Monthly Archives: November 2013

Two US Senate candidates absent from SDIBA forum

PIERRE, SD – Three hopefuls for South Dakota’s United States Senate seat answered questions about economic development, taxation and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) last week.

Democrat Rick Weiland, along with Republicans Dr. Annette Bosworth and Stace Nelson, are all candidates for the seat currently held by retiring Senator Tim Johnson. All three were on hand to greet several tribal members and answer questions at a forum sponsored by the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance (SDIBA).

Former SD Governor M. Michael Rounds along with Larry Rhoden, also candidates for the US Senate seat, did not attend the forum. The forum was held in conjunction with a SDIBA policy meeting.

“The same folks that were missing last night are missing today,” stated Stace Nelson, who currently serves as State Representative from District 19. He was referring to a forum held at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, SD on November 21, which both Rounds and Rhoden did not attend.

“More taxes are a problem for all of us,” stated Nelson in response to a question about the complex taxation issues residents of Indian reservations face. “When I take your money, I take your freedom.”

Weiland stated he will seek “a seat on the Indian Affairs Committee” if elected to Senate. He believes this will allow him to help South Dakota’s Indian tribes be better served in times of disaster, such as blizzards or flooding on reservations. “The Sandy Relief Act is legislation which allows tribal governments to go directly to the federal government with requests for disaster assistance,” he said.

In response to a question about ICWA, Dr. Bosworth stated “the mental, emotional and physical health of children goes back to how and where they were raised.” She is a Physician who has provided counseling to many tribal children in South Dakota. “The worst day in the memory of many Indian children is the day they are separated from family,” she said. “It is valuable to keep Indian children with their own culture and family.”
Kevin Killer, State Representative from District 27, and Ryan Maher, State Senator from District 28, were also in attendance. Both gave a preview of their plans for the 2014 South Dakota State Legislature, which will begin on January 14, 2013 at the State Capitol.

Killer will focus on dental health of children, ICWA, tribal college funding and Indian artists as entrepreneurs on the reservation during the 2014 Legislature.

Maher will focus on access to financial capital, literacy and domestic violence initiatives.

The day ended with several roundtable discussions led by SDIBA officers.

Personal happiness affects your attitude

The best learning experience is realizing what you don’t want. I’ve learned I have to experience something I don’t want in order to know what I do want. This is a free will zone and choosing to do something is the only way we will know if it is really what we want.


Does that make sense?


There are times when we make choices in our lives which lead to unhappiness. This is how we learn. Yet, so many people make a choice in their lives and upon learning it is something they really don’t want, they refuse to choose something else.  


For instance, when you get a job which you think you’ll like but a few months into it you realize it isn’t what you thought it would be. But instead of seeking a more fulfilling job, many choose to remain where they are.


That doesn’t make sense.


Life is way too short to be unhappy, especially when it concerns your work. The way you make your living occupies much of your time so it’s better to be happy with your job, isn’t it?


When you are unhappy with your work it shows. People who you are supposed to serve while you are at work will easily pick up when you are not satisfied with what you are doing. Personal happiness affects your attitude.


Furthermore, oppressive environments in the workplace are a source of undue stress for many employees. Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells throughout your workday?  Employees who feel threatened or intimidated on the job could easily be coerced into doing something which they otherwise wouldn’t do.


High stress levels in the work place are very unhealthy.


For the last 13 months I have been employed by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. For the most part I have enjoyed working for my tribe and also appreciate most of my co-workers. Still, it can be an extremely oppressive environment when one works for the tribe. Tribal employees are often at the whim of the people elected to office.


Tribal corruption trickles down from the top. When the people at the bottom of the rung are negatively affected by what is happening at the top, the workplace quickly becomes an extremely toxic environment. Bad behavior exhibited by just one person can bring the morale of an entire department down.


It’s not fun working with people who act like your salary is being funded out of their bank account. Some employees are extremely vociferous about the actions of their coworkers. Yet, they fail to see they often exhibit the same behavior.


Consequently, I view the Bible as a guide of sorts. I have some favorite passages, one of which is Matthew 7:3, which reads: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye?”


When you work diligently to improve your own behavior, there is no time to worry about the behavior of your co-workers.