March 30, 2017
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard yesterday met with tribal leaders to discuss Senate Bill 176, potential pipeline protests and public safety. In the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in North Dakota, state and tribal leaders came together on Wednesday to converse on how to avoid potential problems, share concerns and work on possible solutions.
“I thank tribal leaders for traveling to Pierre to participate in this discussion,” Gov. Daugaard said. “I value the intergovernmental relationships the State of South Dakota has with the tribes and I appreciate their input on this pressing issue.”
The roundtable discussion resulted from the bipartisan passage of SB 176 earlier this month. After the bill received legislative approval, Gov. Daugaard sent a letter to all nine tribes within South Dakota inviting them to participate in the meeting.
“It was a productive meeting,” said Secretary Steve Emery, head of the South Dakota Department of Tribal Relations. “Everyone came together to share their concerns and ideas. Both state and tribal leadership agreed that working together and keeping lines of communication open are essential to protecting and maintaining individual freedoms as well as public safety. We all think it would be beneficial to coordinate future meetings with representatives from tribal, state and local governments, as well as law enforcement.”
In addition to the Governor and Tribal Secretary, Lt. Gov. Matt Michels and Secretary of Public Safety Trevor Jones attended the meeting. Tribal leadership who were present included Yankton Sioux Tribe Chairman Robert Flying Hawk, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Chairman Boyd Gourneau and Rosebud Sioux Tribe Vice-President Scott Herman.
During the roundtable, state leaders emphasized SB 176 as a way to protect those who seek to peacefully exercise First Amendment rights. State officials also explained that the bill’s provisions extend beyond potential protests and may be useful in other emergency situations and natural disasters.
Other issues discussed in the meeting included drug use, extradition agreements, emergency management and police training.