Tribal chairman gives South Dakota lawmakers history lesson

National News

Darwin Bernard sings and plays the drum before the State of the Tribes address at the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre, S.D., Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate offered South Dakota’s Legislature a history lesson during the annual State of the Tribes address as he emphasized tribal sovereignty and government-to-government relations.

Chairman Delbert Hopkins Jr. reminded lawmakers that treaties with tribal nations have always been a part of the United States government, starting with the Constitution and George Washington.

State and tribal governments have perenially had an uneasy relationship in South Dakota. The annual State of the Tribes address is meant to foster cooperation.

Hopkins named several areas where the state and tribes could work together, including education, economic development and law enforcement.

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