Cheers for Lakota Speaking South Dakota Delegate at DNC
During last night’s state roll call vote at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Oglala Lakota tribal member and South Dakota delegate Shawn Bordeaux introduced his delegation in the Lakota language before casting the votes that pushed Hillary Clinton toward history as the first woman presidential candidate in U.S. History.
Bordeaux, who is one of four American Indian delegates in the 28-member South Dakota delegation, said he was asked by the party to introduce his delegation. This year, Native people have turned out in droves at the DNC, with many here as delegates for their states.
“It was an honor, it was exciting and it was historic,” said Bordeaux, who is one of only two Native American state representatives in the South Dakota state legislature. “It showed that our party is one that cares about all the people, including American Indians, who are usually not included in the national dialogue. But it shows that we are gaining momentum and that we have important things to say.”
Bordeaux said that one of the hardest issues within Indian country in regards to the electoral process is voter apathy.
“It’s often difficult to get people engaged in the state, local and national elections,” said Bordeaux. “Many times, they’re not even registered so we have to get people registered to vote, because there’s a lot of work to do and I want to get our community engaged in getting out the vote.”
Kevin Killer (Oglala/Kiowa) is also a South Dakota state delegate and said that there is a legacy of strong support, pointing out that Clinton carried the state in 2008 and Bill Clinton’s visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1999.
“This year’s election has been tremendous for Indian people and there’s a momentum that just keeps growing with every convention,” said Killer. “Since ’08 it has grown and it’s good to see this many Native delegates in the process.”
“The fact that the South Dakota state delegation was introduced in the Lakota language is something that I’ll always remember.”
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