The Yankton Sioux Tribe votes in a new Business and Claims committee, which governs the tribe, every two years. At the 2017 inauguration, members, old and new, were sworn in this weekend. Now, they’re ready to get to work.

“I’d like to stick, this time, more to the business issues of tribe, trying to bring economic development, you know, farming. Whatever it is, a little business here to our tribe,” said Jason Cooke, Vice-Chairman. 

“We got some main issues too that we got to tackle and those are people issues, they’re tribal law, Indian Health Service, that there needs to be, in the words of the politicians, you know, revamped,” said Sam Sully, Secretary. 

The committee meets every Tuesday to prioritize their goals and how they want to achieve them. 

“I think as a tribe we’re always scared. We’re really kind of scared to go out on a limb and try something which I think we need to start going out and trying. One day we’ll make something happen and that’s just all the backing of our table and our general council,” said Jason Cooke.

Both of these members say they want to see more youth involvement within the community and tribal leadership. 

“Our youth need something to do, so they’re not being idle. They need to have a future, a goal in mind on what they want to do,” said Sully. 

 “Myself, I would like to have a youth council. I have a friend up north and they have a youth council that comes to the table and they present the issues they have,” said Cooke.

Another top priority on the reservation is tackling the drug problem, specifically meth, that’s been affecting older and younger generations. 

“We got to jump on it because it’s an epidemic that’s really hurting our tribe. It’s touchy because as you know, we all have loved ones with that problem,” said Cooke.

Even though the committee only officially meets once a week, they’re always busy helping others out. 

 “Me, I have a big heart for our people. So it’s always about their well-being, where are they going to go. If we can’t take care of our own they’re not going to do it out there,” said Cooke.