Editorial: Actions must come with words of 'unity'
"This morning, during a ceremony at the South Dakota Capitol, officials from state government and the nine Native American tribes in South Dakota will gather to proclaim the 2010 Year of Unity.

The ceremony commemorates the 20th anniversary of a similar effort by the late Gov. George Mickelson to promote racial reconciliation in South Dakota.

That's a nice gesture, of course, but it must not also be an empty one. We hope Gov. Mike Rounds' wish to improve race relations goes much further than simply a speech, a ceremony and yet another proclamation that's not worth the paper it is written on.

For the Year of Unity to be meaningful, it must be followed by specific direction from the governor's office for improving inter-governmental relations between sovereign tribal governments and the state of South Dakota.

We don't blame some Native Americans for bringing a healthy dose of skepticism to this Rounds initiative, however well-intentioned it may be. In the first seven years of Gov. Rounds' administration, there had been scant emphasis placed on collaborative efforts to address the many issues that overlap between tribal and state governments: crime, mental health services, youth incarceration, education, casino gaming and so much more.

But tribal leaders must meet the governor half way."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Actions speak louder than words (The Rapid City Journal 2/19)

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Tribal leaders await Year of Unity in South Dakota (2/19)
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South Dakota governor to set Year of Unity with tribes (1/26)