma. Post-traumatic stress can’t be seen but it has a considerable impact on the daily lives of so many Americans. We especially owe it to the selfless men and women of the military affected by post-traumatic stress to do all we can to support them in their recovery.”

Heitkamp has been a strong advocate to make sure veterans, particularly those living in rural areas, get access to the support and services they earned – including mental health services. After hearing from too many veterans about the obstacles in getting access to needed services and benefits, Heitkamp introduced her Connect with Veterans Act last August to better connect our nation’s new veterans with the services, resources, and benefits that are available in their communities.

The legislation builds off what she heard from many veterans when she hosted her first Native American Veterans Summit last June in Bismarck. During the summit, she brought together top Administration officials, including the U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, Native veterans, community leaders, and VA and Indian Health Service officials to engage in an open dialogue about the challenges veterans face – especially for those living in rural areas – and what can be done to correct them. To better understand the unique issues facing North Dakota veterans, Heitkamp toured the state in July 2013 and held roundtables in six cities to hear directly from veterans about the obstacles they face.

The resolution was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), James Inhofe (R-OK), Patty Murray (D-WA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), John Hoeven (R-ND), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Al Franken (D-MN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

Sticking your head in the sand

By Richard P. Holm, MD

People like to joke about colonoscopies. One guy asked me after his test if I could see his head through the scope, since his wife was always telling him it must be up there. But it's no laughing matter that 90% of colon cancer deaths could be prevented, and still 70% of people who should have a colonoscopy are not having it done.

So why would that be? I hear all sorts of excuses: "It's an invasion of my privacy," "I don't want to think about it," "I had a bad experience ten years ago," "it's humiliating," and worst of all, "I'm afraid you may find something." Unfortunately these excuses have been way too effective.

Let me tell you a true story: One day, years ago, my dad called and said that there had been blood in the commode for a while, and asked what to do. My worst fears became a reality as first the colonoscopy discovered cancer, and then the surgery found that it had spread to the lymph nodes.

What followed was chemotherapy and medicine, which, I'm sure, gave him at least an extra year until the malignancy reared its ugly head again.

In the end he developed pneumonia, appropriately called "the old man's friend," his pain went away, and he slipped from us gently, and with dignity. What's done is done, but I wish his cancer had been caught earlier. So what about the plusses and minuses of the colonoscopy?

First the disadvantages: it's expensive; the cleaning out before the test is not fun; and there is a small risk that you may go on to need surgery. But there are advantages: using new sedative analgesics, the patient experiences, with rare exception, merely a pleasant nap. The expense is generally and appropriately covered by insurance and is nothing compared to what it would cost if cancer were not discovered early. And the biggest advantage of all: the whole thing just may save your life.

Remember, 90% of colon cancer deaths can be prevented. Please, if you see blood in your stool, notice a change in your bowel habits, or even if it is just time for that every ten-year screening colonoscopy, don't stick your head in the sand, or for that matter, your bottom either.


To hear more from Dr. Holm, watch his TV show, On Call with the Prairie Doc, every Thursday at 7pm CT on South Dakota Public Broadcasting and his website, On Call with the Prairie Doc is produced by the Healing Words Foundation in association with the South Dakota State University journalism department and airs Thursdays on South Dakota Public Broadcasting Television at 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain, and streams live at

Ripple Effect –

The Cat Fish is Out of the Bag!

Whether you are looking for your next meal or just out fishing for fun, the Red River of the North provides an experience for you. If you have ever went fishing on the Red River of the North you may well know that there is not a shortage of trophy catfish. There have been books published and articles written about the amazing catfish fishing on the river. But did you know there are a number of other species of fish in our river that you may have thought could only be pulled from a lake?

When you live as far from the ocean as we do in the Midwest, the lakes are our primary source of fresh fish and the fish on the top of that list is walleye. The most coveted fish was also designated the state fish of Minnesota in 1965. With all its popularity in the water and on your plate, did you know there are walleye right in our backyard on the Red River? Trophy walleyes have been pulled out of the Red River and since it’s a border river, the season is open all year round. Walleyes up to 13 pounds have been reeled in. provides an excellent fishing resource for walleye river fishing. According to the site fishing rivers for walleye is a great choice for two reasons, first rivers do not receive the same amount of fishing pressure as a lake so populations remain high, second, river walleye are not as affected by weather and water temperature changes like lake walleye are. However, success in capturing the coveted river walleye is much more difficult that one would think. The site continues to offer two main factors to consider to increasing your catch rate:

1. Learn about the speed of the river (current) and how river levels impact the feeding behaviors and location of river walleye. River walleye do not care much for fast water and tend to stick close to structures that slow the current down such as dams, rock formations and bridge piers.

