Native Sun News: Rapid City mayor denies claim of retaliation

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

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender on the campaign trail. Photo from Facebook

Allender says NSN cut not retaliation
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

RAPID CITY –– On Monday, July 20, Mayor Steve Allender presented the 2016 Budget Proposal to the Rapid City Common Council. In this draft proposal, the newly-elected mayor cut the proposed $40,000 budget of previous years for publishing the City Council Meeting minutes in the Native Sun News.

The following day, Native Sun News met with Mayor Allender to discuss the budget proposal and presented him with financial records from NSN which revealed the actual costs of publishing the minutes at just over $3,000 so far in 2015.

For nearly two years beginning in 2012, efforts towards giving access to city government to the Native American community living in and around Rapid City began as Native Sun News and then-mayor Sam Kooiker worked together to put the City Council Meeting Minutes in the most-read Native American newspaper in the area.

This was highly contested at the time and centrally focused on race relations in Rapid City. Many felt this was the first time Native Americans were welcomed into city administrations.

Publishing the Council’s minutes in NSN was an alternative for those tribal members who do not read the Rapid City Journal, the city’s legal newspaper, for various reasons.

During the interview with Mayor Allender on July 21, Allender spoke openly regarding his decision, saying that 9 of 10 council members understood and supported his decision.

Mayor Allender wanted to “explain two things” during this interview; he did not see the need for the “duplication” by printing the minutes in both the Journal and Native Sun News.

At the time when his decision was made to cut NSN out of the budget, he had only seen the budget “for about ten days” and when he saw $40,000 in the budget proposal, it threw up a red flag, according to Allender.

Secondly, Allender wanted to consider a “better initiative” for the budget with Native Sun News. Allender asked “How could we put these funds to good use for race relations?”

According to Allender, he would consider making contracts with Native Sun News to bring job announcements for all city positions.

When asked by Native Sun News if he would reconsider cutting Native Sun News from the budget now that he has factual cost numbers, Allender replied, “I will reconsider but let’s think together about what this money could be better used for other than council meetings minutes. Something that can be seen as more constructive.”

Mayor Allender is aware of the accusations made against his decision by NSN referring to it as “a retaliation” for recent articles printed by the “Best of the Dakotas” newspaper, to which he simply responded, “That is not true.”

Many organizations around the world use multiple sources of media to reach a larger audience to get their information to the masses. This duplication of information is a common practice utilized daily.

Each week, more than 20,000 people read the physical Native Sun News newspaper around the state and country. In Rapid City alone, there are 4,000 dedicated readers.

Native Sun News articles are distributed to the Associated Press and Native American online news providers like,,,, and It is not uncommon to find NSN articles posted on social media pages like Teton Times, Navajo Times, and Red Power Media.

The total readership of Native Sun News articles about local and tribal stories reaches hundreds of thousands of loyal readers each week, this is a much larger number than the “800” which Allender told the Rapid City Journal recently.

(Contact Richie Richards at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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