Three tribal nations in western South Dakota recently passed resolutions in an effort to transfer control of the Sioux San Indian Health Service (IHS) facility to the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, reports the Rapid City Journal. The federal government would continue to fund the IHS facility, but the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board would be responsible for management.
Federally-recognized tribal nations are able to transfer management of federally-administered programs to tribal hands through the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) of 1975. This act, commonly referred to as 638 in reference to the public law number, was passed to ensure “effective and meaningful participation by the Indian people in the planning, conduct and administration” of federal services and programs.
Under ISDEAA, tribes can either directly administer programs that would be provided directly by IHS (Title I Self-Determination Contracting) or assume control over the programs and services otherwise provided by IHS (Title V Self-Governance Compacting). The two options are not mutually exclusive and tribes can tailor the options to best fit their needs.
The tribal resolutions will now be considered by the Indian Health Services’ Great Plains Area Office in Aberdeen before heading off to the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board CEO Jerilyn Church anticipates the approval process will take anywhere from 3-6 months.
To read more about the Sioux San IHS facility, the Black Hills region, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
A $3 million art studio is in the works for the Pine Ridge Reservation, reports KOTA News. The 8,500 square foot studio will be located across from Oglala Lakota College next to the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce on BIA Highway 2.
The space is a collaboration between First Peoples Fund and Lakota Funds and will be focused on economic development through the arts. Artists will be able to work from the space in a variety of mediums including film, quilting, painting and more.
To read more news from Pine Ridge, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive. Read more about arts potential for economic development in tribal communities in a report issued by First Peoples Fund.
Following the filing of a federal lawsuit which involved Pennington County’s adherence to the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), there has been an increase in kinship placements of Native American Children in foster care. As reported by KOTA News, kinship placement is foster care with either relatives or other tribal members and is a key component of ICWA.
Prior to the lawsuit, only 9% of Native American children in state custody were placed in kinship care. By 2013, when the lawsuit was filed, 21% of children were placed in kinship care. The percentage of Native American children in Pennington County placed in kinship care has remained over 20% since the lawsuit’s filing, with a record 29% set in 2014.
While the lawsuit did not address kinship placement, both attorney Dana Hanna, representing the tribal parties, as well as Pennington County state’s attorney Mark Vargo agreed that the lawsuit address and improve upon the care received by Native American children in Pennington County.
To read more news from Pennington County, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
On February 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation affirming the March 2, 1889 Act passed by the United States Congress which reduced the Great Sioux Reservation by 9.2 million acres. The president’s affirmation also created the boundaries of the Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, Pine Ridge, Rosebud and Standing Rock reservations.
The creation of the aforementioned reservations followed two additional and substantial land transactions. A Congressional Act passed on February 28, 1877 diminished the Great Sioux Reservation—which was established through the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty—from its original 60 million acres to approximately 22 million acres. In the passage of 30 years, the Lakota and Dakota tribes retained only 18.3% of the lands allocated to them through treaties and Acts of of Congress. Approximately 9 million acres outside of the reservation boundaries were then opened up for public purchase and homesteading.
In addition to noting the boundaries of each of the newly established reservations, President Harrison’s proclamation issued a warning to individuals who planned to settle upon the reservation lands. Individuals were also warned against “interfering with the occupancy” by tribal members on tribal lands. However, the proclamation did not prescribe any consequences for individuals who chose to violate these provisions.
Lakota and Dakota people have long disputed how the federal government opened treaty land to settlement, especially in the Black Hills region. The earliest cases against the government were brought up in the 1920s and continued until 1980, when the issue bubbled up to the U.S. Supreme Court. In United States vs. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Court ruled that the government had not adequately compensated the Lakota people in exchange for the land it had taken. The Court offered the value of the land in 1877 as well as 5% interest each year thereafter. A full return of the land instead of a monetary settlement was not offered.
