Lower Brule Tribe, Lyman County agree on electing commission
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota county and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe have finalized an agreement that will give a tribal member a seat on the Lyman County Board of Commissioners to settle a lawsuit over changing the county’s election system that had kept tribal members from winning a seat on the board.
The tribe and county finalized an agreement Thursday for one of the commissioners, Brian Kraus, to resign from the five-member board so that the board could appoint a member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.
It will mark the first time a member of the tribe will hold a seat on the board that oversees the county, the Native American Rights Fund said in a statement. The county contains part of the Lower Brule reservation and has a Native American population of 38%, but previously voted at-large for commissioners.
Lyman County and the tribe had agreed that the county must establish two commissioner positions chosen by Native American voters, but the tribe sued after that system would not be implemented until 2024.
“This agreement ensures that reservation voters may elect representatives to advocate for people that live on the reservation and be part of the team working for solutions,” Lower Brule Sioux Tribe member Stephanie Bolman-Altamirano, who sued the county, said in a statement.
The county also agreed to pay $150,000 in expenses and legal fees