PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) –South Dakota’s Indian Education Advisory Council was supposed to hold a special meeting Wednesday afternoon focused on the governor’s push to ban divisive concepts from K-12 classrooms.
But the teleconference fell short of the majority needed for a quorum, as only a handful of the council’s 27 members called in.
Fred Osborn, who is director of the state Office of Indian Education, said the meeting will be rescheduled for Wednesday, May 18, at 1 p.m. CT.
The council’s official roster on the state boards and commissions website looks in need of an update. Two tribal seats are listed as vacant, while two members from the state Board of Education Standards no longer serve, and many members appear only as names without information about where they’re from or how long their current appointments are.
In 2019, Governor Kristi Noem moved the Office of Indian Education to the state Department of Tribal Affairs through a reorganization order. The office had been part of the state Department of Education since Governor Mike Rounds established it in 2007. Since the switch, some on the council wanted the office moved back, but state Tribal Affairs Secretary David Flute fought off legislation.
On Wednesday, Osborn twice asked for patience while attempts went out to get more members onto the call. Twelve minutes after the scheduled start time, he told those waiting, “We still do not have a quorum present.” He added, “However, discussion is allowed.”
There was no discussion. One of the members asked what the office has been doing since the governor issued her anti-CRT executive order on April 5.
“We’re currently awaiting the Department of Education’s determination,” Osborn answered. He said the Office of Indian Education continues to pursue the Oceti Sakowin initiative to make tribal life part of K-12 education. He added, “This is an executive order. We haven’t been required to take any action. That is (for) the Department of Education.”