Author, historian Robert Wright speaks to C-Span about Sioux Falls

Crews with C-Span are in Sioux Falls this week filming interviews to be used in an upcoming weekend of programming on their networks.
We were able to be there when the crew sat down with Robert Wright, an author and Economic Historian at Augustana University.
Part of what Wright told them focuses on something he calls a "grossly inferior system".

C-Span's decision to focus on Sioux Falls isn't a hit and miss affair. All this week crews with the network will be scouring Sioux Falls to really learn about what happenes here and why it happens. C-Span producer Ashley Hill says, "We're here in your community, we see how you live, we're interacting with the people here."

One of the people C-Span wanted to talk to was Robert Wright. "Everyone thinks it's just Mount Rushmore but its a lot more than that." Wright is the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University; the author of 19 books and counting. "Sometimes the folks here don't realize what they have which is a thriving, entrepreneurial culture that's been around for essentially since the Gold Rush in the Black Hills."

Wright says C-Span should be interested in Sioux Falls with its strong business climate, low unemployment rate and diversified economy that has weathered some rough storms. "When the financial crisis hit a decade ago it barely effected out here."

But Wright says he also talked with the C-Span crew about the crushing poverty on South Dakota's Indian reservations. "Indians are subjected to a different form of political economy, a grossly inferior system of political economy, that's directed basically from Washington."

Wright believes the agency that oversees life on the reservations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, needs to be reformed into a more effective organization. "That's why Rosebud and Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River resemble third world countries because they're essentially governed as if they were 3rd world countries."

You can see C-Span's coverage of Sioux Falls on the weekend of November 4th and 5th on C-Span 2 and C-Span 3.