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The Sioux San Hospital is an Indian Health Service facility in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Colorado National Guard Medical Detachment

Sioux San: A case of legalized land theft
Sixteen historic buildings slated to be torn down
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Today Correspondent
nativesunnews.today

RAPID CITY –– In the spring of 1948 the US Congress passed an act that authorized “the Secretary of the Interior to make certain dispositions of the Sioux Sanatorium Farm.” They were urged to this action by the City of Rapid City, the South Dakota State National Guard, the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, and the Rapid City Catholic Church.

The Sioux San lands, “not necessary for the administration and operation of the Sioux Indian Sanatorium,” were granted to the following: (1) City (2) Schools (3) South Dakota National Guard and (4) Churches. Number five on the list was “needy Indians.”

Between 1948 and 1964 the Department of Interior (DOI) gave 152.366 acres of Sanatorium land to construct three schools: Canyon Lake Elementary, West Middle School and Stevens High School. In 1949 the DOI gave the city 207.10 acres for Sioux Park and Rapid City Municipal Park.

Between 1949 and 1958 the DOI gave 182.96 acres were given to ten different religious organizations.

By 2014 only three parcels remained: the Sioux San campus, the Boarding School Hill, and Cemetery Hill. Back in 1952, according to a DOI Memorandum to the Record dated April 3, 1969, the Mayor’s Committee on Human Relations requested Indians be allowed to settle on lands remaining under the jurisdiction of the BIA. The DOI response was: “The Area Director and Washington Office carefully considered the matter and determined that the problems which would be created by using the land for settlement of Indians outweighed the advantages. The major problems were law and order, sanitation and other municipal functions.”

A 20-acre parcel of land north of Rapid City was purchased by the committee for “needy Indians” for $2000. It was named Sioux Addition, and apparently the DOI did not feel law enforcement, sanitation and other municipal functions would be a problem at this site, although no rationale why that should be was ever provided. Of the original Sioux Sanatorium Farm lands, exactly zero acres were ever set aside for needy Indians.

During this entire time no tribe was ever given a voice in the taking of this acreage. Over the years the concept of actually consulting the tribes over Sioux San land or health care has been a slowly evolving process.


Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Sioux San: A case of legalized land theft

(Contact James Giago Davies at skindiesel@msn.com)

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