For the last several years, a group of local researchers have been examining the history of the Rapid City Indian School and the surrounding property. For a full overview of their preliminary findings, including a history of the Rapid City Indian School, please see document attached below, entitled "An Inconvenient Truth: The History Behind the Sioux San Lands and West Rapid City," which ran in the Rapid City Journal in the spring of 2017. Over the next several months, the researchers will be uploading their documents to the BHKN. The first batch appears below.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe recently selected Scott James to fill the position of attorney general, reports KOTA News. James was previously a prosecutor for Kiowa County in Kansas, where he was elected to serve two terms. This will be James’ first time working as an attorney in Indian Country.
The Oglala Sioux Tribe’s Attorney General position has been vacant since March 2017. The position was previously held be Tatewin Means.
To read more about the Oglala Sioux Tribe, visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
During the 2016 legislative session, Harold Frazier, Chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, delivered the first State of the Tribes address. The address was delivered before a joint session of the South Dakota Legislature and provided a review of key issues impacting the nine tribal nations that share South Dakota’s geography.
In his address, Chairman Frazier spoke of many timely topics, including Medicaid expansion and infrastructure in Indian Country, including county roadways which weave through tribal lands. Frazier also spoke of the number of suicides on reservations in South Dakota, as well as efforts the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe was taking to address the methamphetamine epidemic within its borders—namely banishing members who are convicted of dealing, making or trafficking the drug.
The State of the Tribes Address is a tradition that has continued throughout the remainder of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s Administration. In 2017, Chairman Robert Flying Hawk, of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, delivered the address. Just last week, Chairman Boyd Gorneau of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe provided remarks before the South Dakota Legislature.
On January 3, 1961, Ben Reifel became the first Lakota man to serve in the United States House of Representatives. As a congressman, Reifel was a strong advocate for education, veterans affairs, and the humanities. Reifel was the first American Indian to serve South Dakota in Congress.
Although Reifel did not complete the 8th grade until he was sixteen years old, he was able to attain degrees in both chemistry and dairy science from South Dakota State University. During his undergraduate career, Reifel had joined the Army Reserves and later served in World War II. Reifel went on to earn both his master’s and doctoral degree from Harvard University after the war. He was one of the first American Indians to earn a doctoral degree.
After working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Pine Ridge Reservation, Reifel ran for U.S. Congress as a Republican. Reifel won his first campaign and went on to serve five terms. As a congressman, Reifel advocated for education in tribal communities, and advocated for combining county and tribal schools so that both Native and non-Native students could learn together.
Reifel returned to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work following his last term in Congress. Reifel died at the age of 83 in Sioux Falls, following a battle with cancer. Shortly after his death and to honor Reifel’s legacy, Congress renamed the Cedar Pass Visitor Center to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Additionally, Governor Dennis Daugaard declared September 19 as Ben Reifel Day in South Dakota in 2017.
On December 21, 1981 Bear Butte, located east of Sturgis, South Dakota, was designated as a National Historic Landmark. Bear Butte is one of just over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks across the nation. National Historic Landmarks must be “historic places that possess exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States” and may be buildings, sites, structures objects or districts.
Known as Mato Paha by Lakota people—and as Noahvose by Cheyenne people—the butte is not a butte by definition but is instead the remnant of ancient volcanic activity. Bear Butte sits 1,200 feet above the land that surrounds it, at a total of 4,426 feet above sea level. The result of a volcano that failed to fully erupt, the land feature is also a place of deep significance to a variety of indigenous peoples from the region. The Cheyenne spiritual leader Sweet Medicine is said to have received the basis of Cheyenne spiritual and moral customs on Bear Butte, while Lakota and Dakota people have held various ceremonies there.
By the end of World War II, homesteader Ezra Bovee was the legal landowner of Bear Butte. Early in 1945, Northern Cheyenne individuals requested to hold a ceremony at Bear Butte to pray for the war’s end. Bouvee welcomed their presence and became a steadfast supporter or preserving the butte. Bouvee went so far as to spark interest in making the butte a national park. While the federal government did not show interest in creating a national park, the South Dakota legislature set the area aside as a state park in 1961. Four years later, the butte was designated as National Landmark.
On December 14, 1935, the Oglala Sioux Tribe narrowly accepted an Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) constitution, followingly various lengthy discussions. The Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes passed IRA constitutions that were similar in content, although their political district boundaries varied.
