South Dakota Politics

OGLALA SIOUX TRIBE GRIEVANCE REDRESS PETITION BILL SD SCR5

Status: Pending – Senate State Affairs Committee
Date of Last Action:  1/19/2018

State of South Dakota

NINETY-THIRD SESSION

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2018

394Z0673

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 5

Introduced by: Senators Nelson, Frerichs, Heinert, Jensen (Phil), Killer, Nesiba, Russell,

Sutton, and Tapio and Representatives May, Bordeaux, Brunner, Campbell,

DiSanto, Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Gosch, Lesmeister, Livermont, Marty, and

Peterson (Sue)

1 A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Recognizing the tribal council of the Oglala Sioux Tribe

2 in its petition to the Legislature for redress of grievances pursuant to the First Amendment

3 of the United States Constitution and Article VI § 4 of the South Dakota Constitution.

4 WHEREAS, the constitution of the Oglala Sioux Tribe authorizes the tribal council to

5 negotiate with federal, state, and local governmental officials on behalf of the Oglala Sioux

6 Tribe; and

7 WHEREAS, the Oglala Sioux Tribe education committee has been delegated oversight of

8 tribal schools and the education of tribal youth; and

9 WHEREAS, the committee met on December 18, 2017, to take action to file a petition for

10 redress of grievances with the South Dakota State Senate and House of Representatives,

11 regarding the facilitation of the mismanagement and misappropriation of tens of millions of

12 dollars of grant funds intended for Native American youth in the GEAR UP Program, and other

13 federal grant programs, administered by the South Dakota Department of Education, by current

14 and former state officials; and

100 copies were printed on recycled paper by the South Dakota

Legislative Research Council at a cost of $.167 per page. v Insertions into existing statutes are indicated by underscores.

Deletions from existing statutes are indicated by overstrikes.

– 2 – SCR 5

1 WHEREAS, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, Article VI § 4 of the

2 South Dakota Constitution, and Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure, guarantees South

3 Dakotans a right to petition state government for the redress of grievances; and

4 WHEREAS, on January 11, 2018, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council formally and officially

5 delivered their grievance resolution which was accepted by the State-Tribal Relations

6 Committee in the South Dakota Capitol; and

7 WHEREAS, the Oglala Sioux Tribe respectfully grieves that former South Dakota Secretary

8 of Education Melody Schopp, former South Dakota Secretary of Education Tom Oster, former

9 Secretary of Education Rick Melmer, former Meade County Superintendent Don Kirkegaard,

10 former Indian Education Director for South Dakota’s Department of Education Keith Moore,

11 Northern State Dean of Education Kelly Duncan, Department of Education Finance and

12 Management Director Tamara Darnall, and former GEAR UP Evaluator Brinda Kuhn allowed

13 or facilitated themselves to inappropriately financially benefit, at the expense of South Dakota

14 Native American youth, through unethical contracts, mismanagement, and misappropriation of

15 funds of the GEAR UP Program and other federal grants programs; and

16 WHEREAS, serious metrics or monitoring of factual measurable goals and objectives were

17 never implemented for the proper oversight of South Dakota’s GEAR UP Program; and

18 WHEREAS, explicit written warnings by former directors of Indian Education LuAnn

19 Werdell and Roger Campbell of mismanagement and misappropriations in the federal grants

20 administered by the South Dakota Department of Education, were effectively ignored and they

21 were retaliated against for their efforts; and

22 WHEREAS, the catastrophic human and financial costs associated with the unethical

23 conflicts of interests of numerous current and former state officials personally benefitting from

24 their improper financial grant programs, deprived South Dakota’s Native American youth and

– 3 – SCR 5

1 their communities of an estimated one hundred million dollars which will have lasting negative

2 effects on South Dakota Native American youth and their families for generations to come; and

3 WHEREAS, despite the statutory and moral obligation to do so, the Government Operations

4 and Audit Committee and the State-Tribal Relations Committee, refused to fully examine,

5 address, or correct these egregious violations of the public’s trust that were facilitated by state

6 officials for over a decade; and

7 WHEREAS, this dereliction of legislative oversight imparts a tacit message to those

8 responsible for the GEAR UP corruption, that effectively condones it, and assists in covering

9 up their unscrupulous behavior while reopening centuries old wounds caused by previous

10 unethical practices of government officials improperly benefitting at the expense of Native

11 Americans; and

12 WHEREAS, the South Dakota state government has experienced a serious loss of

13 confidence from South Dakotans across the state due to the GEAR UP corruption scandal and

14 has received failing grades from national groups concerning South Dakota state government’s

15 susceptibility to corruption, cronyism, and nepotism; and

16 WHEREAS, the State-Tribal Relations Committee is required by law via § 2-6-23 “..to draw

17 upon public input from all those who may be concerned and knowledgeable about state-tribal

18 relations whether Indian or non-Indian, whether tribal members or nontribal members.” And

19 make legislative recommendations to facilitate its mission; and

20 WHEREAS, each member of the State-Tribal Relations Committee recommends addressing

21 the rightful grievances of the Oglala Sioux Tribe through their sponsorship of this resolution:

22 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Senate of the Ninety-Third Legislature

23 of the State of South Dakota, the House of Representatives concurring therein, acknowledging

24 the receipt of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council’s respectfully submitted petition for the redress

– 4 – SCR 5

1 of legitimate grievances; and

2 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature recommends indefinite suspension of

3 all state employment and involvement in state-administered grant programs by those current and

4 past state officials cited in this resolution, pending determination of their involvement and

5 complicity. Conclusive determination contingent upon the explicit exoneration by an

6 independent and thorough investigation into the mismanagement and misappropriations of grant

7 moneys intended for Native South Dakota youth from 2005 to 2017; and

8 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature requests the United States Attorney

9 appoint a special prosecutor to investigate and prosecute, both civilly and criminally, all current

10 and former state officials who facilitated the mismanagement, misappropriation, or unethically

11 benefitted from federal grant moneys meant for Native American youth; and

12 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature devise scholarships for eligible Native

13 American high school students to repay the estimated one hundred million dollars lost to past

14 Native American students. Funding for the scholarships to come from deductions from the

15 Department of Education’s budget for the next twelve years, and civil recoupments from those

16 responsible or negligent in the mismanagement of the affected grants.

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