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Rounds Skips Fourth November Debate, Snubs Indians in Own Backyard

Republican candidate for Senate Marion Michael Rounds skipped a public forum in Fort Pierre last week. The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance invited all U.S. Senate candidates to speak at its fall policy meeting. Democrat Rick Weiland had the temerity to join arch-Republican Stace Nelson on stage, and they went toe-to-toe on economic development policy, with Weiland encouraging more government attention to problems in Indian country and Nelson countering that the tribes enjoyed their cultural zenith prior to the intrusion of government in their lives.

Annette Bosworth was there, too, instead of putting in hours back at her clinic so she could make payroll on time for a change.

But Mike Rounds? Nope. That makes four debates he's skipped this November. With scandal bubbling over his own profligate distribution of state funds to the failing Northern Beef Packers slaughterhouse and the misappropriation (theft may not be too strong a word) of at least $550,000 of those funds by his pals at NBP and SDRC, appearing at an event focusing on economic development perhaps hit too close to home. But this event was already literally close to home, in Fort Pierre, where Mike keeps house in his state subsidized and federally subsidized flood plain.

Larry Rhoden didn't make it, either. Maybe Rounds and Rhoden will make time to visit their Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota consituents elsewhere. But if attendees of the SDIBA meeting conclude that two out of four Republicans don't have time to talk policy with Indians, could we blame them?


  1. Robin Page 2013.11.29

    Under the rule of Mike Rounds and now Dennis Daugaard, the State of South Dakota has done little to invest in economic development in Native communities. This is not just on tribal lands, but in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Both of these cities have large Native populations with over 50% of the population living in poverty. However, the state spends $0 dollars helping Native people learn to create a small business or grow an existing small business. In some cases, even a small micro loan would help a Native artist or crafts person get their goods to market via the internet. The fastest and best way to help people rise out of poverty is to help them become economically self-sufficient. Mike Rounds would do well to keep this in mind if he wants the Native vote.

  2. Porter Lansing 2013.11.29

    Voter suppression by clever.

  3. Jerry 2013.11.29

    I know that I am gonna open the door here to Doug and Roger beating the hell out of one another, but I will say this. The republican party lost the greatest voice it ever had in Indian Country when Governor Mikelson was kiled. Since then, it has gone completely in reverse with great efforts to marginalize the Indian vote and to suppress it completely if possible. In my view, the two greatest capitalists in the state of South Dakota are Native and ranchers. If either has discretionary money, you can bet they will spend it locally to really help the communities they live in. A stimulus to the rural communities would be a creation of small loans like the Lakota Fund does and you can see the success they have. Now if the great white fathers in Pierre or the congress people (other than Johnson, I will miss you Tim) would remember that they represent all of South Dakota, we could have some real progress here in our state. Without cooperation and that means economic cooperation for sure, we have what we have, hollow dreams and a broken system that is bleeding us slowly to death. The new republican cannot govern and does not know a damn thing about business. This is a huge untapped resource that is waiting to bloom.

  4. Disgusted Dakotan 2013.11.29

    It is too soon to attend debates requested and hosted by South Dakotans, but not too soon to be selling SD interests out to special interests in DC and NY! Rhoden is following in Rounds' footsteps, just like he followed Rounds as a legislator. Two peas in a pod. You know Rounds is running scared when he dodges events in his home town. Wonder how much the scandals are going to impact him in the polls?

  5. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.29

    You are right Jerry. I've spent most of 4 decades as an athlete and coach. A maxim for any team sport is, "Your team is only as strong as your weakest player."

    That is true in most of life, not just sports. It is true in regards to the population of SD. SD needs all parts of the population, including American Indians, to flourish before the state can truly be strong and successful.

    When political leaders ignore any one part of SD, they damage all parts of SD.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29

    Nelson and Bosworth, for what's worth, did show courage by addressing the organization, typical Republicans like Rounds are just doing what they usually do, evade.

    Jerry, I don't really care what Wilken thinks or has to say, he demonstrated his prejudices many times and repeats his same warped view every time there is discussion about Native Americans.

  7. grudznick 2013.11.29

    How many people in Pierre or Fort Pierre attended this thing outside of the fringe followers? How many people attended who live within a file mile radius (that's the entire metro area until you get to Huron or Midland) of wherever this thing was held?

    Mr. Rhoden things to do, and will have his talkies with the citizens at the appropriate time.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29


    When is the appropriate time for Rhoden to hold his talkies.

    What I learned in old school politics is that a candidate takes advantage of every opportunity to reach voters. This could have been beneficial to Rhoden, now he will be viewed as evasive and uncaring.

