PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION — Kevin Killer, a former South Dakota state senator, has been elected president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST), based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Killer beat incumbent OST President Julian Bear Runner by a 2-to-1 margin. The unofficial tally has Killer winning 2,228 votes to 1,117 votes for Bear Runner.
The OST election took place on Tuesday, the same day Americans nationwide voted for the presidency of the United States.
By OST’s constitution, Killer will be inaugurated on the second Tuesday of December, which is Dec. 8.
“Our Oglala Lakota Nation turned out in the midst of a pandemic to have their voices heard both in the tribal, state, and federal elections. I’m honored to receive our Oglala Lakota Oyate’s support for the office of the president,” Killer told Native News Online on Friday morning. “I look forward to supporting, hearing, and building solidarity for our community at a local, state, and national level.”
After graduating from the Lakota Tribal College, Killer worked for former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). He worked for several years with youth programs and was elected to the South Dakota legislature. He served in the South Dakota State House from 2009 until 2017. He then was elected to the South Dakota State Senate, representing the 27th district that includes the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
He resigned his senate seat to co-found Advance Native Political Leadership, a non-profit which aims to expand Indigenous representation in elected and appointed offices across the United States.
Bear Runner was seeking his second term as OST president.
The OST has about 48,000 tribal citizens. Approximately 32,000 OST citizens live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, one of the nation’s largest reservations.
Support Independent Indigenous Journalism
Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission: We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country. We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.
Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.