2. Anglers tend to prefer and have the most success catching river walleye when the water flows are low. During the flooding season, river walleye tend to seek out shallow, warmer water in backwater bays, oxbow bends and feeder creeks. They will remain there until the water has stopped rising and will migrate back to deeper water which makes it increasingly difficult to catch them.

The next time you are looking for some entertainment or dinner, make your way to the Red River. From catfish or walleye, you are almost guaranteed to catch something and have a great time doing so.

For more information on fish species in the Red River and how to catch river walleye, please visit the following websites: To purchase “Relaxed Anglers Guide to Catfishing on the Red River of the North” by Jay A. Leitch and Tom DeSutter, please visit:


The RRBC is a grassroots organization that is a chartered not-for-profit corporation under the provisions of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota law. Our offices in Moorhead, MN 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

SWC Library Children's Summer Reading Program

Every Hero Has A Story!

By Delight Robertson

This year's theme was "Every Hero Has a Story!"

We had 39 registered children who read a total of 447 books. They earned a total of 1,697 library dollars.

My staff are Hildreth Rodlund and Christine Hill.

Our activities included two sessions of arts and crafts and two story hours.

The Library staff made examples with instructions for the craft making projects of creating cards and flower pens. The other craft hour we created gift cups filled with candy.

Story hour sessions were done by Dedria Keeble and Colleen DuMarce. Our story tellers brought life into their stories and held the attention of their listeners.

The children who attended enjoyed all the activities and snacks.

For every book read or 25 pages the children earned one library dollar and if it had 50 pages they would receive two and so on.

Parents read to their preschool children and made a list of titles and pages per book. The limit was five books per day (Monday through Friday).

The participants did a lot of reading and reporting on their books.

This year our Pre-school winners to 3rd Grade are: 1st Place Cherish DuMarce, 2nd Place Jadis Wolf, 3rd Place Eilah Hill.

4th Grade to 6th Grade Winners are: 1st Place Neera Gilpin, 2nd Place Teagan Bellonger, and 3rd Place Sonny Redday.

Last Friday afternoon, June 26th, we held a celebration consisting of a party with lunch, awards handed out by Jeanette Gravdahl, SWC Academic Dean and Delight Robertson, Librarian. After the awards the children spent their hard earned dollars at our SWC Library Store.

Our program is based on donations from the community.

Thank you goes out to the following sponsors: Western Books, SWO Buffalo Lake District, SWO Old Agency District, SWO Veblen District, Sisseton Wahpeton Federal Credit Union, SWO ET Demo, SWO Youth Recreation & Parks. You are our heroes!

ESDS holds annual Backyard Bash

Submitted by Rebecca Dargatz

School Community Director

The Enemy Swim Day School Community Education Department hosted the annual Backyard Bash on Thursday, June 18th.

Those attending enjoyed inflatables and yard games.

There was a wonderful cookout sponsored by the ESDS Culture Club.

ESDS summer school students take field trip

Submitted by Rebecca Dargatz

School Community Director

Students attending the Enemy Swim Day School Summer Academic Program were able to attend a field trip to the Britton Swimming Pool.

Students must attend 2 of the 3 days Monday through Wednesday and complete the academic portion of the program to attend field trips!

Scholarship Opportunity

Leo A Daly Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Architecture/Engineering Scholarship:

*Applicants must be provide Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Enrollment Verification.

*Must be Third or Fourth year undergraduate students with a declared major in Architecture or Engineering.

*Must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5.

Application Deadline for the fall semester: June 30.

For more information and the application you may contact Janell Williams, SWO Higher Education Program at 605-742-0150 or via email

Funding for Job Training for Native Veterans at Standing Rock

Washington, DC – June 23, 2015 – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced $200,000 in federal funding to support homeless veterans on the Standing Rock Sioux Indian reservation with job-driven training to help them transition from homelessness to permanent housing and good jobs.

