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South Dakota

Native Americans And White Farmers Form An Unlikely Alliance

South Dakota - Since 2010, Joye Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, has fought the construction of oil and gas pipelines in her region, working to protect sacred places where her forebears hunted and fished and lived and died. In many of those battles, Braun came up against white ranchers and farmers who supported the pipelines and received fees from the developers for the use of their land. Today, Braun is opposing a huge new pipeline that would transport carbon dioxide across five Midwestern states — Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. But this time she finds herself in an unusual alliance with white landowners who are also against the pipeline, like Ed Fischbach, a South Dakota farmer.

Small-Town Residents Get Creative In Black Hills Uranium Mine Fight

Hot Springs, South Dakota – A budding national reputation for healing mineral waters spawned this town of 3,400 in the early 1900s. Appreciative of that source, today’s area residents have fended off proposed radioactive uranium mining in the aquifers for more than four decades. This summer of 2022, they scored a breakthrough. They collected enough signatures to obtain a ballot measure that would declare the activity a “nuisance” in Fall River County. If the measure passes in the county’s Nov. 8 general election, then an interested party could take legal action to prevent or stop the nuisance, according to South Dakota law.

Complaint Filed On South Dakota Senators For Unlawful Activity

Rapid City, SD - A complaint has been filed with the Senate Ethics Committee in Washington, DC, regarding unlawful activity by both South Dakota Senators, Mike Rounds (R-SD) and John Thune (R-SD). Electronically filed with the Senate Ethics Committee on May 26, 2022, the Complaint was sent in by four former patients of the Sioux San Indian Health Service Health Facility (Sioux San) in Rapid City. The complaint states that both Senators pressured the Indian Health Service (IHS) to enter into an unlawful contract for the administration of the Sioux San IHS Health Facility with one of their own non-profit corporations, a data collection agency called the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board (GPTLHB). The corporation changed the historic name of the Sioux San to the Oyate Health Center (OHC).

Grand Gateway Hotel Refuses Service To Native Americans

On Wednesday, March 23, NDN Collective filed a federal civil rights class action lawsuit  against the Grand Gateway Hotel for refusing service to Native Americans in Rapid City. This lawsuit comes after the owner of the hotel, Connie Uhre, made public statements on social media  stating her intent to ban all Native Americans from the hotel and the attached Cheers Lounge after a shooting occurred at the hotel over the weekend involving Native Americans, stating she can’t tell “who is a bad Native or a good Native.” Following the statements made by Uhre, Native American staff of the NDN Collective were denied rooms at the Grand Gateway Hotel on two separate occasions. NDN Collective Director of Racial Equity Sunny Red Bear attempted to book a room on Monday, March 21, and was told by the front desk attendant that the Grand Gateway Hotel does not allow local residents to book hotel rooms, stating that this was a policy due to the fact that rooms allegedly were getting “trashed” by locals.

Native Groups File Federal Lawsuit Against South Dakota Hotel

Hundreds of protestors marched in the streets and gathered outside a South Dakota courthouse Wednesday to celebrate the filing of a lawsuit against a Rapid City hotel whose owner said she would ban Native Americans from property. The demonstrators marched through downtown Rapid City with drums and carried tribal flags and banners, including one that read “We will not tolerate racist policies and practices.” The march was organized by three advocacy organizations — NDN Collective, the American Indian Movement and Cheyenne River Grassroots Collective — that also filed the federal civil rights class action lawsuit. Attorney Brendan Johnson, a former U.S. attorney who represents the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit, said the “rest of the world” needs to know what’s going on in Rapid City, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Hundreds Demand Resignation Of South Dakota Public Officials

Yesterday, NDN Collective’s Education Equity team led hundreds of Indigenous people and allies from across the state in the Oceti Sakowin March for Our Children, demanding the resignation of numerous SD Public Officials for their roles in the newly proposed social studies standards that blatantly erase Oceti Sakowin history. Last month, NDN Collective responded to the blatant erasure of Oceti Sakowin history in newly proposed standards, and called on supporters to call elected officials, the Secretary of Education, and their local school districts to advocate against this erasure. Oceti Sakowin Community Academy — the Indigenous-led school being opened by NDN Collective in partnership with the NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN) — will open for kindergarten students this fall.

Tribal Leaders React To Removal Of Native Americans in Curriculum

Sioux Falls, S.D.  — A draft of Social Studies content standards has been released by the Department of Education. The draft of standards released differ in some ways from the initial proposal, which was submitted by the Social Studies Standards Revision Workgroup, made up primarily of educators from across the state. The main way that the standards appear to be altered in the removal of references to Native American culture and history. Some examples of this are the removal of Kindergarten history standard K.H.6.1: ‘Read or listen to Oceti Sakowin Oyate stories, such as Iktomi stories and historical lore stories,’ and of Grade 4 history standard 4.H.6.1: ‘Explain how the Oceti Sakowin and Oyate culture and other groups were affected by westward expansion, the creation of the reservation system, and the US assimilation policies and programs.’

