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Rapid City Council: Meeting – November 16, 2020
Amended Sioux San land swap passes 9-1
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

RAPID CITY, South Dakota — An amended resolution for a land swap to resolve three outstanding land deeds associated with the Rapid City Indian Boarding School lands was passed 9-1 in Rapid City Council on Monday, November 16. The resolution was not presented to the public prior to the meeting and council members only had a day to review the material.

Ritchie Nordstrom, who was indicated as one of the authors of the amended resolution with Heather Dawn Thompson and Greg Strommen, made the motion to approve. He said that the three main changes from the original resolution was the replacement of the word “swap” for “exchange”, set a hard due date of June 30, 2021, and set the compensation at $20 million.

Tatewin Means. Courtesy photo

Council member Darla Drew then called on Tatewin Means, a citizen in support of the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands Project, and asked who all supported the new and revised amendment. Means presented a long list of elders, individuals, and organizations. Means, however, was one of a few citizens in the audience for the meeting which was a stark contrast from previous meetings where many people showed support.

Greg Strommen, one of the creators of the amended resolution and previous outspoken opponent to the original resolution, said “I am kind of a bottom line guy and I thought that the bottom line here was a good bottom line and that is to come up with a way, a coalition, to fund then to build a cultural heritage center that honors the Native Americans right here in Rapid City.”

“I think our community, our state, our nation can benefit from that,” Strommen said.

Former Rapid City Central High School principal Pat Jones voiced concern for the resolution but admitted that something for the Native American population needed to be done.

“We are going to do something. Whether it is this, or something else, we are going to do something,” said Jones. “I just don’t know that this, as presented to us, is exactly the right thing for us to do right now.”

Jones, council member from Ward 1, was the only dissenting vote.

Council member John Roberts of Ward 4 was concerned that passing a resolution that was not made public prior to the meeting would result in an open meeting violation. Rapid City Attorney Joel Landeen replied that resolutions do not need to be made public prior to voting like ordinances, and that the amended resolution was very similar to the original resolution.


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