“Our servicemembers put their lives on the line to keep our nation safe, and it’s critical that we provide them with the support and resources they earned while serving,” said Heitkamp. “Especially for Native American veterans who serve our nation at a disproportionally high rate, finding a good job and a place to call home shouldn’t be too much to ask. These funds will provide Native American veterans in Standing Rock with the tools they need to get back on their feet.”

The funds, authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor, are part of a national effort to provide an estimated 16,000 veterans with job training for in-demand jobs to transition out of homelessness. The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program is a competitive grant program that specifically focuses on employment of veterans who are homeless.

In June 2014, Heitkamp held her first Native American Veterans Summit in Bismarck to learn more about the challenges Native American veterans face and provide a space where they could ask questions and get answers about their benefits and services. The event was attended by about 140 Native American veterans and advocates, as well as key local, state and federal officials, including the U.S. Interior Secretary. In response to many concerns from veterans that they couldn’t find simple answers to questions about benefits and services, Heitkamp created a comprehensive webpage to help answer Native veterans’ questions.

Ways to save Money on a last-minute Summer trip

By Jason Alderman

If you, your partner or your family want – or need – to get out of town right now, how do you improvise a great last-minute trip without breaking the bank?

Planning is essential. Embrace travel as a hobby – look for tricks, techniques and current online resources to keep abreast of the best last-minute deals.

Compromises will be necessary. You'll likely need to travel at off-peak hours (either the first flight out in the morning or the last one at night, usually on weekdays) and stay at hotels or venues off the beaten path.

Here are some quick tips to save money on last-minute travel:

Travel light, move fast. Traveling last-minute isn't for the indecisive. Dedicated travelers are minimalists – they know what to pack, organize their paperwork and payment options and have the mental preparation to deal with problems and challenges along the way. Also realize that last-minute travel can increase risk and other costs. If you're planning a trip that requires travel insurance, ( you may not get coverage approval in time.

Build the right online resources. The Internet has revolutionized most forms of purchasing goods and services, but for travel, it has offered unprecedented speed and customization. Use top travel sites that have a tested track record and broad listings of various travel products, but be on the lookout for new travel websites and apps launch every day. Some airlines now offer their own last-minute fare sites, but try to sign up for email alerts and social media feeds from a variety of travel resources so you won't miss a deals on air, hotel or ground transportation. Also, layovers are good to build into your itinerary as long as you don't have to pay for a hotel and take a moment to compare the price of two one-way tickets – possibly from competing carriers – against round-trip tickets at single carriers. You might save.

Test new lodging options. The new generation of apartment and spare-bedroom sharing sites and longtime online vacation home rental services offer last-minute and in some cases "day-of" lodging possibilities, but keep in mind that online scammers ( have entered this territory and all transactions should be verified independently. Staying in hostels is not just for students and backpackers anymore; there are hostels that aim for older travelers as well. Getting on the phone also works in the hotel industry – check online prices against what you can find by calling up the hotel's booking number and ask if there is a lower corporate rate or special for the period of your stay.

Compare ride-share with car rental. If you think you're going to need to drive at your destination, check car-rental rates against leading ride-share companies available at the touch of a smartphone screen. Many ride-share companies allow you to get advance pricing estimates in advance. Also keep in mind what it might cost to park the rental car in your destination city – ride-share will help you avoid that expense.

Finally, evaluate every membership connection you have. Start by looking at all the plastic you have in your wallet. From your credit cards to the membership card for your main professional networking group and even to the auto club that tows your car, can you take advantage of any travel benefits you can leverage on a last-minute trip? Take some time to review those benefits – or look at them for the first time.

Bottom line: Last-minute travel is almost always possible as long as you're willing to do a little homework and improvise.


Jason Alderman directs Visa's financial education programs. To Follow Jason Alderman on Twitter:

Join Arbor Day Foundation in July

Forests across America are a prized natural resource, and anyone can help plant trees in these vital areas by joining the Arbor Day Foundation this month.

Through the Replanting Our National Forests campaign, the Arbor Day Foundation will honor each new member who joins in July by planting 10 trees in forests that have been devastated by wildfires, insects, and disease.

The cost for joining the Arbor Day Foundation is a $10 donation.

America’s national forests face enormous challenges, including unprecedented wildfires that have left a backlog of more than 1 million acres in need of replanting. The Foundation has worked with the United States Forest Service for more than 25 years to plant trees in high-need forests.

