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State senator says Indians’ struggles ignored in speech

Rapid City, South Dakota (AP) 1/08

The governor failed to talk about issues facing American Indians in his State of the State message to lawmakers, according to a tribal member and legislator from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Democratic state Rep. Jim Bradford said he was happy that Gov. Mike Rounds mentioned his plan to preserve land around Bear Butte, but that Indian struggles with economic development, jobs and education were ignored in the speech Jan 8th.

“He was pretty much riding a white horse, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “And I didn’t see any red in the real presentation.”

Bradford said Rounds is right to help protect and preserve the integrity of Bear Butte, which is sacred to many Indians. The governor wants to spend more than $1 million to create perpetual easements preventing development on certain lands near Bear Butte, northeast of Sturgis.

“I appreciate the fact that he’s beginning to show some concern about Bear Butte. But it’s a Band-Aid,” Bradford said. “That’s not going to affect the fact that my children and my neighbors’ children don’t have jobs and aren’t getting a fair shot at the educational process, or not getting the same community-development emphasis that’s being put in other areas.”

 

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