Rep. Peters (District 9) Finally debates Wilson, and makes some disheartening statements about Native Americans

According to debate watcher, Ben Birks, it seems Peters thinks Native Americans are born to fail;

Rep. Peters towed the party line on the state budget, the voter feeds on reservations, & South Dakota’s ‘good business climate.’ Rob consistently emphasized that he wants to be senator for all of District 9, focusing on education, trimming the fat in the state’s budget, and keeping good, high-paying jobs in South Dakota.

Though it’s not specific to District 9, one spectator’s question asked how candidates felt about Indian country in South Dakota. Rob’s answer was cogent & to the point, acknowledging the complex problems our neighbors on South Dakota reservations face & the need for practical solutions. Rep. Peters ignored such complexities, saying that Native Americans on South Dakota’s reservations were “genetically pre-disposed” to many of the problems they face such as alcoholism and diabetes.

She even reiterated it later in her response, (i’m paraphrasing) essentially saying that part of the solution for problems facing our reservations is working w/ Native Americans to make them aware of the problems they’re genetically pre-disposed to.

Knowing the history of our relations with American Indians in this country and the ways in which some settlers used alcohol as leverage to exert power over their Indian neighbors, I was taken aback by Rep. Peters’ statements.

This in particular, along with Rep. Peters repeated refusal to acknowledge the failings of current budgeting practices in Pierre, demonstrated for me that Rob is the clear choice for District 9 Senate.

While I have often thought of Peters as your typical do nothing Republican in Pierre who is simply there to protect her own interests as a business person, I never knew she was so insensitive to Native Americans, and what is so surprising is she would show that prejudice in a public debate. But I guess nothing should surprise me anymore, and we will see if our ‘diligent’ local media covers it. Doubt it. Republicans in our state say stupid shit all the time and their supporters love it.



15 comments ↓

#1 Jim on 10.30.10 at 9:47 am

How is that anything other than truth? Indians have issues processing alcohol, big deal. Just because it isn’t nice doesn’t make it false. Oh yes, how is her saying they have a pre-disposition to fail any different than democrats wanting programs to give minorities a leg up? The same thing is being said, just one is more overt.

#2 Mike C on 10.30.10 at 2:14 pm

Jim is right, many things Mrs. Peters said was the truth and dead on, it isn’t pretty, or even politically correct, then often times, the truth rarely is.

#3 Vincent Gormley on 10.30.10 at 2:39 pm

So what is your excuse Jim And Mike C ares you inherently ignorant? Are whites who are alcoholics and diabetics as a result genetically predisposed? It’s so easy to say there is a gene for every condition. Therefor, one can only assume you both have that South Dakota ‘we be stupid and raise our kids to be the same’ gene. You opened this can of worms so ‘man up’ and deal with it. Don’t blame anyone else! I was there. Rep. Peters is flat out wrong! So is anyone who parrots her.

#4 Ben on 10.30.10 at 2:44 pm

The problem with Rep. Peters’ statements is they show a clear lack of understanding about the problems that exist on the reservations. In response to the audience, she repeatedly insisted that education is the key to solving problems on the reservations. This can work in some situations, but if kids have no hope of finding good jobs & are mired in a climate rampant with suicide, alcoholism, & diabetes, you can’t expect education to be the only solution. You need to address the other related issues to get to the heart of the matter.

#5 John2 on 10.30.10 at 9:11 pm

If the mythology Peters and her apologists were true then it would also be true that Indians are more predisposed to alcohol abstinence – since they abstain from alcohol use at a far higher rate than does the US non-Indian population. They are entitled to their opinion but not there own facts. Peters, Jim, and Mike C, and too many others substitute stereotype for thought or analysis.

#6 snark on 10.31.10 at 7:19 am

Wow, this is right up there with the myth that blacks are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent and some people still cling to that idiotic “fact” as well.

I could post reams of peer reviewed, scientific studies that definitively prove this myth false yet some will totally ignore reality to cling to their preconceptions.

#7 Mike C on 10.31.10 at 12:25 pm

Is alcohol and alcoholism a problem on the reservation? When people from the pine ridge reservation set up road blocks to stop the flow of alcohol on to the reservation, I would say it is a problem

http://www.rlnn.com/ArtJune06/TribeBeginBeerBlockade.html

It is not the only problem, in fact alcoholism and some of the other issues cited, high suicide rates, drug use, etc. are only symptoms of a much larger problem. The Democratic party, The State of South Dakota, The United States of America, The United Nations, even the entire universe as a whole can not solve their all of their problems for them. They have to identify and solve their own problems. We can provide them with the tools, and the materials, but they will have to do the work.

It is not going to be a nice, neat, ‘politically correct’ overnight event; rather it is going to be messy, and take time, maybe even several years. Words will be spoken in hate, and yes, blood may even be spilled. The important part is we stand by them and be ready to help them.

#8 l3wis on 10.31.10 at 7:45 pm

Mike – I agree, they need to step up to the plate. But saying they are genetically flawed and bound to fail is unfair.

#9 proud jack on 11.01.10 at 6:07 am

There are some things that are genetically more prevalent in one race than another; that’s a fact. Sickle cell in Blacks, for example. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent, or politically correct. It simply is.

Sometimes things are said in a debate where things are said imprompty (exept if you are Obama with his personal teleprompter) that are not what the person actually meant to say or believes. Why not give Peters a chance to explain her statement?

The fact is that present attitudes of Dems for the most part have solved nothing. They come to the rez, offer food, make promises, tell them to vote for them because they will “help” them, but nothing improves. The rez needs to be gotten rid of and those residents brought into full citizenship of the US, not a separate nation within a nation where some laws apply to them differently and do nothing to bring businesses to the rez. The entitlement mentality which has been forced on the Native Americans needs to be changed to one of personal responsibility; both the gov’t and the people themselves have to accept this reality. The Native Americans were once a proud and self-reliant people, and I believe they can be once again. But not with the present system.

#10 Ben on 11.01.10 at 9:18 am

As much as it might be fun in the current political climate to lambast Dems, let’s remember the Republicans have been in control in Pierre for three decades. In that time, what have they done to help American Indians in South Dakota?

The debate was Rep. Peters opportunity to express herself and she did so very clearly per the previous posts on this wall. She’s a three-term legislator. Let’s not try to paper over her comments & try to re-spin them to our own liking. The words speak for themselves.

#11 Ben on 11.01.10 at 10:04 am

Great quote from Rob in a recent email regarding Rep. Peters’ offensive remarks.

“It isn’t about party identity — its about a sitting elected official who believes problems in Indian Country are a result of bad genes and poor education. The local media and interested groups shouldn’t give her a pass on this, especially right before the election.”

#12 l3wis on 11.01.10 at 7:03 pm

It’s sad, but she’ll skate in.

#13 Ben on 11.02.10 at 12:05 am

You’re wrong, Scott. Today is the day we retire Rep. Peters. Vote Rob Wilson for District 9 Senate!

#14 Ben on 11.02.10 at 12:07 am

Oh, and for the record on this Election Day, District 9’s Republican legislative candidates all get an F in reading directions since they all had campaign signs at Wesley UMC, a polling place clearly designated by the Auditor’s Office as a sign-free location (the operative word being ‘had’).

#15 Mike on 12.03.10 at 7:28 pm

Deb Peters is now the hottest legislator in Pierre! Please make sure Shantel knows she’s still number 2!

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