Passage of the IRA constitutions was strongly encouraged by the Office of Indian Affairs, which had not previously been heavily involved in the creation of or revisions to tribal constitutions. Previously, the Office of Indian Affairs chose not to insert itself into tribal governance decisions, believing instead that revisions were better made by tribal community members and not outside governmental forces.
The adoption of the IRA constitution was not the first form of constitutional governance approved by the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Having a keen knowledge of constitutional governance, the Tribe adopted its first written constitution in 1921. Drafters the first constitution hoped the new form of governance would encourage political participation among tribal members. When completed, James H. Red Cloud submitted the document to reservation agent Henry Tidwell, who thought Red Cloud and his supporters were “troublesome, unprogressive old men.” Tidwell did not approve the constitution, as its terms fell outside of the philosophy of the Office of Indian Affairs.
A new constitution—which later became known as the Committee of 21—was adopted after Superintendent Jermark noted that the council meetings under the first constitution were called sporadically and believed tribal members to be disillusioned with the document. After the new constitution was written, Indian Affairs Commissioner John Burke revised the governing document to include a provision to allow the reservation superintendent to call special meetings of the tribal council. The constitution was later overwhelmingly rejected by tribal members and council delegates in favor of the first constitution which had been written by the tribe without external involvement.
Efforts are currently underway to reform the Oglala Sioux Tribal constitution. Read more about this process on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Oglala Sioux Tribal police officers have noticed a significant rise in bootlegging in the Pine Ridge Reservation, reports KOTA News. The rise in bootlegging follows the decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court which resulted in end of beer sales Whiteclay, which is located just outside of the reservation.
Police officers have reported finding water bottles filled instead with clear alcohol such as vodka and even hairspray and rubbing alcohol. Those purchasing the bootlegged alcohol pay as much as $10 per bottle.
The Pine Ridge Police Department has just 32 police officers to patrol the reservation, which is similarly sized to the state of Connecticut, making enforcement of the ban on alcohol difficult at best.
Learn more about the Pine Ridge Reservation on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
Native American Heritage Month was first established in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush. Since then, the month-long celebration has been reauthorized annually by each American president.
November offers everyone an opportunity to learn more about Native American histories and cultures. This November, take a few moments to learn more about the demographic characteristics of American Indians in South Dakota by perusing our infographic.
For more information on Native Americans in South Dakota, visit our Native Data Series as well as our various charts and graphs on the South Dakota Dashboard. Download a full resolution version of this infographic at the bottom of this page.
On November 20, 2013 American Indian code talkers from 33 tribal nations were honored by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. During the ceremony, 67 South Dakotan Native American code talkers were posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor for the their efforts in World War II. The code talkers hailed from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Oglala Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Yankton Sioux Tribe.
In 2008, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed into law the Code Talker Recognition Act. This act authorized the creation of the gold medals to honor the Native American code talkers. Each tribe designed their own medals, which were produced by the U.S. Mint. The Congressional Gold Medal of Honor is the highest award that Congress can give.
Several Senators and Representatives spoke during the November 2013 ceremony, including then Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota. A member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Johnson delivered remarks honoring the code talkers he was able to meet during his time as an elected official. During his remarks, Senator Johnson noted the valiant efforts of the Native American code talkers during the war, although many were not yet citizens of the United States. While some American Indians were granted citizenship through landownership, marriage to a non-Native, and by other treaties and special agreements, all Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924, with the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act.
According to a ruling issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Indian Health Service hospital in Pine Ridge, South Dakota has been placed on “immediate jeopardy” status. As reported by the Rapid City Journal, actions taken by the hospital have caused or are likely to cause death or injury to its patients. While on immediate jeopardy status, the hospital will not be able to bill Medicare and Medicaid eligible services to the government.
Documents released by CMS indicated the immediate jeopardy status was invoked following the death of a diabetic male patient who was incorrectly diagnosed at the Pine Ridge hospital.
To learn more about the Pine Ridge Reservation visit the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s community profile.
