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Native Sun News: Deadwood mayor welcomes Native culture

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

Deadwood Mayor Charles Turbiville, back row second from left and Tom Rensch, back row third from left, stand with Troy Fairbanks, back row third from right, and his Buffalo Dreamers. Photo by Richie Richards

Deadwood mayor open arms to Native events
By Richie Richards
Native Sun News Staff Writer

DEADWOOD –– Once a lawless town illegally acquired during the Black Hills Gold Rush of 1874 through the broken Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, Deadwood has since become a booming tourist destination and continuing economic commodity of South Dakota.

Since these early days of colonial intrusion the Native American representation in Deadwood has been minimal and the town has not had regular indigenous performances on the streets or in the casinos for some time.

In the theme of working towards positive race relations in the region, Mayor Charles “Chuck” Turbiville of Deadwood along with Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel & Gaming Complex, Managing Partner Tom Rensch would like to invite Native American organizations to bring their events, seminars, banquets and large conventions to Deadwood.

Included in this open invitation for tribal business, Rensch would like to offer incentives and discounts at Silverado for persons attending events; including banquet catering, casino gambling, hotel reservations, and other hospitality amenities. According to Rensch, other casinos and hotels on are on board as well.

“We’d like to invite Native American tribes and organizations in the region and nation to take a look at what Deadwood has to offer and consider us for events in the future. We are not trying to take business away from places like Ramkota in Rapid City, but would just like to present Deadwood as another option,” says Rensch.

Deadwood is full of several large event spaces including Deadwood Convention Center at The Lodge which can accommodate up to 1,700 people with four adjoining rooms for multiple sessions meeting at once.

In this approach for bringing a Native American presence back to this Historical Landmark, the Silverado Managing Partner has already made steps towards progressive actions by inviting and featuring the Buffalo Dreamers dance group for daily performances on the top of Main Street.

Troy Fairbanks told Native Sun News, “Tom made all of this possible. We have not experienced the Indian/White controversy like in other places. There has been no adverse language and the whole town has welcomed us with open arms.”

Of the Buffalo Dreamers premiere performance on Main Street, Rensch says, “The performance is so authentic to our visitors and tourists. The people just love it. It really adds to the historic feel of Deadwood. And Troy is awesome. He engages with the audience and he’ll get them to volunteer and interact and dance with Buffalo Dreamers.”

Fairbanks said, “This type of outreach and opportunity is keeping our traditions alive. We are very much a part of the local history and we’re doing this for the preservation of the history of Deadwood and also for the preservation of our culture through sharing. The Native heritage needs to be part of the historical preservation here.”

During the Days of ’76 annual rodeo, the Mayor of Deadwood and organizers of the event have invited Native American horseback riders dressed in full regalia and horse regalia to join in the parade down Main Street to honor this commitment to local tribes. Native Sun News interviewed Deadwood Mayor Chuck Turbiville about this renewed initiative of building partnerships with area tribal groups.

“The dancers have been well received and draw a really large crowd with each performance. What makes it unique is they include the crowd and they just enjoy themselves. They are laughing and having a really good time. This is good for Deadwood,” the mayor says of the Buffalo Dreamers’ performance.

Mayor Chuck is excited for this year’s Days of ’76 parade. He says, “We are going to have a number of riders in regalia this year and will be giving the crowd a historically authentic parade. We are truly honored for the riders to be included this year.”

Though Deadwood’s history as the centerpiece of the illegal taking of the Black Hills during the discovery of gold in the 1870’s from the local tribes, Turbiville would like move past that part of history and extend the town’s hand of friendship for the sake of business accommodations and race relations.

“We’ve never had these relations issues,” says Turbiville, “Deadwood is welcoming the business from tribal communities and all communities. We enjoy entertaining people from all over the world. We hope you consider Deadwood as a host for your conventions. We would do everything in our power to make you feel welcome.”

If you would like more information regarding this invitation for tribal events in Deadwood, please email Silverado Franklin Managing Partner, Tom Rensch at, the City of Deadwood at 605-578-2600, or visit the Black Hills Central Reservations website at and mention this open invitation.

(Contact Richie Richards at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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