Injunction filed in OST tribal court over Sioux San move
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Today Staff Writer
RAPID CITY – Calling into question the status of Indians living in Rapid City and whether or not tribes can make decisions on their behalf
was the subject of a recent meeting at the Mother Butler Center.
The meeting on November 13 was organized by community members, Charmaine White Face, Art Zimiga, Mark Lone Hill and Teresa Spry who have legal, jurisdictional and treaty questions about the process by which the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board assumed control of the Rapid City Indian Health Service Unit via a 93-638 Indian Self Determination contract and their proposal to move services to a location east of town.
According to IHS, Sioux San was approved for a new facility in 2002. In 2016, Congress appropriated $117 million to build a new facility on the Sioux San Campus with plans to demolish 15 of the existing buildings. A design contract was awarded in 2017 and by June, Indian Health Service had completed 80 percent of the architectural design at a cost of over one million dollars.
Rapid City Indians enrolled at Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Pine Ridge, who live in Rapid City, have voiced their concerns because they believe were denied access to the consultation process of the takeover of Sioux San by the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board.
They also maintain that because they are not allowed to vote in tribal elections, they were 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. It has been denounced repeatedly in Indian publication newspapers.
Three Sioux tribes --
Cheyenne River, Oglala and Rosebud -- plan to take over management of Sioux San
Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota, from the Indian Health Service. Photo by
The Unified Health Board made up of members from the Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations 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.
The three tribes, also through resolutions passed last spring, gave the GPTCHB authority to take control of the hospital via a 93-638 contract and move forward with plans to relocate services to land donated by local developer Hani Shafei.
GPTCHB is a health advocacy organization made up of a consortium of 18 tribes in the Great Plains Region, with all 18 tribal chairmen comprising the board. Their offices are located in Rapid City and their CEO is Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member Jerilyn Church.
An ad hoc committee from Rapid City called the Mni Luzahan Wicozani Advisory Committee met on regular basis with the Unified Health Board and the GPTCHB and became the decision making body in regard to the future of Sioux San.
In June of last year the GPCTHB intervened in the ongoing process of IHS building a new facility by submitting a proposal to run the hospital via a 638 contract which stopped IHS from moving forward in building the new multimillion dollar facility on the Sioux San Campus.
Robert Cook, a respected educator and member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe called into question the legality and authority of this decision making body to turn management of Sioux San Hospital over to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board without consulting the people who utilize Sioux San.
“They need to meet with the community and they have to be transparent. They need to have feedback. Then they’ve proved they acted in the best interest of the community,” Cook said. “Unfortunately they did this behind the scenes. There has been a lack of consultation with the community, with the very people who fought and died for the right to have quality health care here in Rapid City.”
Cook said although he is a believer in the process of self-determination he questioned why the tribes involved did not first 638 contract their own facilities before contracting Sioux San.
“Why are we the pilot program?” Cook asked.
Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at email@example.com
Copyright permission Native Sun News Today
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