“We feel that our voices were not heard” – Cheyenne River Chairman slams Biden admin for lack of action

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — Strong criticism coming from Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier following the Biden Administration’s recent “Tribal Nations Summit,” which was held virtually November 15 and 16.

“We feel that our voices were not heard,” Chairman Frazier says.

The Summit, touted as an opportunity for robust dialogue between the federal government and tribes, focused on issues like COVID-19 response,  public safety, and infrastructure – all major issues for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

Frazier says CRST tribal leadership was looking forward to having their voices heard but were wholly overlooked.

“There’s a lot of major issues affecting our people, so I was planning on trying to participate in all the areas that they provided,” he says.

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Frazier says tribal leadership registered and followed all the instructions they were told to, but were not given the opportunity to participate.

A paramount concern? Infrastructure.

Cheyenne River is the fourth largest reservation by land area in the United States. Chairman Frazier says least one family in that 1.4-million-acre area are currently living without water due to aging and outdated water and sewage treatment systems. Cheyenne River also does not have a culvert program.

“We do need some infrastructure dollars as far as our water and sewer systems, so [we’re] kind of happy about that,” Chairman Frazier says. “Other issues… there’s a concern as well [that] things that they’re funding things that really have no significance to us and to our region.”

Frazier says that money is badly needed to fix roads, add culverts, and repair sewage lines.

“And right now…we only get $1.6 million a year to try and fix 1,500 miles of road, and you just can’t do that,” he says.

Frazier’s message for the Biden administration?

“Hey, don’t leave anybody behind. And right now I feel that here on the reservations – and I’ve been in this game enough to realize – that we’re always going to be left out…not just the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, but the Great Plains region in general.”

Frazier says he has reached out to the White House multiple times and has not yet seen any resolution to his concerns.

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