Governor Kristi Noem Column: Celebrating Native American Day

Celebrating Native American Day
By Governor Kristi Noem 
October 12, 2020

Today in South Dakota, we honor the Dakota and Lakota people that contributed to South Dakota’s history, both past and present, by celebrating Native American Day.

We also acknowledge all previous Dakota and Lakota leaders that left legacies of honorable leadership and worked tirelessly on behalf of their people. The language, culture, and history left by them are valued by all of South Dakota.

Today, let’s especially recognize the Dakota and Lakota code talkers. The Dakota-Lakota language could not be broken by our enemies during World War I and II and helped save the free world from tyranny and oppression. Let’s always remember and honor the Dakota and Lakota veterans that served during these wars and their contributions to our continued freedom and liberty. During my first year as governor, I signed SB 126 to recognize the Dakota-Lakota language as our state’s official indigenous language.

I want to honor the incredible work of our tribal health professionals and recognize their dedication to helping people each and every day. In addition to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, they also work tirelessly on mental health initiatives and provide services to those challenged with substance abuse. We will be hosting our third state-tribal meth summit later this month, and our state and tribal health care professionals will continue to discuss the current fight against meth and what we can do as partners to combat this dangerous drug, together.

The second Monday of October is recognized by South Dakota as Native American Day. I remain committed, each and every day, to working with our South Dakota tribes on making our communities safer, stronger, and healthier.

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