The Indian Health Service and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board share management duties at the Sioux San Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota. Photo by Kevin Abourezk
Endless debates and good ideas
Thursday, September 17, 2020

The complaints about Tribal Governments go on even as we witness the destruction of so-called democratic ones like the U.S. mire itself in endless chaotic debates from the citizens of states like Michigan wanting to abolish the state’s civil rights commission.

Who thinks that’s a good idea? Well, with people carrying automatic rifles into the capitol building in Lansing, nothing surprises us.

Frankly, one of the things that surprises me about our little world here in Rapid City is that the destruction of the historic Sioux San Indian Health Service hospital as we’ve known it, is really going to happen!  Somehow, I had always thought such an edifice would/could stand the test of time.

Like a lot of others who have been clients there for most of our lives, I didn’t want to face the reality. But now that the Tribal Chairmen’s Board is in charge and they have hired Charlie Abourezk, the son of a long-time and well respected Lebanese-American Senator from our state to advise them, I guess we clients will just stand by and let it happen.  

Some may wonder what the Lebanese have to tell us Indians about good government, but I am being too cynical. My efforts at humor sometimes turn bad.     

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. Courtesy photo

I am told that letters have gone out to certain state and county organizations that they are invited to participate in the dismantling of certain items from the Sioux San that might interest them. 

The looting goes on, doesn’t it?

All of this brings up the reality that laws in America are made up of property concerns and have had as their main agenda, the protection of property. You thought laws were made to protect the people?   

On the contrary, the protection of property has always been the aim of the law. Why and how do you suppose we Americans organized the law for decades to say women, blacks, and Indians were property

I’m told, as we move on from the history of the Sioux San historic edifice, that materials from the old hospital will be distributed as they are of interest to church and community and civil repositories. It is property, after all, not memories nor tradition. 


Support Native media!

Read the rest of the story on Native Sun News Today: Endless debates and good ideas

Professor Elizabeth Cook-Lynn writes a column for The Native Sun News Today, in Rapid City, South Dakota, She is a retired professor of Native Studies and has taught at Eastern Washington University, University of California-Davis and Arizona State University. She is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe in Fort Thompson, South Dakota.

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today