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SD tribes seek repeal of law banning them from Minnesota

December 20, 2019 GMT

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Tribes in South Dakota are trying again to gain state legislative support to repeal an archaic law that bans them from Minnesota.

The State-Tribal Relations Committee voted this week to introduce a resolution during the 2020 legislative session requesting that Congress repeal the 1863 Dakota Removal Act.

The law forced Native Americans onto South Dakota reservations following the 1862 conflict that included the mass hanging of 38 Dakota men.

Minnesota passed a resolution supporting its repeal in 2009. The South Dakota Senate State Affairs Committee, without any discussion, failed to pass the same resolution during the 2019 session.

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Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said it is not an attempt to change history, it’s an attempt to right a wrong.

“There’s lots of things that have happened in the history of our country and the history of our state that we can address and we can address it in a proper fashion that isn’t meant to poke anybody in the eye or cause controversy,” he said.

Republican Rep. Tamara St. John, a historian for the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe, said she’s concerned that repealing it could impact legal precedents based on the act, specifically a lawsuit involving Mdewakanton Sioux members in Minnesota that has not been resolved.

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