Rep. Bordeaux Educates Legislature on Tribal Issues; More Indian Interns?

Rep. Shawn Bordeaux (D-26A/Mission) says his ride in the Legislative rodeo gave him a chance educate his fellow lawmakers about tribal issues:

Joint Appropriations chairman Rep. Justin Cronin (R-23/Gettysburg) acknowledged Rep. Bordeaux’s work on that budget-writing committee in helping the appropriators develop an awareness that there are “two peoples” in South Dakota. (Perhaps sensing they need more awareness, Rep. Bordeaux then voted against the budget.)

Rep. Bordeaux said he sees many opportunities for tribal members and tribal governments to work with Pierre to improve services and economic opportunities in Indian Country. He brought three unsuccessful bills on funding for tribal colleges and tax compacts this session; expect more legislation from Rep. Bordeaux on related fronts next session.

Interns for the 2015 South Dakota Legislature receive congratulations from SD Senate at end of session, 2015.03.13.
Interns for the 2015 South Dakota Legislature receive congratulations from SD Senate at end of session, 2015.03.13.

After my conversation with Rep. Bordeaux, the Senate honored the 2015 Legislature’s interns for their service to the state. Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, presiding over the Senate, lauded the “diversity” of this year’s intern corps. Now apologize for judging books by covers, but I’m not sure I noticed any Indian kids among the interns present last night. I check the list of intern coordinators and find officials from public and private campuses across the state but none from Sinte Gleska, Oglala Lakota, Sitting Bull, or Sisseton Wahpeton colleges.

Hmmm… perhaps connecting with our tribal colleges to recruit more Indian youth to our Legislative intern corps would be one more positive step in Rep. Bordeaux’s effort to educate our legislators to South Dakota’s fullest diversity?

17 Responses to Rep. Bordeaux Educates Legislature on Tribal Issues; More Indian Interns?

  1. Deb Geelsdottir

    American Indian interns sounds like a great idea! Did you mention that to Rep. Bordeaux? (I couldn’t get sound from the video.)

  2. Sorry, Deb—I didn’t think about Indian interns until after I got home. I don’t know if there were any Indians among the interns and pages during the session; there does not appear to be a roster online. But I will e-mail Rep. Bordeaux and see what he knows.

  3. If there is a roster I caution you about judging the ethnicity of these children by their names. My friend Duggan Bad Warrior is as white as my friend
    Mr. Kurtz and my friend Shuba Rummerman is nearly a full blooded Minneconjou. I’m just sayin

  4. Jake Cummings

    Kudos on mentioning the American Indian intern situation, Cory. I think it would be paramount that we structure such an approach in a manner that it has maximum benefit for minority students and considers possible discrimination they may experience. One of my initial concerns would be finding them culturally-competent mentors in the legislature who are committed to making the experience intellectually stimulating and rewarding. Rep. Bordeaux seems like he would be a great mentor, and I am sure we could find more. I just would not want those interns to suffer under tokenism.

  5. Bill Dithmer

    “two peoples” really Cory?

    That isnt part of the solution, it is the problem. Until we can get passed the idea that the human race is not an exclusive club of some kind, discrimination will always be a shadow on this country.

    It doesnt make a damn bit of difference if its the nation, the state, a county, a city, or a tribe. When someone brings legislation that deals with the uniqueness of any group of people, and it doesnt matter who they are, it further erodes the equality that was supposedly guaranteed at the birth of the country.

    There is no real way to legislate equality. No matter what any of us think there will always be people that hate for one reason or another. Thats just the facts of life.

    We can however legislate inclusion, guaranteeing, to some extent equality. The problem is, that somewhere along the line people started bluring the reasons that these two things are different, and well, we are what we are.

    Through the advent of DNA testing we know that there are very few people today that come from one race. We, are a nation of curs, mutts, and F1 crosses. Even the grand wisard of the KKK has some DNA in his blood that he would hate himself for, if he knew.

    The new norm of dressing a bill in the cloak of equally while eroding a persons rights is where we are now. Think SD and their war on women, or the war against gays, or in reality the war not against but “WITH” other religions that dont conform to the values steeped in the crock pot of Christianity.

    Our country wont survive if we keep legislating for or against race, ethnicity, sex sexual preferences, or handicaps. As long as we allow that to continue we are handing more and more power to the “one percenters.”

    Remember exclusion goes both ways. The tribes are no less guilty then any of the other governments that I mentioned. As far as I know, the native americans are the only race of people that are directly seeking legislation that helpes only their race.

