The nine Dakota, Lakota and Nakota Tribes in South Dakota enrich our culture and are an important part of our state. I understand there are numerous issues facing Indian Country, and I am committed to joining our state’s Native American leaders to solve them. By working together, we can ensure that South Dakota’s tribes have access to more resources, safer schools and an improved health care system.
The federal government and Native American people must have a true government-to-government relationship. To do so, we must have open communication by holding regular meetings between tribal leaders and federal government representatives to explore new ways to improve conditions in Indian Country. We must also continue to encourage economic development on Tribal land, whether that is in further energy development or facilitating agriculture production.
During the Farm Bill debate, I offered an amendment, that was accepted by the committee, to permanently establish an Office of Tribal Relations in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the Secretary is advised on policy impacting Native Americans and Tribal access to USDA programs.
Another piece of legislation I have championed important to Indian Country is H.R. 2335, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act. This bill preserves tribal sovereignty with respect to the National Labor Relations Act by reaffirming that the National Labor Relations Board does not have jurisdiction on tribal land.
I will continue to use my position in Congress to advance issues important to Indian Country. I look forward to continuing to work with tribal leaders and representatives on ways we can build upon and improve issues affecting South Dakota’s tribes.