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Pine Ridge Reservation Tour gives Rapid City leadership a glimpse of life on the rez

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Richard Two Bulls
The Pine Ridge Reservation Tour included leadership from Rapid City Common Council and Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors touring the Red Cloud Indian School.

The shooting and eventual death of Myron Blaine Pourier and the response from the hotel where it happened, have set the stage for Rapid City, racially, politically, and culturally.

This isn't uncommon to Rapid City and to build better understandings and help a fractured climate of race relations in Rapid City, Mniluzahan Okolakiciyapi Ambassadors worked with the leadership of the Red Cloud Indian School to provide Rapid City officials a tour of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Rapid City council members Ritchie Nordstrom, Laura Armstrong, and Bill Evans attended.

The tour stopped all across the reservation including Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge Village, the Wounded Knee Massacre Site, and the Oglala Lakota Artspace.

Each location was accompanied by a number of Lakota speakers who went into great detail about the operations and services they provide for the tribe. At the stop at the Wounded Knee Massacre site, speakers gave historical perspective.

Tashina Banks Rama is the Red Cloud Indian School executive vice president and was integral in orchestrating the tour.

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Richard Two Bulls
Tashina Banks Rama explaining their full Lakota Language Immersion programs.

“I hope that stereotypes are broken down, that our neighbors up north understand and can see the beauty of our community,” Banks Rama said. “The reservation is a thriving place with lots of beautiful families who have hopes and dreams for their children, for their families. So I feel that today's a blessing and a great opportunity for us to share what we have here and hopefully those stereotypes that exist between our communities can continue to be broken down.”

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Richard Two Bulls

Those who attended plan to continue meeting to process and reflect on the tour and to make the experience open to others with future tours.