    This was a very educated audience that Rhoden could have appealed to that could have carried his message, now that is gone.

  9. grudznick 2013.11.29

    Mr. Cornelius, I can't speak officially for Mr. Rhoden.

    However, I'm guessing he will do so when it fits with what he feels is best for his future constituents, not when a bunch of goofs on a libby blog or a couple of tinfoil hat proppers think he should.

    That kinda makes sense to me, actually.

    Why on earth would anybody let a bunch of insane goofballs on this blogosphere place dictate how they run their campaign? That just seems insaner than most.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29

    mr. grudz,

    I don't see anybody dictating Rhoden's campaign strategy, how could we?

    What I do see are legitimate questions and comments from us libby goofballs about his campaign.

    Campaigning in safe places isn't always a good choice, eventually he will have to enter the lion's den whether it be a Native American organization or some goofy Democrats.

    Rhoden lacked the courage to address Native Americans in Ft. Pierre, what other venues does he fear?

  11. grudznick 2013.11.29

    How many Native Americans, or for that matter American Indians, were there at this gathering in Ft. Pierre that Mr. Rhoden missed talked to? I bet he met more at whatever local coffee shop he stopped by.

    Where was this thing in Ft. Pierre? The Hopscotch or Chateau or Perkins? In any of those cases, the number of American Indians present was probably 3. 4 tops.

    I'm just sayin...

  12. grudznick 2013.11.29

    I read this ( several times and I may be feeble but I still can't find out where this was at. Goodness sakes, I have never heard of this SDIBA before either. Where is their office? In Ft. Pierre? I had to have my granddaughter hit the googles for me to find out these people are in Eagle Butte. 101 S. Main Street
    Eagle Butte, SD 57625

    Goggles it. No wonder no body showed up in in Ft. Pierre.

  13. Bree S. 2013.11.29

    I had a dream last night and you were in it Grudz, in electronic form anyway.

  14. grudznick 2013.11.29

    Mrs. S, I had a dream last night, too. Bill, my other friend Bill, both Bobs and at least one Larry were in it. It was hell.

  15. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29

    Let's count. Stace, Bosworth, Killer, Maher, that's four right there, no Native Americans were there?

    Regardless of the number of people in attendance, when a politician is invited to a conference during an election year, they accept. If Rhoden had previous commitment, what was it and why was it more important?

    grudz, you are quickly becoming Rhoden's "Excuser in Charge".

  16. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29


    That sounds more like a nightmare.

  17. grudznick 2013.11.29

    Mr. Cornelius.

    You act like I'm authorized to respond on behalf of Team Rhoden.

    On the count at this party of which I still don't know where it was hosted, if Messrs. Nelson, Killer, Maher and Dr. Bos were all on hand, I admit to that being at least 4 native americans. One of them is in fact an Amercian Indian, too. So that's good.

  18. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29

    What difference does it make where it was held, Rhoden and Rounds would surely be able to find it.

    Two candidates, two state representatives, one of them being Native American, no American Indians in attendance, according to you, they must all have been talking to each other.

  19. grudznick 2013.11.29

    Mr. Cornelius, you said it was in Ft. Pierre. I'm just trying to understand more.

    And you now say I said no American Indians were in attendance. I asked how many. You answered with Mr. Killer. So. That's one. Stop being such a poofy libby. Answer my straight up questions, or ask straight up ones of your own.

    Where was this meeting held?
    How many people, of any ilk, attended?
    Why do you think I speak for Mr. Rhoden?

  20. grudznick 2013.11.29

    Here: Mr H said "Rounds skipped a public forum in Fort Pierre last week."

    Now Roger wants to jump my shit because there was A) no meeting in Fort Pierre and B) Mr. Rhoden had better places to be. C) no count of humans in attendance, let alone humans of indigenous nature

    I could Mr. Nelson and Dr. Bos as indigenous. They were born here.

    That's very libby of you. Very libby indeed.

  21. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29

    Just for you grudz,

    From their Facebook page on the conference and the South Dakota Indian Business Alliance website, there were 200 in attendance and also had online participation.

    The conference was held at Small Business Development Center, 221 South Central Ave. in Pierre.

    The Senate Candidate Forum and State Legislative Overview was held at the RedRossa Italian Grille, 808 West Sioux Ave. in Pierre.

    Now Grudz, tell me how that information is relevant to Rhoden and Rounds thumbing their noses at Native Americans.

  22. Deb Geelsdottir 2013.11.29

    Grudz, making excuses for a candidate doesn't require you to be officially part of any campaign.

