Exercise your Right to Vote

Vi Waln

July 22, 2018

July 26 is the date set for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Primary Election. Voters will narrow down the list of candidates in preparation for the August 23 Primary Election. If you are registered to vote with the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I encourage you to go to the polls to vote for the candidate of your choice.

There are many people who will tell you that you have a responsibility to vote in all elections. I am a voter whom visits the polls in all elections. It doesn’t matter if they are tribal, state or federal elections as I vote in all of them. Call me colonized or assimilated or whatever, I just want to be a part of who gets to be in control of our government or schools or community.

Several of my people asked me to run for office but I declined. I remember talking to a friend some time ago and I asked him why he didn’t run for tribal council. He told me he couldn’t take care of all the people and so he didn’t believe he should run for office because someone would inevitably get left out. I never forgot his words.

Today, people elected to office are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. This is inevitably due to the fact that we live in one of the top poorest counties in America. Unemployed people need financial help.

One former tribal council member told me how she bought give away items for a memorial a family was sponsoring. We all know we have a whole year to get ready for a memorial; yet poverty is a huge factor as it takes a lot of money to get ready for the remembrance ceremony.

Also, people regularly engage in lateral violence here on the reservation. When you turn down a potential voter who asks for financial help, there’s always the risk of that voter badmouthing you to everyone they encounter.

This also happens when a governing body votes on something which affects the entire tribe. Someone will always have a negative word to shout out about you. Politicians can’t win no matter what they do.

People who are elected to tribal council are badmouthed by many people of all ages. This is because we elect them for three years and we expect them to solve all the Tribe’s problems. There is no way to solve issues in such a short time. Still, it’s all their fault when things do or don’t happen. It’s not fair to badmouth the elected officials or program directors when a request is turned down. Changing anything generally takes several years; tribal council representatives only get three years.

Yet, there are many issues we see that can be changed. For example, tribal council members tend to bully one another. They also bully tribal employees and people in general. There’s no honor in being a loud mouth bully.

There’s also a lot of micromanaging happening within our tribal government. Tribal council members also believe they’re more entitled to services our programs offer. There’s a ton of unfairness happening in our tribal programs.

Travel is another issue we’ve heard a lot about. Some tribal council members travel extensively. Travel takes a lot of money. But, for the amount of travel money the tribe has paid to elected officials, tribal citizens haven’t seen much meaningful change come from it. Many people on the Rosebud would like to see how their money is spent; a detailed travel report printed online, or in a newspaper, would definitely have us questioning if all those trips were for the benefit of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

Please elect new officials on July 26.

2018 RST Election I

 

 

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