Updated: Jun 24
You can donate to support this effort HERE.
Rapid City, South Dakota
The Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association (GPTCA), made up of 16 Federally recognized Native Nations from South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska has endorsed Dakotans for Health and its efforts to fight voter suppression and expand Medicaid. Announced Dakotans for Health Tribal Spokesman Remi Beautiful Bald Eagle and GPTCA Executive Director Gay Kingman.
What you need to know
Dakotans for Health has been leading the effort to expand Medicaid to 42,000 South Dakotans and tribal members. Dakotans for Health released a tribal impact study earlier this year.They are also leading the effort to refer the recent voter suppression act, HJR 5003. The measure was passed in March by the South Dakota State Legislature. It targets the citizen initiated constitutional amendment petition to expand Medicaid by requiring a supermajority vote of 60% to pass.
How you can help
Right now the top priority is recruiting petition circulators and raising funds to fight HJR 5003 and qualify Medicaid expansion. You can circulate petitions and or make a 2X MATCHED donation via ActBlue.
Official Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association Resolution Endorsing Dakotans for Health's Medicaid expansion and HJR 5003 Campaigns:
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. Endorses South Dakota Medicaid Expansion Efforts and Supports Dakotans For Health
Resolution No. 04-04-16-21
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. (GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents or their duly appointed representatives of the sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations recognized by Treaties with the United States that are within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. (GPTCA) was established by the 16 Indian nations and tribes of the Great Plains Region with its mission to support Indian sovereignty, self-determination, self-government, Indian lands, treaty rights, and to promote tribal economic opportunity ensure that Indian lands are “livable homelands” for our Native people; and
WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. was formed to promote the common interests of the Great Plains sovereign Indian Tribes and their members in the states of ND, SD, and Neb.; and
WHEREAS, Tribal Nations within the United States have entered solemn and sacred treaties with the United States in which their sovereign status is recognized, as provided in the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, the GPTCA recognizes its responsibility to act to advance the goals of its Tribes and their members and to promote improvements to the health, safety, welfare, education, economic development, and preservation of the spiritual, cultural, and natural resources of its member Sovereign Tribes and Nations; and
WHEREAS, Dakotans For Health began circulating petitions in November of 2020 in a grassroots effort to expand Medicaid in South Dakota to 138% above the poverty level for single adults earning less than $17,000 per year; and
WHEREAS, the GPTCA understands this would provide health care insurance coverage to over 42,500 low-income adults in South Dakota, including enhancing the Oceti Sakowin people’s access to better healthcare on and off the nine reservations in South Dakota; and
WHEREAS, the 2021 South Dakota state legislature voted in favor of House Joint Resolution 5003, a proposed state constitutional change, which would require a 60% supermajority vote for future ballot measures that increase taxes or fees. Or that require the state to appropriate $10 million or more in the first five fiscal years; and
WHEREAS, HJR 5003 as amended would force a vote of the people in the June 2022 Primary Election with lower traditional voter turn-out, which would cause injurious electoral harm to native people who already face constant voter suppression; and
WHEREAS, Dakotans for Health has filed a request to refer HJR 5003 to a vote of the people in the General Election in 2022, which was denied by the SD Secretary of State; and
WHEREAS, Dakotans For Health currently is suing the SD Secretary of State in SD Supreme Court on behalf of all people in South Dakota to retain ballot measure rights and oppose the potential of legislative power imbalance.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the GPTCA stands in solidarity with Dakotans For Health and endorses their efforts to pass Medicaid expansion including the acquisition of nearly 37,000 validated South Dakota registered voter signatures required to place Medicaid Expansion on the 2022 General Ballot; The GPTCA also stands with Dakotans For Health in opposing the 2021 state legislature’s efforts to substantially diminishing the peoples’ right to the already rigorous South Dakota ballot measure process and supports Dakotans for Heath’s effort to defeat HRJ 5003.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, this resolution shall be the policy of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association, Inc. until it is withdrawn or modified by a subsequent resolution.
Resolution No. 04-04-16-21
Tribal Chairmen Statements of Support
Chairman Harold Frazier
Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association Chairmen Harold Frazier described a "movement" heralding the group as a "true friend" of Indian Country:
President Rodney Bordeaux
The group has received widespread praise from tribal leaders and member alike including Rosebud Sioux Nation President Rodney Bordeaux who extolled grassroots group's 'reliability' and deep commitment to Indian Country:
Chairman Bob Flying Hawk
Other leaders echoed Bordeaux sentiment including Yankton Sioux Tribal Chairman Bob Flying Hawk who, along with Bordeaux, was an early supporter of the effort:
Chairman Clyde Estes
Lower Brule Sioux Tribal President Clyde Estes lauded Flying Hawk's sentiment citing the critical importance of health insurance and the tribes familiarity with the organizers at Dakotans for Health:
Chairman Peter Lengkeek
Crow Creek Sioux Tribal Chairman Peter Lengkeek who is a former combat veteran, agreed:
President Tony Reider
The show of support from Indian Country has been resounding for Dakotans for Health, but it is to be expected said Santee Sioux President Tony Reider:
A note from Co-Founder
Dakotans for Health Co-Founder Rick Weiland he was thrilled to see such a strong showing of support from the Association and all sixteen of the tribal chairmen.
The endorsements represent all of the federally recognized tribes in the midwest plains states and come on the heals of several others groups has received from the leadership of the Great Plains Tribal Leader's Health Board, the states spiritual institutions, rural organizing networks, and the AFL-CIO.
The non-partisan South Dakota Legislative Research Council has estimated that 42,500 people would be eligible for Medicaid health insurance if the ballot measure is successful. South Dakota is one of 12 states that has refused to participate in the program.
About Dakotans for Health
Dakotans for Health, an emerging group of public officials, caregivers, health care advocates, and concerned citizens supporting the expansion of Medicaid. We have released COMPREHENSIVE MATERIALS for our volunteers to start circulating a petition for a Constitutional Amendment to expand Medicaid. Get yours today!
Help Secure Ballot Access for Medicaid Expansion and Defeat HJR 5003
Support the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Association. Make a donation to expand Medicaid and defend voting rights in South Dakota.
Obama Campaign Manager Steve Hildebrand on the importance of Grassroots Organizing and Dakotans for Health's campaign to expand Medicaid:
You can watch the full episode with Steve HERE
Message from Montana Governor Steve Bullock to Dakotans for Health petition circulators:
You can watch the full episode with Governor Bullock HERE