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Four Directions to Legislators: Refusing to Seat Foster and Pourier = Stealing Votes

Indigenous voting rights group Four Directions did solid work fighting voter suppression and getting out the Native America vote on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota and the Navajo Nation during the 2018 election. Now the Mission-based organization is speaking up about the flimsy white-wing plot to steal the Legislative election in District 27, where voters elected Lakota women Red Dawn Foster to the Senate and Peri Pourier to the House. Legislators received the following letter by e-mail yesterday from Four Directions leaders OJ and Barb Semans:

OJ and Barb Semans, Four Directions, letter to SD legislators, 2019.01.03, p. 1.
OJ and Barb Semans, Four Directions, letter to SD legislators, 2019.01.03, p. 1.
OJ and Barb Semans, Four Directions, letter to SD legislators, 2019.01.03, p. 2.
OJ and Barb Semans, Four Directions, letter to SD legislators, 2019.01.03, p. 2.

Four Directions has fought the State of South Dakota on voter suppression in the past, but we have found ways to work together to create equality at the ballot box. We are proud to have worked on the Help America Vote Act Task Force with the South Dakota Board of Elections and the Secretary of State to open satellite voting stations with HAVA funds. Together we have removed barriers to Native voting and increased voter participation on reservations across South Dakota.

The individuals behind “Native Integrity” couldn’t stop our work with the State of South Dakota in providing equality, so now they are attempting to steal the vote and the voice of the people in District 27, by asking you not to seat two Native American Indian women whom the voters chose to represent them.

…Foster and Pourier are qualified to take office. Their most important qualifications are the thousands of vqtes they received on November 6, from Native and non- Native South Dakotans alike.

Four Directions stands behind the voters of District 27 and will provide any and all assistance needed to Foster and Pourier to ensure they are seated on January 8th, 2019 [OJ and Barb Semans, Four Directions, letter to South Dakota legislators, 2019.01.03].

Four Directions has won numerous battles with South Dakota to protect American Indian voting rights. Now they are ready to defend the vote of everyone, Native and non-Native alike, to see their qualified and legally elected representatives take their seats and do the people’s work in Pierre.


  1. Rorschach 2019-01-04 06:59

    I don’t think that the senate and the house will fall for this election stealing ruse by Sen. Nelson’s small wing of the GOP party.

  2. LYNNE ELWOOD 2019-01-04 09:21

    Is the document submitted Native Integrity public? My grandfather and my uncle both represented District 27 in the late 60’s through the 90’s. Not continuous but during that time. I grew up in District 27. This makes my heart heavy and it is very wrong.

  3. Britt Long 2019-01-04 09:59

    Please note that one of those white men (Judd Schomp) providing an affidavit alleging personal knowledge that Ms. Pourier was not a resident of the District was a Bennett County resident (now Commissioner) during the period that tax felon and non-resident Ken Orrock defrauded the county holding himself out as Bennett County State’s Attorney though he did not meet the statutory residency requirement. The Governor, the Attorney General, the County Commissioner, South Dakota’s Attorney Ethics Board, the County Commission, and the readership of the Bennett County Booster, to name just a few, were all personally aware that Orrock had failed to meet the statutory residency requirement. Total Disclosure: I ran against Orrock and lost to the candidate that beat him in the primary. Schomp was my near neighbor. He raised a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag following Trump’s election while his wife collected a salary from the Martin schools. My own candidacy and law practice were destroyed by a falsely obtained Temporary Order of Protection that Mr. Orrock appears to have had a hand in drafting, brought by since-fired Chief OST Judge Craven just prior to the beating death of a toddler resulting from court action improperly returning him to the parent who killed him. Craven was represented in that evidence-free effort by Orrock’s also unqualified “conflict attorney” James Sword, also Oglala Lakota County Attorney (District 27). The ex parte petition was granted by the Judge who swore Orrock in without verifying his credentials, Kathleen Trandahl (ret). That ex parte order resulting barred me from campaigning or working. Orrock still appears to run Black Hills Patrol through the person of his wife, a Rapid City Regional nurse, and Sword is still operating in Oglala Lakota County, in part apparently by suing the Tribe on behalf of former OST judge Craven, upset that she lost her job just because her supervision resulted in a horrific beating death. I believe I was one of those she blamed for her actions in that effort as well. Rancher Schomp may have obtained the complaint/affidavit from Sword/Orrock or from Olson. As it appears impossible that Mr. Schomp could have the personal knowledge he claims to have regarding Ms. Pourier, he also may have engaged in false swearing, again following the Orrock/Sword playbook. With an all-Trumplican administration, there will likely be no state-level accountability for any of them.

  4. Julie TE 2019-01-04 10:13

    Thanks for registering voters was it to encourage a voice or only to vote for certain people? Your advocacy seems skewed on that. If candidates lied on residency they shouldn’t be seated. Calling white wing and blaming race is pretty low. I don’t care who called a lie a lie, it doesn’t change facts. Do you think if voters were told the ‘truth’ the outcome would be the same? I admire the want to make change but when the premise is to start on and with a lie….what can we expect? I hope they step down.

  5. Ryan 2019-01-04 13:21

    This should have nothing to do with race. If elected folks complied with the rules, seat them. If there was an incurable violation of some rule, so be it. I don’t know the facts of the situation, so I won’t guess. It would not surprise me one bit if the “challengers” are just racist idiots, but if the elected folks did something wrong, they should be held accountable.

  6. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-01-05 14:34

    I agree, Ryan, but no such factual evidence has been presented. The accusers are crying really hard about a tiny pile of evidence that doesn’t add up to a legitimate legal case. And they’ve brought upon themselves the bad optics of bringing this flimsy case against two Lakota women.

    The entry of Lakota woman Margaret Ross into the controversy does complicate the racial dimension.

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