Sioux San – Rapid City Indian Health Service (IHS) Facility
The Indian Health Service (IHS) is a federal health program for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
IHS is an agency that operates within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The United States Constitution, along with numerous treaties between the United States federal government and sovereign American Indian tribal nations established a trust responsibility that requires the government to provide certain services to Native Americans. Healthcare is one of the services included in the United States’ trust responsibility.
Previously, American Indian healthcare was overseen by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as provided in the Snyder Act of 1921. Seven years later, the BIA began contracting healthcare services through the Public Health Service and continued to do so for approximately 30 years thereafter. In 1955, Congress removed Native American health services from the Department of Interior and placed it under the Department of Health and Human Services. With this placement, the Indian Health Service came into fruition. Today, IHS provides health services for approximate 2.2 million people within 567 recognized tribes in 36 states.
Rapid City, South Dakota is part of the Great Plains Area of IHS. This area includes South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska. The Great Plains Area currently includes seven hospitals, eight health centers, and additional smaller clinics. Seventeen Tribes share the same geography as these states. Approximately 130,000 individuals receive care in the Great Plains Area of IHS.
Rapid City Boarding School/Sioux Sanitarium/Rapid City IHS Timeline
|1898||Rapid City Indian School was created for acculturation for Native American children from South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. They required them to speak English at the school.|
|1929 - 1930||1930 - The school had a large number of students with tuberculosis and became a Sanitarium School for those students.|
|1933||The Civil Conservation Corp used the facility for a federally funded work relief program.|
|1939||The location became the Sioux Sanitarium for tuberculosis for Native Americans.|
|1943||The antibiotic for TB was discovered.|
|1955||The Indian Health Service (IHS) took administrative jurisdiction over Sioux San.|
|1966||Congress appropriated funds for the pilot IHS Clinic in Rapid City.|
|2001||Indian Health Board of the Black Hills created to address issues of care for those eligible.|
|2002||Indian Health Board of the Black Hills brings forward issues of patient care.|
|2003||A $4 million dollar renovation is started and expected to be complete in 2005. It includes more lab and x-ray space as well as additional handicapped-accessible restrooms, and more exam rooms.|
|2004||Aberdeen Area Office proposes closing the Sioux San inpatient services.|
|2004||IHS users bring their unrest about available funding and services to a budget session with local administrators.|
|2006||IHS officials sign program justification document to begin a federal process that will help build a replacement facility.|
|2007||IHS officials propose an expansion that will be complete in 2012 under the best circumstances which are unlikely.|
|2009||Sioux San Hospital cancelled all appointments to prevent a further H1N1 outbreak.|
|2010||Sioux San Hospital’s Hope Lodge caught on fire and destroyed the substance-abuse center because there was no extinguisher system available.|
|2016||IHS investigates quality of care concerns regarding Sioux San Hospital.|
|2017||IHS announces Sioux San will close Sioux San inpatient and emergency services to make way for a new hospital to be completed by 2022.|
Additional Links and Resources
Crow Peak Hall on the Black Hills State University campus has a new name. As reported by KOTA News, the hall was recently renamed Bordeaux Hall in honor of Dr. Lionel Bordeaux who is an alumnus of the university and later went on to earn his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Minnesota. Bordeaux then utilized his education and became the president of Sinte Gleska University on the Rosebud Reservation.
Bordeaux has served as the president of Sinte Gleska University for over 44 years, making him one of the longest-serving university presidents in the United States. Bordeaux is also a member of the South Dakota Hall of Fame and has previously served on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council.
Read more about 0education on the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s online news archive.
Fifty-two years ago, Billy Mills charged across a rain-soaked track and set a new record pace for the Olympic 10,000 meter race in Tokyo, Japan. Not only did Mills set a new record, but he also became the first American to win gold for the race, and still holds the title today.
Billy Mills was born in 1936 in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Orphaned at a young age, Mills frequently recalls advice given to him by his late father, who told Mills he could “rise from broken wings and one day fly like an eagle.” Mills discovered his running ability in high school and was determined that the Olympic games are where he would soar.