Our national forests provide habitat for wildlife, keep the air clean, and help ensure safe drinking water for more than 180 million Americans.

“Keeping our forests healthy is vital to the health of people and the entire planet,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “By planting trees in our national forests, we will preserve precious natural resources and the benefits they provide for generations to come.”

To join the Arbor Day Foundation and help plant trees in our national forests, send a $10 membership contribution to Replanting Our National Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410 or visit

Garden Corner

Submitted by Eric Hanssen

Browns Valley, Minnesota 56219

Fireblight is showing up across the state. This is probably the most common bacterial tree disease in our state and region. The disease can occur on many species of the Rose family, but most commonly occurs on apple, crabapple, hedge cotoneaster, mountainash and pear. The tell-tale symptoms of a shoot infection are rapidly wilting foliage that remains attached to the twigs, the shoot tips become blackened and often curl and small droplets of reddish brown bacteria ooze along the affected branch or shoot. Cankers, identified by their darker, sunken, flat appearance to the bark also may occur. The disease is transmitted from tree to tree through wind or rain and enters the plant through small natural openings in the leaves (stomata) or trunks (lenticels). Hail damage also provides an entryway into the plant and this is one reason we see a lot of fireblight in the hail-plagued communities in the Black Hills. Another avenue are vectors, organisms that carry the bacterial from host to host. The three most common vectors are bees and other pollinators, aphids and leafhoppers and people. Bees introduce the disease into a new host through their visits to flowers. This infection is called blossom blight and usually results in wilted flowers. Sometimes the disease stops there but it can move into the twigs and branches and become shoot blight. Aphids and other sucking insects can carry the bacteria as they move from tree to tree during the early summer as they seek out fast growing shoot tips as feeding sites. People can carry the disease on their handsaws or pruners as they trim trees and shrubs. Management of fireblight on homeowner trees has limited options. Infected branches can be pruned out to reduce the spread to other parts of the tree. The common recommendation is to remove the entire affected branch or shoot back to its origin (the trunk, limb, or branch it is directly attached to). However the disease may have spread further into the plant yet not expressed symptoms. Pruning is best applied in late winter as the disease spread usually stops once the summer heats up. Regardless of timing, pruning tools should be disinfected between cuts and at the end of the day to avoid spreading the disease. Lysol disinfectant is one of better products to use as it will sterilize the metal surface and is not corrosive. Copper containing fungicides are toxic to most bacteria and these are the only fungicides that have an effect on fireblight. Copper is applied just before bud break. When using a copper fungicide, read and follow label directions very carefully. Copper can also be toxic to plants if misapplied. The best means of managing fireblight is to plant cultivars that have resistance to the disease. There are many apple and crabapple cultivars that are resistant, such as “Haralson’ and ‘Honey Crisp’ for apples and ‘Camelot’ for crabapples.


Information in this article comes from professor John Ball, SDSU Forestry Specialist in his Pest Update publication available online at





Notice is hereby given that the School Board of Sisseton School District 54-2 will conduct a public hearing at the Sisseton High School Library in Sisseton, South Dakota on Monday, July 13, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. for the purpose of considering the foregoing Proposed Budget for the fiscal year July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, and its supporting data.

Marjorie R. Moen

Business Manager

Sisseton School District 54-2




The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Office of Construction Management herein gives notification that sealed bid proposals will be accepted for the SISSETON-WAHPETON OYATE VETERANS CEMETERY PROJECT, as outlined below and the subsequent attachments:

Bid Opening:

Deadline for receiving bids will be July 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm at the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Office of Construction Management. Bids received after this time and date will not be considered.

Preference will be given to Indian owned firms as required by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate TERO law and regulations. Bid award shall be subject to availability of funds. The SissetonWahpeton Oyate and SWO Construction Management Office reserve the right to accept or reject any/all bids.

Tax related questions can be directed towards:

SWO Tax Office Brenda Bellonger

Office: (605) 698-3541

TERO related questions can be directed towards: SWO TERO

DelRay German

Office: (605) 698-3549

If there are any other questions, please contact David Spider, SWO Construction Manager or Kile Morrison, Vice-President, GLMV Architecture at (816-444-4200, Ext. 303).

 PROJECT:       Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Veterans Cemetery

OWNER:          Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation

P.O. Box 509

12554 BIA Hwy 711

Agency Village, SD 57262


The Owner will receive General Construction Bids for a single contract with the Owner for General, Mechanical and Electrical Work. The work includes building construction, sitework, paving, preplaced grave liners and related Work to construct a new veterans cemetery.


