Dakota Rural Action (DRA) organizes people and builds leadership while developing strong allied relationships. We protect environmental resources, advocate for resilient agriculture systems, and empower people to create policy change that strengthens their communities and cultures.
We envision an active and engaged membership promoting healthy, beautiful, and just food, agriculture, and energy systems that protect clean air, water, and soil for all the current and future inhabitants of South Dakota.
How we are organized
Dakota Rural Action is structured on three levels:
1. REGIONAL NETWORK
DRA is a member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils. WORC is a regional network of grassroots community organizations that include 12,200 members and 39 local chapters across 7 western states. WORC helps member groups succeed by providing training and coordinating issue work, and is in turn led by a board of directors made up of member leaders from its member organizations. Based in Billings, Montana, WORC has field offices in Montrose, Colorado, and Washington, D.C.
2. STATEWIDE ORGANIZATION
DRA is a democratically controlled, member-based organization. Based in Brookings, South Dakota, DRA is a 501(c(3) tax exempt non-profit organization. It is led by a board of directors who provide oversight to our staff.
3. LOCAL CHAPTERS
Many of DRA’s members belong to one of our local chapters working in communities across the state. Our chapters help advance our mission on the local level and make South Dakota an even better place to live, work and play. Join one of our local chapters today and help us build a better South Dakota!
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
Dakota Rural Action grew out of a steering committee called the South Dakota Rural Organizing Project (SDROP) which began in late 1985, who wanted a sustained, effective organizing response largely because of the farm crisis. The steering committee worked with the St. Paul-based Family Farm Organizing Resource Center (FFORC), which provided organizational development assistance, handled the books and served as fiscal agent. A full time lead organizer was employed May, 1986 and a voter education staff was employed in fall of 1986 to work with SDROP. It became evident that the effort needed to be focused on the cause of the farm crisis, not the effect, and Dakota Rural Action became the non-profit, non-partisan, community based organization it is today. DRA held its organizational meeting on January 10, 1987 at which time by-laws were adopted, an organizational structure was established, membership dues were set, and an issues platform was voted on by those in attendance. After the organizational meeting, DRA worked to build its base in earnest.
Resolutions and Statements
Dakota Rural Action’s adopted resolutions are a guide for our members on how we stand on certain issues.
Resolutions are reviewed every year at our annual meeting by our members and board of directors. Decisions around additions, edits, and removal of resolutions occurs when there is a need to add new resolutions to reflect our position on a new issue, to update our position on an issue, or to strike from the books something that is no longer an issue.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Are you interested in learning more? Do you want to become a member? Contact us at email@example.com or call our offices at 605-697-5204.
INCLUSION, RESPECT, TOLERANCE, EQUALITY, EQUITY AND JUSTICE (adopted 2017, amended 2020)
WHEREAS, accounts of incidents of hate targeted at groups such as: Native-American, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Arab, Jewish, Latino, African-American, Asian, female, people with disabilities, refugee, immigrant, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two spirited and other vulnerable community members have been reported to police, on social media, and to advocacy organizations across the nation and in South Dakota; and
WHEREAS, all land now known as South Dakota is land stolen from the Oceti Sakowin, The Seven Council Fires, the Great Sioux Nation, and
WHEREAS, people were stolen from their homelands, enslaved, and forced to come to what is now known as the United States and it territories for the economic benefit of white people, and
WHEREAS, many marginalized groups of people including but not limited to Native Americans, American Indians, and Alaskan Natives, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ2SIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer, two spirit, intersex, asexual), persons who are houseless, and persons not U. S. citizens both documented and undocumented by the U.S.government and residing in South Dakota are hurting and fearful as a result of the rise of discrimination or the rhetoric of exclusion and vilification; and
WHEREAS, MMIWCM (Murdered and Missing Women, Children and Men) numbers continue to increase as a result of an increase in activity by extractive industries, lack of empathy of law enforcement from state and federal government; and
WHEREAS, under the strong Indigenous female/women leadership continues to build such community building programs such as, but not limited to, Native voting rights, feeding programs for families in isolation due to COVID, safe sleeping spaces for unhoused relatives, birthing and healing programs, food justice and food rights, food harvesting and preservation, language and traditional knowledge programs; and
WHEREAS, there is a national #LANDBACK movement led by Native Americans and Alaska Natives to regain stolen land; and
WHEREAS, our communities draw strength from the diversity of people including age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language; physical and mental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; political ideology; and perspective; and
WHEREAS, the United States and South Dakota’s Constitutions support the peaceful exercise of free speech and assembly for all people; now
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Dakota Rural Action seek out and become good allies to a variety of Native led organizations and grassroot efforts, encourages employers, organizations and governmental entities to uphold justice, provide equality and equity of opportunity for all, actively encourage all voices to be heard, promote inclusion, and oppose acts of intolerance or discrimination; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DRA strives to an ally and seeks counsel from our friends on ways we can better achieve this goal, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that DRA opposes the enactment by the State Legislature or by local ordinance any measure that would discriminate.