Sioux San to remain under IHS controlBy Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Today Staff Writer
nativesunnews.today RAPID CITY – The takeover of management of historic Sioux San Hospital by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, which was touted as a done deal, was upended when the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council voted to rescind their support. On December 20, the Indian Health Service issued the following statement, “Today, the Indian Health Service informed the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board that we are ceasing negotiations on contract proposals regarding the Rapid City Service Unit in South Dakota. The Indian Health Service respects tribal sovereignty and is committed to tribal self-governance and self-determination. This action is the result of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe rescinding its authorization for the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board to enter into agreements with IHS on its behalf." "Therefore, IHS will continue to operate the Rapid City Service Unit and will move forward with plans to construct a replacement facility," the statement continued. "We value our partnership with the tribes we serve and look forward to continuing to work together to provide access to comprehensive, high quality health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Great Plains Area.” The Unified Health Board made up of members from the Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Oglala Lakota Nations were given statutory oversight of the Rapid City Indian Health Facility on the Sioux San campus through a series of resolutions passed by the three tribes and the Pennington County Commissioners.
However many in the Rapid City Indian community maintained that they did not have a voice in the consultation process by which Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board attempted to take over control of Sioux San. Several community meetings were held at the Mother Butler Center sponsored by Rapid City Concerned Indian Community Members which include Charmaine White Face, Mark Lone Hill, Theresa Spry, Jeannie Ashley, Dr. Art Zimiga and Dr. Pat Lee. At those meetings many voiced concern because Rapid City Indians not allowed a vote in tribal elections, and are essentially denied equal representation, a right guaranteed by the U.S. constitution. The issue of voting in tribal elections has been a source of contention between tribes and tribal members living off the reservation for decades.
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