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Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament

The following story was written and reported by Richie Richards, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Lakota Nation Invitational board members and community leaders at the .Prairie Edge Galleries in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Richie Richards

LNI Board and business owners mix
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY –– As the prospect of the Lakota Nation Invitational tournament finding a new host town and facility in South Dakota was looming, Prairie Edge Galleries of downtown Rapid City hosted a meet and greet mixer for local business owners, city officials, concerned citizens, and LNI Board members.

Prairie Edge General Manager Dan Tribby and owner Ray Hillenbrand hosted a community reception complete with a full spread of appetizers and desserts for attendees to enjoy. The ambiance of peace and history in Prairie Edge was a choice setting for matters of discussion involving business and racial issues in Rapid City.

Tribby said that he would like to see this type of reception for the community and LNI Board an annual event. He said, “I would like to make this a yearly event, perhaps in October before the LNI and just a way to welcome LNI and show our support.”

A prayer by Pastor Larry Salway of the He Sapa New Life Church, both in Lakota and English, joined the crowd together as he spoke of working together for the betterment of Rapid City.

Mayor Sam Kooiker was in attendance, as well as City Council Members Ritchie Nordstrom (Ward 2), Ron Weifenback (Ward 1), and Darla Drew (Ward 5) also were present and intermingling with guests.

The amount of revenue generated in Rapid City during LNI, depending on which person is quoted, ranges from three million to six million dollars. This is a major bargaining chip for the LNI Board who has said in the past they would like to stay in Rapid City if things would change.

The Board was feeling the pressure from the Oglala Sioux Tribal council who had wanted the tournament moved to another city in South Dakota. In February, the tribal leaders said they will boycott the event if it is held in Rapid City.

Recently, the OST Council banned Rapid City Journal and attorney Patrick Duffy from the reservation for mistakes in journalism and representing Trace O’Connell in court.

The incident at the Rush Hockey Game on Jan. 24 changed the game of racism for many in Rapid City and for visitors from the reservations. Both Natives and non-Natives alike have been making stands against racism and voicing their intentions to unite.

The LNI Board of Directors voted to keep the tournament in Rapid City later in the week.

(Contact Richie Richards at

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