Published January 15, 2016
PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA—In a historic first, the South Dakota Legislature invited Harold C. Frazier, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman to give a “State of the Tribes” address to the 91st South Dakota legislature.
Lt. Governor Matt Michels introduced Frazier, explaining that the Legislature is here for the South Dakota “Oyate,” meaning all South Dakotans and welcomed the Indian tribes of South Dakota to the State Capitol.
Frazier explained that South Dakota is the ancestral homeland of the Seven Council Fires of Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota. Frazier said, “It is time we relearn to treat each other with the respect that is deserved, rather than with hatred and racism. Only then can we become nations working together for the health and welfare of our people. All men and women are created equal, and we have a right to Freedom and Liberty in our homeland. Our rights to self-government are inherent and inalienable—just like yours.”
Ziebach County encompasses half of the Cheyenne River Reservation, and is one of the poorest counties in America. Frazier asked the state to “be our partner in economic development. When we create jobs, it benefits the entire state. Together we can do more.”
“We need help with addressing county road funding”. The washboard roads are a consistent challenge that plague rural county and reservation drivers.
“We want to be your partner in providing health care through Medicare and Medicaid, because we have some of the worst health conditions in the country. “That is why we in Indian Country make health care a priority and so should you”
Frazier thanked the Governor and the State Legislature for reaching out the hand of friendship, and said its time to end racism because racism is taught and we can learn friendship instead.