Rapid City Council: Working Session – November 10, 2020
Locals speak out on land swap
Wednesday, November 11, 2020

RAPID CITY, South Dakota –- Around 40 residents showed support for a resolution in Rapid City Council that would take the first steps in resolving three outstanding land deeds that are related to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, but there were around 5 residents who voiced concern for the project.

A few council members noted that a few residents raising concern for the resolution was disconcerting, and so the Native Sun News Today sat down to hear their side of the argument amongst the many proponents.

One of the Rapid City residents against the resolution is Charmaine White Face who provided an open letter to the BIA regional director, Tim LaPointe, which was read at the Rapid City Council meeting. The letter, which is from the Native American Indian Community of Rapid City, SD, and the Black Hills Area Council of Representatives, reads “hearing on the news and reading in the local Rapid City Journal that a couple of individuals were saying they represented the Rapid City American Indian Community was disconcerting as our records show that they have never attended one of our meetings.”

The Native American Indian Community of Rapid City, SD, and the Black Hills Area, as noted by the letter, has voted on a constitution, held monthly meetings for several years, and voted to elect three representatives. Those three representatives are George Jewett, Theresa Spry, and Charmaine White Face, all of whom were not consulted about a land swap in the past years of work.

Both sets of White Face’s grandparents were children who attended the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, and her mother worked at the sanatorium when it was a tuberculosis clinic.

“I remember when the community, the people in the community, lobbied congress so we could have Sioux San made a hospital after they were going to shut it down,” she said. “Now it seems like there are opportunists coming in and trying to speak for the community when we can speak for ourselves.”

White Face describes those who are negotiating a land deal as opportunists, a word chooses carefully.

“I say opportunists because the community cannot and did not have an opportunity to meet about this when, if they were working on this a long time as the mayor said, then why didn’t they come to our community meetings and talk to people?” she asked.

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