US Supreme Court Rejects Case On Native American Sovereignty

Rapid City, South Dakota - In a devastating blow to the Self-Determination of all Native American Indian Tribes in the United States, the Supreme Court denied the Petition in the case, Gilbert v. Weahke. In doing so, the Justices also violated Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Indian Self-Determination Act, the Lanham Act, the Transfer Act, and the Abstention Doctrine. The case began when a federal agency, the Indian Health Service (IHS), gave an Indian Self-Determination Act multi-million dollar contract to a South Dakota non-profit corporation to manage the Sioux San IHS Hospital in Rapid City, SD. As the South Dakota non-profit corporation was not a Tribal Organization under the jurisdiction of any tribe and without federal recognition, this was a violation of Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA).

Union Vote Authorizes Strike At Smithfield Foods In Sioux Falls

South Dakota - A strike authorization at the Sioux Falls chapter of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union was overwhelmingly approved late Monday with 98% of the vote total, the union said. However, union leaders said they hope to avoid a work stoppage as they prepared to meet with company representatives. Meatpacking workers have become emboldened after a virus outbreak at the plant last year killed four workers and infected nearly 1,300. The union is demanding that Smithfield boost its wage offerings in a four-year contract to match those at a JBS pork plant in the region, as well as make several other concessions on break times and employee health insurance costs. “We’re not going to change our stand,” said B.J. Motley, the president of the local union.

The Self Determination Of Native Americans Hinges On This Supreme Court Case

A case brought before the United States Supreme Court by three Native American women, who have been representing themselves, may decide the future of the 1975 Indian Self Determination Act. Clearing the FOG speaks with Charmaine White Face, a petitioner in the case, about her fight to stop the privatization of an Indian Health Service facility, Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City South Dakota, that serves 325 tribes in the area. She describes how the privatization is harming the health of the people who use this historic hospital. To her knowledge, this is the first effort to privatize an Indian Health Service hospital. If the privatization is allowed to continue, which has been done without the consent of the people who are impacted, it will set a dangerous precedent for all tribes and allow any federal agency to take a similar illegal action.

Help Three Native American Women Save Their Hospital

When Donna Gilbert asked me to be a part of her lawsuit, I immediately said yes. After having survived three other lawsuits, I should have been leery. But when peoples’ lives are at stake, it is not hard to make a hard decision. Initially it was the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court (OST). It was my son’s idea to go to the Tribal Court because we knew what the outcome would be. The OST court would dismiss our case because the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB) was under the jurisdiction of the state of South Dakota and was not a Tribal Organization. But we needed this verified by a court. We also knew that the other federal courts would acknowledge the Tribal court ruling, or were supposed to. It would be a win for the OST Court and for the patients who use Sioux San Hospital. As it turned out, the federal District Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals both ignored and disregarded the OST court ruling.

Governor Signs Executive Orders Barring Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) has signed executive orders barring transgender athletes from women’s sports in the state. “Only girls should play girls’ sports,” Noem tweeted on Monday. “Given the legislature’s failure to accept my proposed revisions to HB 1217, I am immediately signing two executive orders to address this issue: one to protect fairness in K-12 athletics, and another to do so in college athletics.” The executive orders direct the state’s Department of Education and Board of Regents to align its policies so only those who are biologically female can participate in women’s sports.  Last week, Noem refused to sign the GOP bill barring transgender athletes from women’s sports.

Two Native Americans Arrested Over Keystone XL Protests

As many Trump supporters who stormed the nation’s Capitol appear poised to evade punishment, two young Native Americans from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota have been arrested and charged for peacefully protesting construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline (KXL). Jasilyn Charger (24) and Oscar High Elk (30) were booked by law enforcement after independent protest actions. The two are among a group of tribal members who have formed a resistance encampment on their reservation, near where the long-disputed pipeline would pass, should it be completed. “At a time when white rioters are being let off the hook after raiding the nation’s Capitol and driving legislators into hiding, Native Americans and other people of color are still being dealt harsh criminal charges for...

Lockdown To Stop The Keystone XL Pipeline

Live from Sovereign Oceti Sakowin Territory in so-called Haakon county, South Dakota at one of many active and illegal KXL Crude Oil Pipeline Pump Stations. Illegal Construction on Treaty Lands. Protectors have notified officials and filed a complaint about the unlawful construction and peace treaty violations.. but nothing has been done. The desecration & disrespect continues. So what do we do when our leaders don't act, don't protect us and sell us out? We stand up and speak up. Peaceful resistance is the only thing we have left.

Houseless Camp: ‘It’s A Sovereign Place’

Rapid City, SD - When Lakota activists set up a camp for homeless relatives in this Black Hills town last month, the police descended immediately and shut it down. The response? The activists quickly moved the encampment to trust land just outside of town.  Today the camp, built on traditional values and teachings, is flourishing. “They’re giving the people a chance to have somewhere to sleep and live like they used to a long time ago, like the ancestors, you know? ”
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