    I propose we pass a constitutional amendment that states “Every person is entitled to the same rights and freedom. Anyone that through actions or deeds that interferes with those rights are in violation of the Constitution.” This would superseded all other law.

    Of course there would be people kicking and screaming about loosing privileges that they assumed were rights but its the only way to get anywhere near true equallity.

    All people are not created equal. There are in fact fat ones, skinny ones, every color in the rainbow ones, and sexual preferences that go all over the board.

    There is however one thing that makes us all equal. When a person is born, we all, in that one second in time are experiencing the exact same thing. Black babies are born the same way as a white baby, the same as a native baby, an asian baby, or in most of our cases a mutt. There is no exclusive club, we are all human.

    ” Rep. Bordeaux said he sees many opportunities for tribal members and tribal governments to work with Pierre to improve services and economic opportunities in Indian Country.”

    While I applaud Rep Bordeaux and his willingness to serve, I cant help feeling that he is just saying the words. How about offering him a guest column when legislature is over so we can see what those oppertunitys really are. I cant stand generalities from a politician. I want them to say what they mean. This would give him a platform to talk from. It would also elevate him above those other politicians that continue to generalize without substance.

    I’ve gone on long enough for a Sunday morning and I’m leaving you with this. Are you a progressive, or are you really just useing the word? Do you believe in equality, or are you only interested in the perception of equality? Do you truly believe that every person is born equally, or do you actually think that some should have more rights and prtections under the fog of law then others? I have seen many people that say they are progressive that are just useing the term for personal gain. You dont have to be told, you know who you are.

    The Blindman

  6. Bill D, “two peoples” was Rep. Cronin’s wording. That wording is not a problem if we are using it descriptively: we definitely have two peoples, those who are represented in Pierre and those who aren’t. The “are” is a much smaller class than “all European invaders,” and the “aren’t” is a much larger class than “Indians.” (Remember, on issues like Keystone XL, we are all Indians before the corporatist colonizers.) “Two peoples” becomes problematic if we use it normatively—i.e., if we make being two (or 3, 4, 5) separate peoples our overarching goal.

    I am not a total assimilationist. I want Indians, Somali refugees, Norwegians, and Frank Kloucek’s Czech neighbors to be able to maintain their cultural identity. However, since we all live together in South Dakota, we must balance friendly multiculturalism with practical uniculturalism. At the state level, we need policymakers and policies that recognize that mituyake oyasin—we are all related—and we thus need equal protection under and participation in state government.

    We don’t have that equality right now. “Two peoples” describes that inequality. To tear down that inequality, we may have to do things with one people that we don’t do with the other, like doing extra outreach and offering extra support to encourage Indian kids to come intern and page in Pierre. We do those things in the recognition that we are “two peoples,” but with the intention of helping us move toward becoming one people, all with equal opportunities.

    I want to make progress toward that equality. Does that make me progressive?

  7. larry kurtz

    My embarrassment of my home state never ceases. The ‘two peoples’ are clearly evident in the comments below this RCJ piece:

  8. No kidding Larry. The comments are revealing and tell us all what most see in the mirror each day. There are peoples here in South Dakota, and if it ain’t us in the mirror, they are subject to hate and ridicule. I hope that LNI has the vision to move to different venues in the Black Hills and maybe even Sioux Falls as well. Bus companies are leased to transport children and fans alike from all over the place, why not move it to different areas and utilize that form of transportation? In Sioux Falls, there is public transportation or shuttle buses could be used. As the commenters noted, they will not be missed, lets just see.

  9. Justin Cronin appears to be a GOP rep. w/ incite.

    dithmer-appreciate your sunday morning editorial, it complements the NYT spread across the bed.

    however, as a non-indian, all tribes in SD have left as hard assets are their SUBSTANTIAL land holdings. together with a beautiful, complex organic culture (something more or less absent in the white SD community), their internal governments MUST rigorously defend these assets ( their governments are flawed as they may be after 150 or more years of genocide (non-indians who do not accept that reality prove “white privilege” and live an illusion of [que inspirational music] “our beautiful black hills” – ahhhh).

    every square foot of the treaty lands taken is a personal loss to each of the 80,000+ “other peoples'” grand mothers and grand fathers who were here 1st. we tresspassed on their land by force based on religious hokey pokey backed up by our supreme court.

    definitely still “two peoples”


  10. Roger Cornelius

    larry and jerry,

    If the comments made on the Journal website, including Stan Adelstein, are indicative of Rapid City residents, they have provided the evidence of racism in this city and reason why LNI should be moved to Sioux Falls.
    It pained me to read those comments the point of my making only one comment, every time there is an issue with Indians there are the same stereotypical and deceitful comments. Just think, that is what my neighbors think of me, my family, and tribal members.

