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Friday, March 19, 2010

Daugaard on Indians: Not "Tribal Problems," But "South Dakota Problems"

Back in January, I mentioned the disturbing silence on American Indian issues coming from most of our gubernatorial and Congressional candidates. Republican candidate for governor Dennis Daugaard is working to fill that gap. His new economic recovery plan for South Dakota includes plans to help our American Indian citizens share in economic prosperity. "These are not 'tribal problems' – they are South Dakota problems," says Daugaard.

To bring business and jobs to the reservations, Daugaard says he will...
  • Create a Cabinet-level tribal "ambassador"
  • Continue promoting the SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program for minority businesses
  • Continue promoting the South Dakota Procurement and Technical Assistance Center as a middleman to help American Indian businesses access government contracts (continue... wait a minute: isn't this supposed to be a new plan?)
  • Open more financing by developing a template banks can use for reservation projects
  • Emphasize the American Indian angle in our state tourism marketing
Says Daugaard, "I am committed to opening the conversation. I hope this can lead to job creation – but I’ll do it because it’s the right thing to do." That's a good way to put it. So what do you think: are these economic development proposals a good start to that conversation?


  1. This sounds good. But the underlying problem of separate laws dealing with businesses operating on reservations is dealt with, businesses will still be skeptical of investing on reservations. And the Native Americans have to be willing to be a reliable work force for these businesses. These are two problems that doom many atttempts to bring business to the reservations. And please don't go racist on me. I'm not. I would like to see life improved for people on the reservations also. I just think that these two things need to be addressed before it can occur.

  2. Oops, "UNTIL the underlying problem of separate laws dealing ..."

    Sorry; my keyboard wasn't proofing this morning!

  3. Cory - do we have a calendar of candidate debates of any kind? It would be worth while to get questions in front of the candidates.

    I kvetch about the Episcopal Church plenty, but one positive is here in SD where diocesan convention is about 50 - 50 Euro & Native Americans (well, we have a Sudanese presence now as well, so not exactly 50-50). Also, the Diocese is forming an anti-racism group to continue building relationships and understanding.

    Although frayed, the network of Episcopal Churches across the state includes many Reservation Missions, and would have some potential to help nurture statewide initiatives.

  4. Tim, I haven't heard a debate schedule yet, though I'm sure the GOP will want numerous opportunities to get their candidates together in front of audiences before June. I'll keep my ears open (and hope you will, too!).

    Linda, I won't go racist on this one. But we do need to remember: cultural conquest is pretty devastating. Both sides have responsibilities for moving forward. I like treating everyone as Americans, unhyphenated, but we do have to craft policies that recognize the differences between economic development challenges in Madison and in Porcupine.


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