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Chairman Frazier Calls For Respect, Highlights Issues In State Of Tribes

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SDPB

Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe spoke before a joint session of the state Legislature Thursday. In his State of the Tribes Address he called for respect in order to work together.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier says legislators need to consider how laws will impact Native people in South Dakota before they cast their votes. He says he wants to see more job creation on the state’s reservations, but those areas need better infrastructure.

“So we ask you, the state, to be our partner in economic development,” Frazier says. “Because we all live together in South Dakota. When we create new jobs, everyone benefits.”
 
Frazier says healthcare is also a priority among tribal members. He’s glad state leaders want to expand Medicaid so that children and elders can have more access to care. He says tribal leaders are fighting a suicide epidemic.
 
“We need to ensure there is peer to peer counseling in this new plan,” Frazier says. “Many of our children don’t want to open up to a non-Indian, to a stranger. They said they feel comfortable talking, like they said, with a friend, grandma, or an auntie. So we should be allowed to bill and collect Medicaid, because we live in high poverty areas on all of our reservations.”
 
Frazier says meth is one of the biggest problems tribes are facing today. He says leaders are looking at fighting the issue through the law, treatment, and prevention.
 
“We are working to strengthen our courts, our police, and our laws,” Frazier says. “We are actively recruiting law trained lawyers, law trained prosecutors, court personnel. We’re looking at creative ways, because of our low funding, to build and establish a strong police force. We’re also working with other agencies to stop the dealers and suppliers.”
 
Frazier called on legislators to expand police training facilities.

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