Native Sun News Today Editorial: Native voters can make change at the ballot boxes on November 8

If we don't vote we'll be on the bottom of a two story out house!

If you want change – VOTE
How many of the Lakota Oyate realizes the significance of this election, locally and nationally?
By Native Sun News Today Editorial Board

For too many years we Native Americans did not exercise our right to vote for several reasons. First of all we were the last of all Americans to be given the Constitutional right to vote. African Americans and women were given that right before us.

Second States like South Dakota did not push Indian voting rights equally. Gerrymandering was so prevalent that even in counties like the old Shannon County although with an Indian population of more than 90 percent could not elect an Indian to the State House or the Senate. It took a senate candidate from Pine Ridge named Tom Short Bull to challenge this blatant gerrymandering and get the reservation voting counties opened in a fair and equal manner.

Now all of that is behind us. We have stepped up because we realize the importance of electing official to office that have our best interests at heart. So many laws were passed over the years in Washington and Pierre that had adverse effects upon the Indian people and since we did not fully participate in the electoral process, we allowed these laws to be passed without our input.

Let’s look at this election of 2016. The Republican candidate Donald Trump is an investor in the DAPL in North Dakota. He has also fought strongly against the Indian owned casinos in the Eastern United States. If elected you can bet that many of the things we have fought long and hard to attain will be pushed aside to save money. Money will take precedence of lives.

The Republicans have held such a fear of a woman, Hillary Clinton, winning the office of the president that they have been attempting to diminish her and destroy her for more than two years. She is a strong supporter of Indian rights and especially improving the Indian Healthcare system. The difference between the two candidates is the difference between going backwards and moving forward for Native Americans.

We also have a race for the senate seat of Republican Senator John Thune and House of Representatives candidate Kristi Noem. South Dakota is a deeply red state. Unseated an incumbent is nearly impossible. But we proved our vote was powerful when it was the Indian vote that moved Tim Johnson ahead of John Thune a few elections ago. It was a squeaker, but it was the final votes from the Pine Ridge Reservation that decided that senate seat then.

Locally we are not going to endorse any candidate. The Primary Election results have been challenged and we may not know the results of that challenge before we go to press. We only ask that the long suffering residents of Pine Ridge really study the candidates not only for the office of president and vice president, but also for all of the tribal council seats no on the line. We can only move forward with good, intelligent and honest leadership and we have been sorely lacking in that department for much too long. Alleged corruption on the reservation must be addressed. Where there is smoke there is fire and we have been reporting on the smoke over the past 4 weeks and have drawn the fire of the present administration and some of the residents mentioned in the articles.

We offer our pages to anyone who disagrees with our news stories to respond to them and prove the accusers of corruption on the reservation to be wrong. Don’t kill the messenger. We only report on what we have been told, but we never publish anything controversial without written records to substantiate the accusations. If you respond bring us the documents refuting our reporting.

And never forget that what happens to you after the elections will be determined by those you vote into office. Your future, and the future of your children, is in their hands.

For more news and opinion visit the Native Sun News Today website: If you want change – VOTE

(Contact the Editorial Board at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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