Native Sun News Editorial: Making an impact in your community

The following is the opinion of the Native Sun News Editorial Board. All content © Native Sun News.

Taking the bull by the horns in Rapid City
By Native Sun News Editorial Board

We want to encourage all of the Native Americans residing in Rapid City to start attending the Rapid City Council Meetings. The meetings are usually held on Monday evenings at 5:30 p.m. at the City Administration Office on 6th Street. If you can find the time it is important.

Why is this important? We are making every effort to emphasize the fact that if you live, work, pay taxes and send your children to the public schools in Rapid City you should be aware of what the City Council and the Rapid City School Board are doing that can and will have an impact upon your lives and the lives of your family.

We have Native American men and women from Standing Rock, Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, and Cheyenne River and from reservations as far away as Flandreau, Sisseton and Yankton. Most moved here to find jobs, start businesses, or attend college at Oglala Lakota College or the School of Mines. Or perhaps they moved here because they have relatives living here.

We mentioned all nine reservations in South Dakota for a reason. Think of this; if you were living back on your home reservation you would consider it your duty to attend some of the tribal council meetings. You would do that to find out what your government is doing on your behalf or on behalf of the tribe.

It is natural that we continue to think of the lands where we were born and raised as our home. But having made that move to Rapid City we need to make a serious change of mind. Most of us cannot vote on our home reservations if we are not physically residing there. We have complained about this in the past in hopes that a group of Lakota/Dakota/Nakota would decide that this is illegal because by denying you the right to vote is disenfranchisement. If you still have land holdings on your respective reservation you should have the right to vote in the tribal elections and if you cannot vote there you should be asking yourself (and a skilled attorney) why not?

But surprisingly there is no such restrictions placed upon you by the wasicu government of Rapid City. If you live here, pay rent here, own a home here, pay taxes here and have children in school here, you are considered a citizen of Rapid City and have the legal right to vote and more than that, to run for public office.

Native Sun News general manager Jackie Giago, at podium, addresses the Rapid City Council. Photo by Richie Richards

We would love to see Native Americans run for the City Council, the School Board, and the County Commissioners and even for mayor. It doesn’t matter whether you win because it will give you the opportunity to participate, debate and bring your points of view to the forefront of the election process.

We will never advance our lives in Rapid City until we are seriously considered as a part of the solution and not as a problem. Think of this: If two Native Americans make outrageous statement and claims, all Native Americans are blamed, but if two white men make the same claims, only those two individuals are blamed.

In other words, we as Native Americans are all rolled up into one basket. If one is guilty of a misdeed, we are all guilty.

Elections will be coming in 2016 and it is not too late to not only register to vote and make your voice known, but it is necessary that those Native Americans who feel that we have had enough and are not going to take it anymore, take out petitions and run for public office. It’s the only way!

(The Editorial Board of Native Sun News can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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