Sealed Bids will be received at the office of Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in accordance with the "Instructions to Bidders" as follows:


Bidding Documents may be examined at the following locations:

Bona fide Bidders (General Contractors and major Subcontractors) may secure copies of the Bidding Documents from the Owner upon deposit of $150 for a single set of Documents. Deposit is fully refundable on 1 set only, providing: Depositor submits a Bid and returns Documents in good condition within 10 days after Bid Date, or depositor (on determining not to bid) returns Documents at least 5 days prior to Bid Date. If contractors require more than I set, these may be purchased (without refund) at a cost of $150 per set.

For the convenience of Suppliers and Subcontractors, a limited number of Bidding Documents will be available at the Owner's office loanable for 24 hours without deposit.


Bid Security in the amount of 5 percent of the Base Bid will be required to accompany Bid proposals and shall be made payable to Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.


All Bidders shall guarantee Bid proposal for a period of 90 days after date of receipt of Bids, No Bidder may withdraw his Bid during that period of time.


Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate reserves the right to reject any and all Bids and to waive informalities in Bidding,

Owner Architect

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation

12554 BIA Hwy 711

Agency Village, SD 57262

GLMV Architecture, Inc. 9229 Ward Parkway, Suite 210

P.O. Box 509 Kansas City, MO 64114






CASE: D-15-523-348




NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Petitioner's request for a change of name from LORIS GENE QUINN to LORIS GENE JOHNSON shall be heard before the Honorable BJ Jones, Chief Judge of Tribal Court, in the Courtroom of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Court at Agency Village, South Dakota at 3:00 P.M. on the 20th day of JULY, 2015. Dated this 25th day of June, 2015.


/s/ B.J. Jones CHIEF JUDGE








CASE NO: D-13-697-533







Take notice that a hearing will be held at the above named Court, Agency Village, outside the city of Sisseton, County of Roberts, South Dakota, on the of 8th day of JULY, 2015 at the hour of 11:30 A.M  or as soon thereafter as possible.

You are required to be at the hearing. Upon request, the Clerk will provide you with a copy of the Petition describing the matter.

Dated this 17 day of June, 2015.


/s/ DJ Jones     


ATTEST: Eileen Pfeiffer

Clerk of Courts







CASE: D-15-436-281



SAMUEL HIGHWOLF MAHPIYASNA, A Minor,                     

And concerning:

JOAN MAHPIYASNA, Petitioner.       



NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Petitioner's request for a change of name from SAMUEL HIGHWOLF MAHPIYASNA to SAMUEL SHEPHERD WILLIAMS shall be heard before the Honorable B.J. JONES, Chief Judge of Tribal Court, in  the Courtroom of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribal Court at Agency Village, South Dakota at 1:30 P.M. on the  17th day of JUNE, 2015.

Dated this 18th day of May, 2015.


/s/ B.J. Jones, CHIEF JUDGE.




Trading Post ads

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

Job Openings

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

Survey CAD Technician, GIS

Outreach Physical Activities Specialist/Lifestyle Coach, Health & Fitness Center (2 positions), (Must have driver's license)

Closing Date: July 03rd, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

Head Start Director, Head Start

Research Specialist (Full-time), Education Dept.

Research Specialist (Temp), Education Dept.

Water Quality Coordinator, OEP

Browns Field Coordinator, OEP

Closing Date: July 10th, 2015 @ 04:30 PM

Teacher (3 positions), Head Start

Teacher, Enemy Swim Head Start

Closing Date: July 17th, 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)


Sisseton Wahpeton College

CFO Position

The Sisseton Wahpeton College Board of Trustees is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Candidates must possess a master's degree in accounting with a minimum of 5 years' experience in accounting. Three years' experience in a supervisory role in a college business office is also required. Indian preference will apply. Open until filled. Visit our website: for a complete job description and details for applying, or contact the HR office at (605)698-3966, ext. 1118.


Sisseton Wahpeton College

Has the following vacancy:

Nursing Instructor, RN Sisseton Wahpeton College has an opening for a full-time and a part-time Nursing Instructor. Must possess current SD nursing license, BSN is required, Master's Degree preferred. Position is open until filled. Visit our website: for a full job description and application or contact the HR office at 605/698-3966, ext. 1118.


