Governor Daugaard discusses tribal relations at State of the State Address

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Governor Dennis Daugaard discussed tribal relations during his State of the State Address earlier this week.

Black Hills FOX Reporter Katrina Lim traveled to Pierre to learn more.

During Governor Daugaard's State of the State Address, he talked about tribal relations and the status of a tribal parole program implemented with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe back in 2013.

As part of the Criminal Justice Initiative, the program returns parolees to their tribal communities where family and community support help parolees remain compliant.

The governor says it's been successful and that it's resulted in higher parole completion rates with fewer instances of absconding or avoiding custody.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says, "During my time in office, I've tried to follow Governor Mickelson's example and I visit reservations to meet with tribal officials every year."

The governor also says they plan to continue the state tax collection agreements and gaming compacts with 8 tribes.

Senator Kevin Killer says he appreciates Governor Daugaard establishing a Department of Tribal Relations, but that there's still some disagreements between tribal leaders and the state.

District 27 State Senator of Pine Ridge Kevin Killer says, "I think it always can use improvement and it's always building cooperation and I think the governor alluded to that where there are areas of cooperation around taxation and things like that, but there's also disagreements on taxation so it's just kind of finding the strong points where we can work together as tribal members, as tribal communities, as tribal leaders with state government. Where we don't work together, how do we build those partnerships?"

Representative Shawn Bordeaux believes that South Dakota's tribal relations are fairly good, but it can still use improvement.

Bordeaux referred to the Sturgis High School incident where photos showed students bashing a car with spray paint on the vehicle saying "Go back to the Rez."

District 26A Representative Shawn Bordeaux says, "I think as an example, the Sturgis High School and how they had some racial incidents this past homecoming hear and how the school shut down homecoming, I thought that was a positive response and I was happy to see that the folks from the school board had elected to shut down and elected to make it an example of the school situation to show the zero tolerance for any of that type of behavior especially in the high schools."

Senator Killer says going into 2018, he hopes we can further address the meth epidemic and build awareness on this issue.