Native veterans in South Dakota. Photo: Rep. Kristi Noem
Opinion | Politics

Native Sun News Today Editorial: Will Republicans stand up for Indian Country?

You read “Russiagate” here first

By Native Sun News Today Editorial Board

We have three official elected to national offices who are Republicans and that follows the trend South Dakota has followed in the past several years.

Prior to that most South Dakotans voted for the person and not the Party and that is why we had Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) representing us in the Congress for so many years before the Tea Party organized the Republicans with propaganda and money to help defeat these Democrats.

The three Republicans now in office, John Thune, the number three man in the Senate, Mike Rounds, a freshman senator, and Kristi Noem, who is now running for governor of the state, have all walked lock- step with the Party instead of the People.

One needs only to study the political contributions given to these three Republicans to see which way they will vote when it comes to a variety of issues that affect every day South Dakotans, issues like the cost of drugs, healthcare and insurance that impact all of us are issues that have a powerful lobby in Washington and make no bones about spreading the money around to the candidates. All of them have been recipients of funds from organizations hoping to kill Obamacare and they obeyed those commands without question by voting on the Republican bill to destroy Obamacare.

Does it matter to them that thousands of their own citizens in South Dakota will be badly damaged by the new bill they are trying to push through Congress? The people that will suffer far more than any South Dakotan are the poor and the members of the 9 Indian nations within the borders of the state.

The man now serving as the President of the United States ran on a ticket to “drain the swamp,” but instead replenished the swamp with money men and Wall Street biggies who grew fat on the miseries of the middle class and the poor. They are the people who pushed for oil exploration regardless of the environmental consequences and fought tooth and nail to deregulate the banking industry.

If addressing climate change would damage their bottom line they then admonished those promoting it by attacking the claim as false. National parks such as Bear Ears in Utah are about to be diminished in size and perhaps opened to exploration for oil and uranium. The President has no love for the indigenous people and has some of his vultures exploring the possibilities in shrinking their land base and even terminating their status as sovereign nations.

These threats are all real. And we must ask our elected members of Congress from South Dakota about their feelings on these important issues. Would they walk all over the rights and properties of the Native Americans for the Party or would they stand up as individuals against this incursion?

Some pundit said recently that the GOP stood for Greed Over People. It was once known as the Grand Old Party. We do not have a single Democrat in office to stand between us and Washington today and although Daschle, Johnson and Herseth Sandlin fell short sometimes of fulfilling the goals of the Native Americans, at least they made the effort.

Maybe the national elections or even the local elections, with the exception of the tribal elections, mean little or nothing to many of us, we must always consider the hard fact that if we do not get out in numbers to oppose those who would attack our sovereignty we will be the eventual losers in the end.

2018 isn’t that far away and it is time for the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota to stand united and find the person who would best represent our interests and then vote for them. Also make a note: You heard it first at Native Sun News Today: As the Trump scandal about Russia boils the national media will soon be calling it Russiagate. You heard it first here.

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