  11. larry kurtz

    Roger, it’s rare for me to read comments at the RCJ for all the reasons you describe. Stan Adelstein is a just another scary rich guy with the bloody history of seized tribal lands on his hands.

  12. Roger Cornelius

    Bill’s comments were an interesting ideological read for Sunday, but far from reality.
    When the great white fathers inked their names to the Constitution they did not mean “all men are created equal”, they meant “all white men are created”, and thus set in motion a civil rights and women’s right that has been fought and is being fought to this day.
    I was listening to Rep. Elijah Cumming (D-Ga) today talking about Selma, he talked about how the most sacred right we have is the right to vote and than declared the embarrassment of many minorities still fighting for that right in 50 year later in the year 2015.
    If it takes legislation for groups that are denied any right guaranteed them, there should be legislation compelling our state and federal government to comply.
    What so many people fail to recognize and understand is that your government and my government have a unique relationship that no other group of Americans have. Remember that treaties were encouraged and signed by the USA and upheld in federal courts year after year.
    The reality is that there are “two peoples” and will likely be for sometime. The differences are many in our cultural and value systems, there must be some merit and good in tribal life, we have endured great hardship all of our lives and we are still here, defeated as a nation, but alive as people.

  13. mike from iowa

    There are two peoples-Us and Them. We as US are inclusive, They as Them are not. Wish Bill D hadn’t mentioned birth because now the 1% will have designer C-sections with gilt blade,gold chainsaws for that exclusive birth we all want.

  14. mike from iowa

    and to think back in the 60s and 70s all you needed to set you apart from the crowd was a fancy brand of cancer sticks.

  15. 42 rcj comments-“RATCHETS UP” starts off the pathetic parade of city readers who most assuredly “love our black hills”.

    There are literally no thinking people in writing the article, or commenting including grey-leader adelstein, except roger and a few high minded citizens. those of us who understand are not intimidated by LNI leverage.

    stan-your mom would not be proud at the shots you took at Brewer. you have been intimately involved in rapid city politics for decades yet you have not solved the problem. .you try to embarrass brewer for the sake of the children?? he was a tribal president. he has a lifetime of experience. maybe not the gifted education and connections of you and your sons. make a difference, stan! join kookier and work it with brewer and all the tribes (and quit bitching about a $700,000 study; or compare it to your GOP’s waste of $700,000,000 for EB5). make sure occonnell is used as a teaching moment for the entire state regardless of the outcome.

    this is not racism against white people!

    this is leverage against:

    35 or more following comments of tripe:

    “Toys; why live in RC? not trusted; move along; trust numerous investigations; shot and incarcerated; bad checks; Means and Poor Bear; look inward; go away, SF has more jail space; good riddance; too bombastic-be more moderate; hand-outs; Brewer is a child; profit from a non-profit; just go away; annual crime-spike; poor-quality product; deal w/it; prevent them from taking alcohol back to the rez; toward white people; painted all of RC; call out; regular insults; our great city; where the real problems exist; “don’t break the law”; stabbed; hockey event not corroborated; blaming RC for a cultural problem; negative attitudes toward non-indians; political stunt; so-called leadership; RC did not cause; prison time; look inward;……………. and our great great grandfathers may have promised something [maybe in treaties?] but I sure didn’t.”

    Did you know IRS will collect debts of your dead parents from YOU?!

    any of you commenters live on the 1200 acres of RC west side that was indian land in the 30s?

    call me for coffee, commenters. my treat. 786-8587

  16. Curious, Roger: is Sioux Falls really less racist than Rapid City? If so, how might that difference have come about? Is Rep. Bordeaux more likely to find co-sponsors for pro-tribal legislation among the Republicans legislators from Sioux Falls than among the Republican legislators from Rapid City?

  17. Roger Cornelius

    I don’t know that Sioux Falls is less racist than Rapid City, but living here I can attest to the racism that does exist.
    Sioux Falls is a part of South Dakota and as you know, is nationally regarded as one of the most racist states in the country. I suppose it doesn’t make where LNI is held or where Indians live, they will encounter racism.
    I’ve been advocating moving LNI out of Rapid City for only one reason and that is in response to recent acts of racism.
    Tribes and the LNI board have the economic weapon on their side, they need to use it.
    In terms of finding Republican co-sponsors for any of Rep. Bordeaux’s pro-tribal legislation, that is probably a toss up. I don’t see this state government offering anything pro-tribal or any goodwill legislation at all.