Native Sun News Today: Rosebud Sioux group celebrates win

Participants in a September 17, 2016, Cherry-Todd Electric Cooperative annual meeting pile ballots during election at Ben Reifel Auditorium in Mission, South Dakota. Photo courtesy Brooke Beauvais

Sicangu Oyate celebrate win on Electric Company board
‘We did it, we did it.’
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

MISSION –– Participants in the grassroots Oyate For Fairness & Equal Representation (OFFER) were whooping it up after they helped two Rosebud Sioux tribal enrollees win director positions in an election Sept. 17, for the governing board of the power company that supplies the Sicangu Nation with its electricity.

“We’re tremendously happy,” said OFFER coordinator and Rosebud Public Utilities Commission President Ronald Neiss. “What couldn’t be done for years was done.”

Tribal enrollees comprise an estimated 80 percent of membership of the power company, Cherry-Todd Electric Cooperative, Inc., and only three tribal citizens have been elected to the 8-member board in the nearly 70-year history of the business.

In this election, enrollee Shawn Bordeaux won a seat to represent Todd County and Kathleen Wooden Knife won the director at-large position. Their terms are for three years.

Neiss described triumphant tribal members at a coop barbecue following the vote, displaying signs of strength by raising their hands in the air, screaming and hollering.

“It’s just the way around here. The joy was infectious. We did it, we did it, and it’s in our nature to akeesha,” he said.

With support from the Rosebud Sioux tribal government, OFFER held empowerment gatherings before the previous Todd County coop directors’ election in 2013 and this year, offering meals, door prizes and transportation to mobilize voters for tribal candidates it encouraged to run.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Sicangu Oyate celebrate win on Electric Company board

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