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2018-06-07 / Voices

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

It’s our future so let’s do something with it

Dear Editor:

Some members of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council and volunteer staff members have been working on the Tribal Constitutional Reform for the past several weeks and holding meeting in the districts to try to bring about more interest from the public. Some people have been interested enough to attend some of the meetings and completed the surveys developed to answer questions regarding the Tribal Government.

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Government represents all the Lakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and beyond. We need to elect the best qualified candidate to these positions who have the education, the experience and the interest in helping the Lakota people. A lot of our people cannot work because of lack of jobs or due to substance abuse so help in other forms are also necessary. So rather than spending more than $1.0 million dollars each year on travel that does not produce positive results we must redirect our tribal budget locally to helping our people and our reservation.

Listening to the report provided to the people on KILl Radio leads me to believe that there is a lot of interest amongst the tribal members to bring about changes in our tribal council. The major change endorsed by the people appears to be ‘a real Separation of Powers’ in the Tribal Constitution. This was passed by the general public several years ago but never implemented thoroughly with the Tribal Council reluctant to give up any of its powers. A Balance of Powers is what people appear to be looking for with the Tribal President’s Office having oversight over the tribal council. The tribal council having oversight on the Tribal President’s Office and the Tribal Supreme Court having oversight and legal powers over the Tribal Government. In this manner all the problems being mentioned in the newspapers can be challenged in the Tribal Court by the people.

As mentioned before the Oglala Sioux Tribe does not have very much money of their own and question the large representation in the tribal council. Reducing the Tribal Council to just one member per district so the ‘best qualified candidate’ may be elected to the council during the elections. Providing more power to the ‘district chairperson’ who will be allowed to work with the tribal representative will also result in the best candidate being elected to that office. Having a thorough ‘full field background investigation’ is also necessary to allow for the best qualified candidate to be elected. The most important job on this reservation is the Tribal Government and we must elect people who respect themselves and do the job to which elected. Let’s not follow the Federal Government in making a mockery of ourselves and our government.

We already lost a lot of land to Bennett County so let’s not do the same for Lakota County. We can make use of our land and help our people build a better Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Improvements in our Education and getting more students to attend the schools is important for our future. As mentioned before we have college centers in each district and a main college center located in Kyle so our Tribal Representatives can and must work with these schools for better development. Determine what plans for development is being approved so the college can start working on setting up the education and training necessary for those positions proposed. Our college students need to know what jobs will become available so they in turn can start their education and training while the development is progressing. It can be done by the leaders talking to each other and making plans.

We already know we need to build more homes in each district for our people and that will create some jobs. We know more homes will need major repairs and rehabilitation and that will create some jobs. We need Fire Departments in the nine major districts to serve the communities in those districts so more jobs will be created for the able bodied. We need some motor vehicle maintenance businesses in the big communities with certified mechanics for all the vehicles on this reservation and that will create some jobs and keep the money local. We need an Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center centered on the reservation to help those people who have a serious addiction problem and portions of that need has already started so we just need to build on that progress. Farming and Ranching is always a need so that is possible as well. Our Tribal Law Enforcement Services is always short of qualified staff and the training is lengthy so our police leaders need to speak with the high school students early on to let them know what law enforcement is all about. Our Tribal Court system needs to be updated constantly to keep up with the legal changes and ensure our Tribal Constitutional requires are being met. We just need to get the Tribal Government people motivated by electing qualified members and keep that Motivation going. It’s our future so let’s do something with it.

Sincerely,
Everett
Little
Whiteman

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