Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

Monthly SWO Tribal Chairman's Update


Last updated 4/12/2021 at 10:05pm

April 12, 2021

Hau mitakuyapi, Hello my relatives.

March was a fruitful month for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. President Biden signed a COVID-19 Stimulus package into law that set aside $31 billion for Tribes. This is nearly 4 times what Tribes received in the first round of COVID-19 Relief funding provided through the Trump administration. Of the $31 billion in this new package, $20 billion will go to Tribal governments. $6 billion is allocated for the Indian Health Service and other Native American health systems, $1.2 billion is for housing and more than $1.1 billion will go to primary, secondary and higher education programs. While we have yet to find out the exact amount the SWO will be getting, we know it will be millions of dollars.

In anticipation of this new, needed funding source, we held two round table sessions at the Dakota Sioux Casino and the Dakota Magic Casino to discuss it. There was great dialogue between Tribal council, District leadership, and program managers.

On Good Friday, I also received word that the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate has been awarded 11.5 million dollars to build a new SWO Law Enforcement Center and Detention Facility. The Tribe has been working toward this goal since our original jail was condemned by the BIA several years ago. Construction will begin this summer.

Last Friday, we held the grand opening of the new Daycare Center and SWO Tribal Council has agreed to re-open the Tek Park. We also activated the Pow-wow committee so they may begin planning the SWO Annual Fourth of July Wacipi.

Our Woodrow Keeble Memorial Health Care Center has been doing an amazing job at vaccinating Tribal members. My family is now fully vaccinated and so are many others. If you haven't been vaccinated yet, you can still receive one. The Indian Health Service, FEMA and Coteau des Prairies Hospital staff are holding a vaccination clinic on April 19 (Monday) and April 20 (Tuesday), 2021 in the parking lot between the Dakota Connection and Buffalo Lanes Bowling in Sisseton, SD from 10AM to 4PM. Both Natives and non-Natives are eligible for this vaccine distribution. Please wear clothing that allows easy access to the upper arm.

Even after you've been vaccinated, its important to keep masking up, social distancing, and washing your hands.

From now on, I will be providing my monthly Chairman's Update through the Oyate News. I have been reminded that some elders and others do not have internet access, so I will be working with Mr. Tom Wilson to see that hard copy editions of the Oyate News are made available at Tribal Headquarters and District Centers for those who would like to read it. I will also be providing hard copies to Tribal Council so they can distribute them as needed.

I decided to stop providing updates to the Sota paper because while alternative viewpoints may be news, unsubstantiated, serious allegations, venomous mudslinging, and potentially libelous and slanderous statements are not. Also, while some may think my updates are too "positive" what they are failing to see is how harmful constant infighting is to the Tribe and that I'm choosing to focus on moving forward and getting things done. I'm not in the business of attacking fellow SWO Tribal members.

Lastly, Mr. Floro published this statement about me in the latest issue of the Sota:

"He as well as others among your Tribal leadership are upset that your Sota editor publishes alternative viewpoints that conflict at times with the narrative leadership wants conveyed."

I categorically deny saying any of this and am disappointed that I am being portrayed in this light.

Other than that, Spring is here, and the Thunders have returned. I wish you all well. Keep going.

Mitakuye Oyasin, Hupahumaza


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