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Gosch: State-Tribal Relations Committee Needs Fewer Tribal Members

Speaker Spencer Gosch (R-23/Glenham) is so mad at Representative Shawn Bordeaux for being an uppity Indian that he’s not satisfied with removing Bordeaux as chair of the State-Tribal Relations Committee; Gosch is booting the Rosebud Sioux legislator from the committee altogether:

The decision to remove Bordeaux from the committee by Speaker of the House Spencer Gosch (R-Glenham) comes after the two argued over if Bordeaux was still the co-chair of the committee, and by extension, if he was still able to scheduled committee hearings.

…“South Dakota is a unique state in that we have multiple sovereign nations within our borders,” Gosch said in a statement. “We need to work together in moving forward with what’s right for all of South Dakota. I am confident that the new members of the State-Tribal Relations committee share that goal and will do some great things for our people.”

State Rep. Oren Lesmeister (D-Parade) will take Bordeaux’s place on the committee. He will be joined by State Reps. Steve Haugaard (R-Sioux Falls), Tony Randolph (R-Rapid City), Peri Pourier (D-Pine Ridge), and Co-Chair Tamara St. John (R-Sisseton). State Sen. Troy Heinert (D-Mission) will be the co-chair from the Senate. All five senators who previously served on the committee will stay the same.

Bordeaux becomes the only Native American legislator not serving on the State-Tribal Relations committee [Austin Goss, “State-Tribal Relations Committee Names New Members, Bordeaux Left Out,” KSFY, 2021.06.21].

The Legislature has only five* tribal members among its 105 members. Those five tribal legislators, who live and work in Indian communities and deal with the challenges of being Native in a settler colonialist state every day, know more about state-tribal relations than anyone else in Pierre. If Speaker Gosch were truly interested in “what’s right for all of South Dakota,” he’d involve every one of those tribal members on the State-Tribal Relations Committee to give voice to tribal concerns. Instead, he’s again making clear he’d rather have fewer Indians around.

*Correction 17:30 CDT: I originally miscounted! There are five, not four, tribal members serving in the Legislature.


  1. John 2021-06-22 09:06

    Speaker Gosch appears as a living embodiment of systemic racism.

  2. Mark Anderson 2021-06-22 11:32

    Its an agricultural thing, he’s looking for a granny smith.

  3. Porter Lansing 2021-06-22 11:55

    Why are there non-Indians on the Tribal Relations Committee?

    Search “How many whites are in the Congressional Black Caucus”.

    Let me do it for you:

    -All past and present members of the caucus have been African-American. In 2006, while running for Congress in a Tennessee district which is 60% black, Steve Cohen, who is Jewish, pledged to apply for membership in order to represent his constituents. However, after his election, his application was refused.
    -Although the bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, former and current members of the caucus agreed that the group should remain “exclusively black”.
    -In response to the decision, Cohen referred to his campaign promise as “a social faux pas” because “It’s their caucus and they do things their way. You don’t force your way in. You need to be invited.

  4. Edwin Arndt 2021-06-22 16:56

    I thought we were trying get rid of racism in this country.
    Now it seems that race is being injected into every facet and nook and cranny of life.
    I do not understand.

  5. Mark Anderson 2021-06-22 17:19

    Oh come on Edwin, just open your eyes and look whos doing the injecting.

  6. Edwin Arndt 2021-06-22 17:59

    The entire progressive (?) movement is doing it, or so it seems
    to me. Maybe I’m blind, but I doubt it.

  7. mike from iowa 2021-06-22 18:05

    Edwin is right. Magats don’t attempt to create any legislation without first seeing how many POC they can disenfranchise from voting, kick off welfare rolls and/or blame for all social ills past and present.

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-06-22 18:17

    Edwin .. With all respect, that’s one of most telling things you’ve ever said.

    That you don’t realize the implications of your statement exposes you even more.

    i.e. To eliminate racism it’s vital to raise awareness of it to people like you who “claim” to not know it when you see it.

    We liberals intend to inject the recognition of racism into every nook and cranny where people who think like you hide your bigotry.

    If it makes you uncomfortable that means we’re doing our duty to protect the unprotected and expose the hidden racists among us.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2021-06-22 18:48

    Well..I think skin color is the craziest and most wicked criteria on which to discriminate. It could be hair color or religion (Hitler tried it), national origin (Turks and Armenians), tribalism (Serbs and Croations), or language (Hutus and Tutsis), or athiests vs. religious (Communist Russians vs. Ukrainians), or an assumed cultural superiority (the Mandarin Chinese vs. everyone else in the world). I can only say, that the Levant of biblical times was multi-racial and the Nazarene does not mention the color of anyone’s skin he meets on his journey. America is the hope of the world because we are multi racial and tolerant.To destroy that tolerance is to defeat democracy.

  10. Mark Winegar 2021-06-22 19:20

    I hope Rep. Bourdeaux in high esteem. This ought not to have happened.

  11. Mark Winegar 2021-06-22 19:23

    My previous message should have read “I hold Rep. in Bourdeaux is high esteem”. The lesson learned not to trust your grammar software.

  12. Porter Lansing 2021-06-22 19:58

    When a white, male legislator gets sideways with the majority the majority takes away his committee positions and censors him. That makes the accused weak at his job and he’s undoubtedly not reelected.

    When a white, male legislature treats an Indian like that, it makes them stronger and more revered by their constituents.

    Stupid, hay wagon, rabbit chokers.

  13. Edwin Arndt 2021-06-22 20:09

    Porter, I stand by what I said. If your argument makes you feel better,
    good for you. I disagree.
    One more thing, Porter, I’m not sure if you called me a bigot, or if
    you called people who think like I do bigots. Bigot is a strong word,
    think very carefully before you use it.

    Good evening.

  14. Porter Lansing 2021-06-22 21:32

    Edwin: Of course you stubbornly stand by your statements. If you don’t think about what you’re saying, then you have no reason to care what it means.

    I’m not around you enough to know what you are but I sure as hell know what you say and how it makes you look.

    Bigot isn’t that strong a word, except to someone trying to hide their actions from criticism.

  15. Dana Hanna 2021-06-23 11:04

    Can someone please inform me as to what exactly Shawn Bordeaux did or said that made the Republicans feel so threatened they had to remove him from the committee? I just seem to recall from the news coverage that he called another Indian person an “apple.” That term just means someone who is a member of a tribe who thinks like a white man. Not a nice thing to say, but who said we have to be nice when talking about a subject so ugly as systemic white racism in government? In a state where our Governor wants to use the State’s power to prevent school children from learning about how white people in government have not always been “nice” to people who do not look like, talk like , or think like them, I have to ask when did white politicos in state government get so sensitive? Do only the “nice” Indians in the legislature have a right to be heard?


  16. Jake 2021-06-23 12:10

    An ‘Uppity Indian’ in south Dakota is always pushed ‘out of the way’. Russell Means would be a good example, but he never was dangerously close to power as Bordeaux was in the legislature!.. More power to him, and to those like him and those who saw what happened to him at the hands of the white SD GOP power.

    Edwin, wouldn’t you admit that this issue was a result of Gosch’s abuse of power?
    do you agree with Gosch’s handling of the deal or not?

  17. leslie 2021-06-23 12:39

    Bordeaux may not have been the one who said apple. I think he posted a written response.

  18. Lottie 2021-06-29 00:14

    Growing up on the rez, i understood “apple” meant “indian trying to act like a white guy, being deceptive and having a holier than thou attitude”…Yeah its tough living in a world of apples. Life could be a whole lot worse. My best to Mr. Bordeaux.

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