Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper

Seth is editor-in-chief of South Dakota Searchlight. He was previously a supervising senior producer for South Dakota Public Broadcasting and a newspaper journalist in Rapid City and Mitchell.

COMMENTARY
A sunrise silhouette of the entrance to the Wounded Knee Massacre memorial in South Dakota. (Getty Images)

Success brings Rounds an opportunity on Wounded Knee medals

By: - January 13, 2023

Senator Mike Rounds deserves praise for his recent repeal of laws that discriminated against Native Americans. There’s a related issue he should consider next: the medals awarded for the Wounded Knee Massacre. Rounds, a Republican from South Dakota, has momentum on Native American legislation from the passage of his bill that wiped away 11 egregious […]

Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chairman Peter Lengkeek delivers the annual State of the Tribes address to lawmakers on Jan. 12, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Tribal chairman calls for collaboration; Noem spokesman responds with criticism

By: and - January 12, 2023

UPDATED 7:30 p.m. Central, 1/12/23 PIERRE — A tribal chairman said Thursday that better collaboration is needed among tribal and state officials on deadly storms, and Gov. Kristi Noem’s spokesman responded by describing that assertion and others as a “message of division” that perpetuated “false narratives.” Crow Creek Sioux Tribe Chairman Peter Lengkeek delivered the […]

Court documents in the Danielle Blakney case. (Illustration by South Dakota Searchlight)

Woman pleads guilty to another crime 11 days after sentence reduction by Noem

By: - January 5, 2023

A woman released from prison less than two weeks ago by Gov. Kristi Noem has pleaded guilty to another criminal charge that was pending while the woman was in prison. Danielle Blakney, 30, of Spearfish, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lawrence County court to one count of simple assault. As part of a plea agreement, the […]

Smoke rises from a controlled burn that escaped and became a wildfire in 2015 at Wind Cave National Park. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Climate change is pushing wildfire smoke farther east in South Dakota

By: - January 3, 2023

South Dakotans like to brag about their clean air, and for the most part, they’re right. But that boast isn’t as true as it once was, especially in the half of the state to the right of the Missouri River on a map – a region known as East River. Five East River cities have […]

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to supporters on Nov. 7, 2022, in Rapid City. (Kevin Eilbeck for South Dakota Searchlight)

Noem goes against board, victims’ families and review process to reduce prison sentences

By: - December 30, 2022

When Gov. Kristi Noem reduced seven prisoners’ sentences recently, she overruled the Board of Pardons and Paroles in one case, went against some victims’ family members she hadn’t contacted, and may have violated her own executive order. The governor issued the sentence reductions, called “commutations,” on Christmas Eve. A news release said all seven people […]

COMMENTARY
(Tupper family photos)

In search of a Christmas tree, we found a tradition

By: - December 24, 2022

My wife and I didn’t realize how much we didn’t know about trees until we moved next door to the Black Hills National Forest eight years ago. That was natural for a pair of small-town, eastern South Dakota flatlanders. I grew up in Kimball and my wife grew up in Armour. Single acres of Black […]

The view from O.J. Semans' rural Mission home during two rounds of extreme winter weather in December 2022. (Courtesy of O.J. Semans)

Rosebud Tribe struggles to clear roads as blizzard contributes to at least one death

By: and - December 23, 2022

The situation is grim on the Rosebud Reservation after two rounds of severe winter weather pummeled the area, contributing to at least one death. Many people remain snowed-in and some have run out of propane for their furnaces, causing tribal residents to fear there may be more deaths from the cold. Wayne Boyd, chief of […]

Some members of the audience applaud a speaker (not pictured) during a Dec. 8, 2022, Board of Regents meeting at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/SD Searchlight)

Critics berate regents about drag show, and senator pledges to bring legislation

By: - December 8, 2022

After the leader of the state’s university system announced “process improvements” in response to controversy about a recent drag show, critics denounced the handling of the show and a state senator pledged legislation to address it. The show took place Nov. 16 at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Some commenters on social media praised […]

The South Dakota Board of Regents prepares to meet on Dec. 8, 2022, at South Dakota Mines in Rapid City. (Seth Tupper/SD Searchlight)

Head of state universities orders compliance with Noem’s TikTok ban

By: - December 8, 2022

The executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents says the state’s higher education system will obey a new TikTok ban on state devices, and state universities will delete the various TikTok accounts they currently operate. Regents Executive Director Brian Maher made the announcement Thursday during a regularly scheduled Board of Regents meeting at […]

The village of Lower Brule on the Lower Brule Reservation, near the Big Bend of the Missouri River. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Lawsuit brings tribe a seat on county commission

By: - December 7, 2022

A county commissioner in South Dakota will resign and be replaced by a Native American tribal member as the result of a voting rights lawsuit. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe filed the lawsuit against Lyman County in May. Much of the tribe’s reservation is within the county, on the western bank of the Missouri River […]

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, speaks during a Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on Jan. 27, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)

Rounds criticizes Trump’s call for ‘termination’ of the Constitution

By: - December 5, 2022

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, is criticizing former president Donald Trump for proposing the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution. Rounds issued a written statement by email Monday afternoon. “Americans have a deep appreciation for the Constitution and our Founding Fathers who risked their lives to establish it,” Rounds’ statement said, in part. “As elected […]

A sign identifies a repository near Edgemont where 4 million tons of radioactive tailings from a former uranium mill have been buried since the 1980s. (Seth Tupper/South Dakota Searchlight)

Voters get their say on uranium mining in Fall River County

By: - November 3, 2022

After years of arguing from opposite sides of a mining debate, Mark Hollenbeck and Susan Henderson are about to learn what their friends and neighbors think. Voters in Fall River County will consider a local ballot measure in the Nov. 8 general election. If approved, the measure would designate uranium mining as an unlawful nuisance […]