Sisseton Wahpeton College

Science Instructor

Sisseton Wahpeton College has a full time opening for a Science Instructor. Bachelor's degree in science is required, Masters preferred. Visit our website for a complete job description and the application process. Open until filled. Contact HR at 605-698-3966, ext. 1118.


Sisseton Wahpeton College

Student Accounts Receivable Clerk

Sisseton Wahpeton College has an opening for a full time Student Accounts Receivable Clerk. Requirements are: An A.A. Degree in Business Administration or related major with three years' of experience. Position is open until July 17, 2015. Visit our website for a complete job description and application or contact the HR office at 605-698-3966, ext. 1118.


Tiospa Zina Tribal School

Employment Opportunities

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: Bus Monitor ($13/hr) (Vacant Routes: Sisseton, Lake Traverse, Veblen, Dakota Magic/Rosholt, Enemy Swim/Waubay) Qualifications: High School Diploma/GED+; currently has/willing to obtain CPR and First Aid certification Opening Date: November 21, 2014 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Dakota Studies Teacher Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for Dakota Studies Instructor Opening Date: March 12, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

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 (Primary and 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: Elementary Teacher (Sign-on Bonus) Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status for an Elementary Teacher Opening Date: May 22, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Alternative Learning Center Teacher Qualifications: Current South Dakota Certification meeting the Highly Qualified status to teach 9-12 grades Opening Date: May 22, 2015 Closing Date: Open until filled

Vacancy: Middle School Student Services Coordinator Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma and 1 year directly related experience. Opening Date: June 12, 2015. Closing Date: June 26, 2015

Vacancy: Cook Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma and willing to obtain certification in state Child and Adult Nutrition Services. Opening Date: June 12, 2015. Closing Date: June 26, 2015

Vacancy: Special Education Paraprofessional Qualifications: GED/High School Diploma and 461+ score on the Paraprofessional Praxis or 48+ college credits, and 1 year experience working one-on-one with student with significant behavioral needs. Opening Date: June 17, 2015. Closing Date: July 1, 2015

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

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

Head Volleyball Coach

Head Golf Coach

Head Track Coach Assistant

Girls Basketball Coach

Junior High Volleyball Coach (*certifications not necessary for Junior High Volleyball Coach)

Junior High Track Coach

Assistant Track Coach

Assistant Wrestling 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

Junior Class Advisor (2)

Middle School Student Council Advisor

Military Club Advisor

Horse Club Advisor

School Improvement Plan Facilitator - School communications working group facilitator

Senior Class Advisor (3)

Technology Mentor (K-2, 3-5, and High School)

If interested please submit an application and Advisor Questionnaire to the Human Resources Department at Tiospa Zina Tribal School. Opening Date: September 11, 2014 Closing Date: Open until filledIf 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.


Community Education Coordinator

Enemy Swim Day School has an opening for a Community Education Coordinator for the 2015-2016 school year, 9-month staff calendar plus summer work days. Qualifications: Associate’s Degree preferred in Public Relations or, 2 years of experience in special events planning, grant writing, or community development; Working knowledge of computers and software programs; youth skills are a must. If interested please pick up an application from the business office or visit our website: For more information about the position call (605) 947-4605 or (888) 825-7738 and ask for Rebecca Dargatz for details. Indian preference policies apply. Open until filled.




Enemy Swim Day School has an opening for a FACE Parent Educator for the 2015-2016 school year. Parent Educator for FACE Home-Based conducts personal visits with families of prenatal to 5-year old children on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to provide research-based information on how children grow and develop and how parents can foster learning and nurture development. Hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, with some evening hours for scheduled events. Please visit our web site at for a detailed position description and application. This position includes benefits. Indian Preference policies apply. If interested please call (605) 947-4605 or (888) 825-7738 for more information, ask for Virginia. Open until filled.


Dakota Nation Development Corporation

Fuel Inc. Senior Bookkeeper


Responsible for the accounting operations of Fuel Inc. and Agency C-Store including the production of periodic financial reports, maintenance of accurate systems of accounting records, and a comprehensive set of controls designed to mitigate risk and enhance the accuracy of the companies' financial results in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Assists the General Manger with the Human Resources functions of Fuel Inc. and Agency C-Store.

Position Requirements:

Experience and proficiency with accounting software programs, inventory programs and Microsoft Office programs.

