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Senator Thune visits Flandreau and Tribal entities

Modified: Thursday, Oct 11th, 2012

Senator John Thune shakes hands with Shoshone Jorgenson, a Junior ROTC member at the Flandreau Indian School, originally from Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Also pictured is Kevin Lahi (Zuni, New Mexico), Robert Eagle Feather (Mission, SD), Nyree Leighton (Mission, SD) and Shannon Hinton (Oglala, SD).

Republican South Dakota Senator John Thune made a visit to the Flandreau community last Tuesday afternoon. Thune took visits to the the Flandreau Indian School, the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe and the Avera Flandreau Hospital during his time in Flandreau.

Senator Thune made his first stop at FIS where he met with a couple of the Junior ROTC cadets as well as administrators from the school. The two sides had a nice meeting where they were able to talk about both the struggles and the opportunities that students at FIS have during the school year. They also chatted about post secondary education and what the school is doing to help provide their students with the best available options after high school.

Sen. Thune then took off to meet with the American Indian Veterans at their Regional Meeting held here. He was able to visit with several tribal veterans and officers. They discussed a recent letter that Thune had drafted to the U.S Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric Shinseki and Director of Indian Health Services (IHS) Dr. Yvette Roubideaux.

The veterans were able to discuss their frustration with the VA and IHS regarding eligibility guidelines, payment of services and much more. Sen. Thune was also presented with the National American Indian Veterans Medallion Award from National Commander Don Loudner.

The next stop for Thune and his associates was at the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe. Thune met with Vice President Cyndi Weddell and some program directors to discuss economic development, housing and infrastructure issues that are impacting the Tribe. Thune was also able to tour the Tate Win Senior Apartment complex and the “Three-Mile Road” that is scheduled to be paved in 2013.

The final stop for Thune was at the Avera Flandreau Hospital where he met with medical staff and Mayor Mark Bonrud. The group discussed Medicare reimbursement, telehealth, electronic medical records and several other issues that are important to a rural health care facility. He toured the new hospital expansion and met with the Mayor about future infrastructure improvements and the significance of the hospital to the Flandreau community.

Overall, all sides thought the visit was informative and could be considered productive for the future of the Flandreau community.

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