By BYRON L. DORGAN / NEW YORK TIMES / July 10,2013
Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, served in the House from 1981 to 1992 and in the Senate from 1992 to 2011. He is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
WASHINGTON — WHEN I retired in 2011 after serving 30 years in Congress, there was one set of issues I knew I could not leave behind. I donated $1 million of unused campaign funds to create the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, because our country has left a trail of broken promises to American Indians.
As chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I once toured a school near an Indian reservation where I encountered a teacher who told me that when she asked a young Indian student what she wanted for Christmas, she said she wanted the electricity turned on in her house so she could study at night.
That type of story is all too familiar. I believe that American Indian children are the country’s most at-risk population. Too many live in third-world conditions. A few weeks ago, I traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It’s hard just to get there. A two-hour drive from Rapid City brings you to Shannon County, the second poorest county in the United States. (more…)