Flexible and motivated

Strong written and oral communication skills.

Ability to effectively prioritize and execute tasks in a high-pressure environment is crucial.

Technically competent with various software programs for presentation and analysis.

Must pass a background check, drug test and must be culturally sensitive. Qualifications:

Bachelor's Degree in Accounting or Finance preferred. Associate's Degree in Accounting or Finance required.

5 to 7 years direct work experience performing accounting functions in a propane company or similar business.

Please contact Dakota Nation Development Corporation for complete a Job Description. 1-605-698-3200 or


Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel

Job Openings

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

ADMINISTRATION: ASSOCIATE MANAGER (1 PART-TIME) GENERAL FUNCTION: The purpose of this position is to maintain interdepartmental communications to ensure the smooth     operation of the property and promote the highest degree of customer satisfaction. REQUIREMENTS: High school diploma or G.E.D. equivalency. Minimum of three years experience in gaming, preferably supervisory experience. Able and willing to work any and all shifts. Thorough knowledge of casino operations, policies and procedures. Excellent communication skills, both written and oral. Able to handle diverse situations. Able to stand/walk for long periods of time. Must obtain a Key Gaming License.

This position will close on July 8th, 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):

SECURITY: SECURITY OFFICER (Full-Time) ROTATING GENERAL FUNCTION: The security officer protects company assets and provides a safe environment for customers and employees. Exhibit a friendly, helpful and courteous manner when dealing with the customers and employees. Maintains security activities and performs credit transactions adhering to company, Tribal, State and Federal guidelines. Work closely with Casino & Hotel Management. REQUIREMENTS: High School Diploma or GED equivalent. Must have basic computer skills. Ongoing training through Dakota Nation Gaming Enterprise and respective security department policy and procedures. Medical aid training in CPR and First Aid. Complete departmental training program including CPR, first aid, and TAM. Must complete a 90 day probation period. Must be licensable by SWO Gaming Commission. Must be able to work irregular hours. Must be dependable, punctual, some knowledge in handheld radios, and writing reports. Law Enforcement or Security background useful. Must not have a felony on your record. Must be physically fit and able to lift 40+ lbs. Must complete all security certifications within a year of hire in accordance with the Gaming Commissions rules and regulations.

This position will be advertised until it is filled.

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):

CAGE: DEPARTMENT MANAGER (FULL-TIME) GENERAL FUNCTION: Manage, plan and coordinate the activities and operations of the cage department. Administrator of all cage regulations, policies, procedures and related internal controls. REQUIREMENTS: Must have high school diploma or GED equivalent. Minimum A.A. degree in Accounting/Business. Bachelor's degree in Accounting/Business Administration preferred. Minimum of two years previous experience. Ability to stand for long periods of time. Must obtain Key Gaming License upon hire.

This position will close on July 6, 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):

FOOD SERVICE: COOK II ( FULL- TIME) GENERAL FUNCTION: The purpose for this position is to assist the Cook I, Cook III, and shift supervisor. Safely prepare quality food products for customers and employees. Maintain interpersonal communications to ensure the smooth operation of the property and promote the highest degree of customer satisfaction. REQUIREMENTS: High school diploma or G.E.D. equivalent. One year of institutional cooking. Able to stand for long periods of time. Will be stooping, bending, standing for long periods of time, or lifting up to 50 lbs. Must be able to work night shifts and weekends. Cooking and food handling experience is required. Must able to obtain a Non-Gaming License.

This position will close on July 2nd, 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 Connection Casino

Job Openings

Position: Controller Trainee (Assistant Manager)

Summary: This is a trainee position. Will be trained in the areas of supervising and learning the overall functions of the Accounting Department. Upon successful completion of training, within two to three years, will assume the position of Controller.

Qualifications:  Applicants must have an AA/AS Degree in accounting or similar field, BA/BS preferred. Excellent people skills, supervisory skills, effective problem solving skills. 2 years of accounting supervisory experience. Previous experience with Microsoft office. Prior casino accounting G/L experience preferred. Knowledge of AS400 based accounting software, particularly in Infinium preferred. Must be able to successfully complete college courses leading to a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. Must be an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Must be able to obtain the proper Gaming License (PMO).

Salary: Determined by guidelines set in Career Path Training Program

Opening Date: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Closing Date: Wednesday, July 8, 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.