South Dakota’s Native Communities

I am grateful for the rich traditions of the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people that are woven into the fabric of South Dakota’s history. They are a significant part of what makes South Dakota such a unique and special place. South Dakota has been home to some of history’s greatest Native American warriors, including Chief Sitting Bull and Chief Crazy Horse. Today, we’re lucky to have a new generation of tribal leaders who continue to fight day in and day out for the communities in which they live. I know I’m not alone in considering myself extremely grateful to live in a state that honors its Native American history and traditions. Native American culture can be found in every corner of our state. Whether it’s language, food, or events, the Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people have left, and are continuing to leave, an important mark on our state and nation.

Fighting for a Better Indian Health Service
I’ve been working for years to reform and modernize the broken Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS is tasked with providing health care to tribal members in South Dakota and around the country – care they depend on, but for far too long has been substandard. There are many talented and dedicated employees who work at IHS facilities in South Dakota and throughout the Great Plains, but the organization as a whole is so wrought with systemic problems that it hardly deserves the title in which it has been given. The agency can and must do better, and I will continue fighting for change.