    It looks to me that you are employing a different definition for Native American than the generally accepted one. I'm surmising that your definition of Native American is anyone born in the United States. Just to be sure, are all people born in the Western hemisphere Native Americans? Somalis, Latinas, aboriginal Australians, Romanys,Incans, Chileans, Liberians, Nigerians, Frenchmen, etc.?

    What is your generic term for people whose family tree includes ancestors who greeted Columbus in the Americas? Or whose ancestors lived in the Americas in the 14th century?

    Clarity please.

  23. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.29


    Grudz is using a common ploy of distraction when attempting to distinguish between Native American, American Indian and Indigenous People. Get people talking about what Native Americans should be called as opposed to explaining why Rhoden and Rounds were no shows at a conference of Native Americans.

    Logical and intelligent people know the usage of Native American and apply it accordingly and with respect.

  24. Douglas Wiken 2013.11.30

    Roger, let me be nearly the first to wish you a very merry Christmas and a totally awesome new year.

    Wish I could give you the present you most need, the gift of being able to actually answer a question requesting specifics on your native, indigenous assertions generated from very thin air.

  25. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.30

    Precisely what would those questions be?

    Bring 'em on!

  26. TG 2013.11.30

    Roger - I see alot of conclusions being drawn here with zero basis (IMO) in summary as I read through. I'm going to preface each comment with TG since I don't know how to change font here. To be fair, I'll start with Cory's "...two... don't have time to talk policy with Indians...?" TG - Is that what one concludes immediately from not being able to attend? Larry is good friends with the Indian Chief of 'all indigenous tribes' of the United States, David Beautiful Bald Eagle. David has spent many hours at Larry's kitchen table telling of his history and discussing issues concerning the Native Americans. Larry has no reason to run away from the Native Americans as he and David Bald Eagle have discussed first hand many of the issues facing our reservations.

    I'm really not trying to start any controversy here and I hope it stays civil but after glancing through the comments these were pretty glaring ones to me and I'm going to be brief and hope you (Roger) don't take my comments/questions as rude; just thought provoking:

    *This could have been beneficial to Rhoden, now he will be viewed as evasive and uncaring. TG - I don't think David would agree.

    *Rhoden lacked the courage to address Native Americans in Ft. Pierre, what other venues does he fear? TG - that's what you drew from that?

    *Rhoden could have appealed to that could have carried his message, now that is gone. TG - says who? Gone where?

    *when a politician is invited to a conference during an election year, they accept. TG - have you been a politician vying for a position? I haven't but I haven't been aware of SD politics for very long so just curious. It seems grueling.

    *Grudz is using a common ploy of distraction when attempting to distinguish between Native American.... TG - I didn't pick up on that.

  27. grudznick 2013.11.30

    Ms. Geelsdottir: Yes.

  28. grudznick 2013.11.30

    Mr. Cornelius: Those places do not seem to be in Ft. Pierre.

  29. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.30

    Thank you for your comments, I'll do my best to be civil, although I have a reputation for being blunt.

    First of all I have been involved in political campaigns in form nearly all my life, starting with Robert Kennedy's successful primary win in South Dakota when I was in high school. I have also managed and campaigned for numerous tribal presidents on the Pine Ridge Reservation, some successful some not. Additional I have studied the history of presidential campaigns and strategies.

    With all due respect to Mr. Bald Eagle, I have never heard of a " chief of all indigenous tribes in the United States". Each tribe has its own chief or chiefs. I would imagine some chiefs around the country would take exception to that designation.

    Mr. Bald Eagle and Mr. Rhoden may well have discussed many issues relative to Native Americans and Mr. Rhoden may have a special insight into problems faced by the Sioux. But if Mr. Rhoden doesn't choose to accept an invitation from a state Native American organization, those business leaders will not learn his positions, will they?
    From my old campaign days, you either accept the invitation or if you can't attend you send a emissary or representative in your stead. Your absence must be made clear why you can't attend or it will appear that you are being evasive or worse yet, don't care about them.
    Did Mr. Rhoden a public statement why he wasn't attending?

    TG, campaigns are about perception, you should know that. Appearing or not appearing at public forums does give the perception of not caring or of being evasive, there is no denying that.

    Now about Grudz and his ploy, we were discussing the absence of Rhoden and Rounds from a Native American sponsored event and he felt he needed to interject his own labels for Native Americans, Deb and I both saw through it and he has not followed up on questions since then.

    If you feel that I missed something in this response, please let me know and I'll follow up.

  30. Roger Cornelius 2013.11.30


    I never said they were in Pierre, that was Cory's reporting.
    At any rate Rounds and Rhoden could use a GPS to find both locations.

    So now that you have the locations and attendance for the conference, tell how that is relevant to Rounds and Rhoden thumbing their noses at Native Americans

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