Rapid City Council Pushes Land Back Resolution

Nov 3, 2020

The Rapid City Council met before a full crowd of people who wanted to comment on the resolution to  “Resolve Three Outstanding Deeds Related to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School Lands.”

Public concerns of the resolution lasted well over two hours as residents either acknowledged the disparities that happened at the boarding school and how they affect modern Rapid City to those who felt that a lack of representation from the Federal Department of Interior or Bureau of Indian Affairs wasn’t enough to push this matter forward.

The council  voted 6 to 3 to move the resolution to its next meeting on November 10. 

Mayor Steve Allender addressed the resolution saying it is the first step of many to rectify the atrocities of the boarding school and he want the city to be a part of something that not only furthers the dialogue of reconciliation but to align the city with being on the right side of history. 

Ward 5 Alderwoman Darla Drew says this issue isn’t new and needs to be resolved as soon as possible.

“You know, and this was introduced to us three years ago. It didn't get introduced to us last month. And it was introduced to you 70 years ago. It was introduced to you as a committee to work on seven years ago, with a hundred presentations. We have to say that their work is valid. We have to try and say that this is our best possible chance at resolving this. And it's only the start. It's just the start. This isn't the end game, this is a start…and it might be the only way we finally get an Indian cultural center here that’s actually run by American Indians.”

The same sentiments were echoed by members of the council, but some went on to err on the side of caution and felt that the dialogue needed extra time. Ward 4 Alderman John Roberts motioned to move the discussion to November 10 so that any questions on the topic can be thoroughly vetted.

“I've got questions that I haven't got answered yet. We have been working on this for years. This has been in front of us for years. Unfortunately, the resolution hasn't been in front of us for years. So you get a resolution and a week later, or two weeks later, you know, even a month later, you may not have all of your answers answered. So yeah, there's many people on this dias still have questions they want answered. ”

There were members of the Native American community that felt that the people who represent the Rapid City Boarding School Indian Lands Back Project are self-appointed and do not accurately represent the collective Rapid City Native Community in regard to the lands that are currently in question. They urged that representatives from the Federal Government need to be at these meetings.