South Dakota tribal leaders say banning Native American hotels is an intrusion

Native American tribal leaders in South Dakota have said a hotel is encroaching on their land after the hotel owner wrote a racist screed banning Native Americans from his establishment.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Connie Uhre, owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City, wrote that she would not allow Native Americans into the hotel after a shooting took place there, citing vandalism and “natives killing natives”.

“[Due] to the murder that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19, 2022 at 4 a.m., plus all the vandalism we’ve been through since the mayor and police department worked with the nonprofit (Dark Money) . We will no longer allow any Native Americans on the property,” Uhre wrote, adding that she would also ban Native Americans from the sports bar inside the hotel.

It is unclear which “dark money” organization Uhre was referring to, and local reports say the shooting victim was still alive after the shooting.

Steve Allender, the mayor of Rapid City, denounced Uhre’s comments on Twitter.

Local station KNBN reported that the hotel had not actually instituted the policy shared by Uhre on Facebook, citing his son, who runs the hotel.

But the NDN Collective, an organization that works to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, claims to have obtained audio recordings of hotel staff refusing to rent hotel rooms to members of the group. The collective is now filing a federal class action lawsuit against the hotel.

Meanwhile, tribal leaders issued a trespassing notice to the hotel over the weekend, citing the hotel for violating the provisions of the “Treaty with the Sioux, April 29, 1868”.

The treaty states that “no white person or person shall be permitted to settle or occupy any part of the [land north of the North Platte River or east of the summits of the Big Horn Mountains]; or without the consent of the Indians first had and obtained, to pass through the same.

The Great Sioux Nation orders the Grand Gateway Hotel to evacuate immediately.

“You are further informed that the Great Sioux Nation, in order to prevent further intrusions upon said land, may … take possession, destroy or remove said property at your expense,” the order reads.

Scott Herman, chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and other members of the tribe said they were very offended by Uhre’s comments and behavior.

“The Great Sioux Nation hereby condemns the egregious racism that emanates from the owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel and its affiliates in Rapid City,” Herman said, according to Dakota News Now.

The Great Sioux Nation said it would take further steps to end all racism on treaty land, including boycotting Rapid City, urging the city council to end business licenses with racist organizations and bringing hate crime complaint against Uhre, Dakota News Now reported.

On Sunday, the hotel announced that it was “temporarily closed”.




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