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Tribal Chairman Who Mandated Drug Testing Reinstated After Oust


The Chairman of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in northeast South Dakota was suspended by the tribal council last week after he imposed a rule calling for drug testing of all tribal employees.

The chairman says he just wants to combat the drug problems in his tribe.  Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribal Chairman Bruce Renville was reinstated by the tribal council after a lengthy meeting on Friday.

Renville says he decided to mandate drug tests for tribal employees after a number of incidents including a group of tribal elders who asked the tribal government to do more to combat drugs.
“There is a number of factors that prompted me to call for a drug test. Early in the spring when a meth pipe was found in one of the lady’s bathrooms in our administration building, there has been a number of babies born to our tribal members that have meth in their systems.   I heard recently about a heroin overdose,” says Renville.

The tribal council voted to suspend Renville after his call for employee drug testing.  The on Friday the council then reinstated Renville.   Two Tribal Council Representatives, Kevin Roberts and Keith Johnson refused to comment on the matter.  Renville says that while the tribe has an alcohol addiction program and facility, there are few resources and no facility to deal with anyone addicted to drugs.  

“Finding the appropriate resources is always a challenge it would be a challenge for us it would be a challenge for anybody in America who has having a serious drug problem,” says Renville.

Renville says the tribe has to do more to combat the drug problem.  After being reinstated by the tribal council he thanked his supporters through social media.

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