By Ernestine Chasing Hawk, Native Sun News Managing Editor
PIERRE — The SD State legislature considered a bill that will authorize the use of tribal identification cards as the equivalent of certain state-issued documents for identification purposes.
HB 1242 which was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Killer (D-Dist. 27) was heard before the House on Feb. 22, 2011 and passed unopposed, 69 for and 0 against.
On Thursday, March 3 the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, 7 to 0 and was heard before the full Senate on Tuesday. The Tribal ID law passed the full Senate 34 to 0.
HB 1242 will go into law on July 1, 2011.
“House Bill 1242 is a step in the right direction. Especially since it will allow tribal members and the younger generation use their tribal I.D.’s to obtain their license and to get I.D.’s easier. Especially in this environment, it helps build relationships that weren’t previously there. This is a good first step,” Killer said.
The bill calls for tribal I.D.’s to be used for identification purposes when banking and cashing checks. The Real I.D. Act passed by Congress mandates that every state have security measures on their I.D.’s and calls for a National ID card that can be traced through a nationwide data base.
“Unfortunately they excluded Tribal ID.s out of that Real I.D. Act. So states weren’t allowed to include tribal ID’s because of the federal standards. So currently, we’re trying to insure that we can get some provisions in place to use your tribal ID to get your license,” Killer said. “Hopefully this bill will help tribal members follow the law when we leave the reservation.”
Lynn “Smokey” Hart a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe and his wife Helen Hart a member of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe sent testimony to the SD State Legislature in regard to HB 1242 to follow up on what Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in January about wanting to improve state government and tribal relations in South Dakota. In his State of the State address Daugaard said he will encourage close cooperation between state and Tribal leaders.
“Before we start talking about our challenges and opportunities I think we need to know each other as people,” Daugaard said. “And then I think it’ll be much easier to communicate with trust about the challenges that are faced on each reservation and those that are particular to each reservation, and the opportunities. It’s not just all about challenges there’s opportunities as well.”
Hart also sees the passing of HB 1242 as a step in the right direction.
“Each Tribal nation in SD issues tribal identification cards to each enrolled member which means there are approximately 72,000 tribal ID carrying citizens of this state. Which means that an entire demographic, who are citizens of the State of South Dakota currently are not allowed to present tribal IDs as a valid form of identification for the purpose of cashing checks wherever check may be cashed or conducting any business where photo IDs are required,” Hart said. “To me personally it’s very racist and bigoted and painful to be refused publicly any service to someone in South Dakota just because they are an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe.”
The 1964 Federal Civil Rights Law states in part that to hinder in any way another person’s attempt to engage in one of six types of federal protected activities, including patronizing a public place or facility because of the person’s race, color, religion or national origin is a federal offense.
“My Tribal ID was recently used to register to vote in Moody County where I live and just last week I used it as an ID in the IRS office in Sioux Falls to pay my taxes and it was accepted, no questions,” he continued. “So please South Dakota remember while voting today, we are your neighbors to the north, your neighbors to the south, your neighbors to the East and your neighbors to the West. We as members of the Great Sioux Nation have been here a long time and we are not planning to go anywhere anytime soon.”
The couple in urging the passing of HB 1242 said, “We humbly and respectfully request that the SD State Legislature pass HB 1242 in support of Governor Daugaard’s good words in his State of the State address ‘We need to know each other as people.’ The passing of this bill is that opportunity.”
(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at email@example.com)
Copyright permission by Native Sun News www.nsweekly.com