Indian Affairs

The culture and traditions of South Dakota's nine tribes have greatly contributed to the rich history of our state and our nation. At the same time, our tribes continue to face numerous challenges. During my time in Congress, I have worked collaboratively with tribal leaders and tribal citizens to address many of these challenges at the federal level.

One important accomplishment was the enactment of the Tribal Law and Order Act. As an original cosponsor, I am proud of the changes made, including allowing federal magistrates to hold court and other proceedings in tribal court and increasing the maximum hiring age of Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officers, both of which are a positive step forward to increased safety and rule of law in Indian Country.

Another legislative achievement was the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. This legislation reauthorized Indian Health Service programs, and, among other important improvements, increased access to preventative care and behavioral health services, provided for collaboration between federal agencies to help improve care for Native American veterans, and required the Government Accountability Office to further examine various aspects of health care for tribal citizens.

I remain committed to providing tribal citizens with access to safe, quality health care. In 2017, I introduced the Restoring Accountability in the Indian Health Service Act, legislation that would improve the quality and delivery of patient care throughout Indian Country.  A lack of oversight, financial integrity, and employee accountability at the IHS has led to the delivery of substandard health care services of patients, families, and whole communities. The bill would increase transparency and accountability at the IHS to ensure Native Americans have access to reliable, quality health care.

Together we continue to look for innovative solutions to improve education, access to health care, public safety, and economic opportunity on South Dakota’s nine reservations. Though we have achieved legislative successes over the years, through strong federal, state, and tribal relationships, we can continue to improve the quality of life for tribal citizens, both on and off the reservations.