An association of Native American tribes in South Dakota has endorsed Democrat Matt Varilek in the U.S. House race.

Varilek announced the endorsement from the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association on Monday, Native American Day in South Dakota. The association includes leaders from all nine tribes in the state.

Oglala Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele said in a Varilek news release that the Democrat is knowledgeable about Native treaties and would work for the tribes and people of South Dakota overall. Yellow Bird Steele noted Varilek's previous work as a staffer for Democratic U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, a popular political figure on South Dakota reservations.

"Matt Varilek has made several visits to the Pine Ridge Reservation to meet with the Oglalas and has demonstrated his commitment to work with us, unlike his opponent," Yellow Bird Steele said.

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Varilek is trying to defeat first-term Republican incumbent Rep. Kristi Noem.

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