A message of renewed relations between the Native American Tribes and State of South Dakota highlighted Thursday’s State of the Tribes Address in Pierre.

Lower Brule Sioux Tribal Chairman Boyd Gourneau is concerned with meth use and healthcare. Going forward, he says Medicaid expansion will also be important.

“We can build a capacity (within) tribes across the state to have a quality tribal healthcare workforce that is responsive to our communities and increase Medicaid services being provided on tribal lands is attainable through Federal and tribal resources. We can work together to save the state of South Dakota money and more importantly save the lives of Native Americans.”

There also are lessons to be learned from the past as Gourneau recalls Governor George Mickelson’s Year of Reconciliation proclamation in 1990 and the path into the future.

“I would encourage you to take the time and really read Governor Mickelson’s proclamation. When it comes to state-tribal relations, there’s a blueprint in that document. If we follow this blueprint, only then we can truly engage in a combined effort as we move forward for all the residents in our state.”

This year marks the third time that the State of the Tribes Address was delivered at the South Dakota Legislature. Representatives from the eight Native American tribes were present for today’s assembly.

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