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SD House Committee Rejects Resolution To Rescind Dakota Removal Act

Jenifer Jones

A Republican led committee in the house is rejecting a resolution that urges congress to rescind the Sioux-Dakota Removal Act of 1863.

They pointed to division between Dakota tribes as reason to oppose a resolution supported by the state-tribal relations committee.


The resolution urges congress to repeal the federal law still on the books, despite it being obsolete. The resolution calls the act’s presence a continuing office.

The resolution was brought by Democratic Representative Shawn Bordeaux of Mission. He’s Dakota and Lakota. He says tensions in Minnesota in the 1860’s led to the forced removal of the Dakota from their homeland.

“That’s how you got the Santee of Nebraska. That’s how you got Crow Creek. That’s how you got Spirit Lake up in North Dakota. Sisseton as well,” Bordeaux says. “The tribes were forced out of Minnesota and left to start over in a new area. People who maybe had been fishers, people who survived off the great water and resources that are in Minnesota all the sudden are on the plains.”

However, not all Dakota tribal members were on board.

Republican Representative Tamara St. John is Dakota and an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Tribe. She says not all Dakota tribal members were consulted on this resolution.

“As Dakota people—you’re hearing things about this division and this juggle—that isn’t the way that we do things,” St. John says. “It isn’t the way we address this in 2012, and that’s not how we would do   again. It’s really my belief that if we were bringing this forward in the right way, they would all be here.”

That was enough to convince most Republican lawmakers to table the bill indefinitely. Bordeaux indicated he may bring the resolution again.