Bordeaux, state representative in the South Dakota state legislature
and a member of the state's democratic delegation. (photo
by Suzette Brewer - Indian Country Today Media Network
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.
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
"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
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."