Some credits Mills’ win to the heavy, soddened track. The 1964 Olympics was the last before all terrain tracks were utilized. A period of heavy rain had muddied the track, disabling many runners who were accustomed to ideal running conditions. During the final stretch of his race, Mills also made the decision to run on the outermost lane, which was not as sodden as the rest of the track.
Mills ran the 10K race in 28 minutes and 24 seconds, outpacing the previous record by over seven seconds. Only four other Americans have ranked highly in the 10,000 meter race: Max Truex who placed 6th in 1960, Frank Shorter who placed 5th in 1972 and Galen Rupp who placed 2nd in 2012.
At the urging of longtime Native Sun News editor Tim Giago, Governor George Mickelson proclaimed 1990 as the Year of Reconciliation to honor of the 100th anniversary of Wounded Knee. The Year of Reconciliation was intended to health the relationships between the state and tribal governments in South Dakota.
However, that was not the only challenge Giago posed to Governor Mickelson. Giago also requested that Governor Mickelson take up an effort to nix Columbus Day in South Dakota in favor of Native Americans’ Day. With a strong lobbying effort, the South Dakota Legislature was swayed to rename the day.
On October 8, 1990 Mickelson invited Giago to celebrate the Year of Reconciliation at the Crazy Horse Memorial. The event also commemorated the first Native Americans’ Day, which would be held later that week. South Dakota was the first state in the nation to rename Columbus Day in favor of celebrating the rich histories and cultures of American Indians.
Today, several states and municipalities have chosen to rename Columbus Day, with the most recent additions including the state of Vermont as well as Phoenix, Arizona and Denver, Colorado. Meanwhile, the states of Alaska and Hawaii have never officially celebrated Columbus Day. Alaska officially adopted an Indigenous Peoples Day in 2015, while Hawaii has celebrated Discoverer’s Day, in remembrance of the Polynesian explorers who originally settled on the islands.
The history and land tenure of a portion of West Rapid City formerly belonging to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School, is currently under evaluation by researchers and government officials. As reported by KOTA News, William Bear Shield, Chairman of the Sioux San Unified Health Board, has stated that the Regional Behavioral Health Center, Clarkson Mountain View Health Facility, and the Canyon Lake Senior Center, in West Rapid City are in violation of a 1948 federal law outlining to whom and for what purposes the land could be used.
The boarding school closed in 1933 and later became as a sanitarium for Native American tuberculosis patients. After the tuberculosis epidemic had ended, Congress appropriated funds for the facility to be used as a health clinic for Native American patients in 1966.
Under the terms of the 1948 act that broke up the boarding's school's 1,200 acres, the land could be made available to the city of Rapid City, the South Dakota National Guard, the Rapid City School District, to be sold for use by religious institutions, or slated for use by "needy Indians." Bear Shield believes that Behavior Health, Clarkson, and the Senior Center to not fit these terms and, per the 1948 act, should revert to federal ownership. The Bureau of Indian Affairs agrees with Bear Shield and recently issued a letter declaring its support for a mutually beneficial solution.
Learn more about the Rapid City Indian Boarding School lands at the Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors (MOA) website. Past stories on Native American issues are linked in the Black Hills Knowledge Network's online news archive.
On June 29, 1911, President Taft signed a proclamation which opened over 450,000 acres on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations, as reported by The Evening Times in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The proclamation also opened approximately 150,000 acres in the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota.
Just six years earlier, the Burke Act was signed into law. The Burke Act amended the General Allotment Act to allow for the relinquishment of tribal lands for sale to non-Native individuals. Policymakers of this time believed that Native Americans would not make adequate use of the land, and so excess land was parcelled off to non-tribal members.
While the proclamation was issued at the end of June, the lands would not be available to non-Natives until October of 1911. Those seeking parcels of the land could request it at several locations, including Rapid City, Gregory, Chamberlain and Dallas.
Removing parcels of land from tribal jurisdiction and placing them into fee status resulted in a checkerboard effect in both Pine Ridge and Rosebud. The intermingling of trust lands, fee lands which all lie within reservation boundaries creates a myriad of jurisdictional issues and often hampers tribes’ ability to use the land for traditional and other purposes.