Vote in the RST General Election

August 19, 2017

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The Rosebud Sioux Tribe will have a General Election on Thursday, August 24. Voters will elect a tribal secretary and 10 tribal council representatives. Since Wayne Boyd was the only candidate to file for tribal treasurer, he will remain in that position.

According to the Election Board, there are approximately 7,306 tribal citizens registered to vote on the Rosebud. This number does not include anyone who registered in the last 2 weeks. 2,041 (28%) of Rosebud’s registered voters cast a ballot in the Primary Election. This is the highest turnout we’ve ever had for a tribal election.

Elections are important. It’s an opportunity for you to have a say in your government. In the past, Rosebud has had a 22-26% voter turnout in tribal elections. This means less than 1/3 of people registered to vote on the reservation decide who is elected to serve in tribal government.

Many tribal citizens complain that the same people are elected to office over and over. Since the voter turnout has been historically low, it’s safe to say that the same people are voting in tribal elections. Tribal citizens have the power to change the outcome of any election when they register to vote and act by casting a ballot.

There were 5,265 registered tribal voters who didn’t vote in the July 27 Primary Election. Those voters alone have the potential to change the outcome of an election. If you are a tribal citizen who is registered but choose not to vote, please reconsider. We need your input.

Voters must consider each candidate running for tribal council. Look at what they have contributed to our society. Those of you who watch or attend tribal council meetings know who speaks for the people and who sits silent.

Here is a list of candidates on the General Election ballot:

Tribal Secretary
Martina “Teema” LaDeaux
Linda Marshall

Black Pipe
Russell Eagle Bear
William Morrison

Bull Creek
Byron Andrews
Alfred Old Lodge

Butte Creek
C. Steve Brave
Paul Joseph

Grass Mountain
Vanessa Red Hawk Thompson
Rita Means

Ideal
Gabriel Medicine Eagle
Shizue M. LaPointe

Okreek
Steven L. DeNoyer
Wayne W. Frederick

Parmelee
Eileen Shot
Brian K. Dillon

Spring Creek
Pamela J. Kills In Water
Lila Kills In Sight

Soldier Creek
Kathleen Wooden Knife
Dennis Charlie Spotted Tail

Two Strike
Richard “Smokey” Whipple
Ben Black Bear III

We elect candidates to vote on issues during tribal council meetings. When elected representatives abstain from the tribal council vote, they’ve made a choice to not represent the people who put them there.

Voters are also encouraged to examine the employment record of candidates. If a candidate wasn’t performing well at their job, they likely won’t perform as a tribal council representative either. Just because an employee has a long history of employment, it doesn’t mean they excelled at their job or saved the tribe money.

It is crucial for voters to consider the criminal records of tribal council candidates. Tribal council representatives make decisions about all our programs. This includes law enforcement, health, education, finance, etc.

It’s true that people with felony convictions may have changed their lives for the better since being released from prison or probation. Yet, there’s a reason for a criminal conviction remaining on one’s record for the rest of their lives. People with felony records are eligible to register and vote in tribal elections.

However, in terms of candidates for tribal council, it isn’t appropriate to elect people with criminal records to positions where they have decision-making authority over tribal programs.

Many tribal programs are funded through federal contracts. Currently, the federal government is represented by people whom we’ve never considered to be our friends. The federal government may seem distracted by other issues, yet they will be reviewing their relationship with tribal governments at some point.

We have to protect our interests by electing tribal citizens who can clear a criminal background investigation. There are tribal citizens who don’t vote for candidates with larceny, illegal drug or other non-violent felonies on their criminal record. We are responsible for our children and must act to protect their future. Giving decision making power over federal dollars to convicted felons could jeopardize our funding.

Sicangu Oyate Ho, Inc. (St. Francis Indian School), a chartered entity of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, will hold their school board election in conjunction with the General Election. All registered tribal voters are eligible to cast a vote to elect school board members. Please vote for candidates who will work to ensure that SFIS is accountable as a student-oriented institution.

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Tribal government belongs to all of us. St. Francis Indian School is a tribally chartered entity which receives federal funding through the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. It is an educational institution belonging to our families and children.

Other chartered entities include Tribal Land Enterprises (TLE), Sinte Gleska University (SGU), Sicangu Wicoti Awayankapi, Inc. (SWA) and the Rosebud Economic Development Corporation, Inc. (REDCO).

Article IV of the Constitution of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe addresses the Powers of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council. Section 1 lists the Enumerated Powers, including the following excerpts:

(n) To charter subordinate organizations for economic purposes and to regulate the activities of all cooperative associations of members of the Tribe. . .
(u) To delegate to subordinate boards or tribal officials, to the several communities, or to cooperative associations, which are open to all members of the Tribe any of the foregoing powers, reserving the right to review any action taken by virtue of such delegated power.

The constitution authorizes the governing body to oversee chartered organizations, communities, boards and associations. Your tribal council has the authority “to review any action taken” by the tribal entities it oversees. In addition, charters approved by the tribal council can be suspended, revoked or dissolved. The tribal council is elected to work for all of us. Tribal voters have the right to question actions they disagree with and bring issues to the tribal council.

The future of our Nation depends on our tribal voters. We have a responsibility to our children to elect tribal council and school board representatives who will work for what is in the best interest for all our people. Excessive travel, felony criminal records and absenteeism aren’t really in the peoples’ best interest.

Please vote on August 24, 2017.

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