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Great Sioux Nation asks hotel that banned Native Americans to evacuate lands citing violation of Sioux Treaty

The hotel owner wrote a racist rant against Native Americans on Facebook. The hotel was 'temporarily closed' on Sunday.

Great Sioux Nation asks hotel that banned Native Americans to evacuate lands citing violation of Sioux Treaty
An Indigenous woman raises her fist in the 'Indians Allowed' march from Roosevelt Park to the Grand Gateway Hotel. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective. March 26, 2022.

Native American tribal leaders have asked a hotel in South Dakota to vacate their lands after the hotel's owner penned a racist rant banning Native Americans from the hotel. Connie Uhre, owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City, posted on Facebook that she wouldn't allow Native Americans to enter the hotel. Uhre said she was banning Native Americans after a shooting on the property. She also cited vandalism and "Natives killing Natives." Her post was later taken down. Tribal leaders responded by issuing a notice to the hotel to vacate the premises citing the hotel for being in violation of the “Treaty with the Sioux, April 29, 1868" reported HuffPost

Tribal leadership from the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Crow Creek Sioux Tribe lead a march of hundreds in their ancestral lands of Mniluzahan, known today as Rapid City. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective. March 26, 2022.

 

“[Due] to the killing that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19, 2022, at 4 am plus all the vandalism we have had since the Mayor and Police Department are working with the non-profit organization (Dark Money). We will no longer allow any Native Americans on the property,” wrote Uhre in the post that was later deleted. She added that the hotel would also ban Native Americans from the sports bar inside the hotel. There is no information on the “dark money” organization Uhre referred to. Local reports suggested the person shot was still alive after the shooting.



 

Uhre’s post kicked up a storm and Steve Allender, the mayor of Rapid City, called out Uhre’s comments on Twitter, writing, "In addition to blaming the mayor, police chief, sheriff, candidate for sheriff, and the court system, a local hotel bans all Native Americans for a shooting a few days ago on hotel property. Neither the shooting, or Grand Gateway’s response to it reflect our community values."



 


“It is foolish to attack a race of people and not all of the issues affecting the society in which we live. This includes racism,” said Chairman Harold Frazier of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in a statement. “The members of the Great Sioux Nation who visit our sacred Black Hills are often subject to this kind of behavior. Those members that choose to live on our treaty territory are often treated as a problem, no matter how we choose to live.”



 

 

“When those wagons first began their way to break treaties and settle on our territory, we were classified as lesser beings and genocide was justified as such,” continued Frazier. “The words uttered by this person is a reminder to my people that this is still the case — ‘No Indians allowed.’ I demand an immediate apology from this person to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota territory with clear and public consequences.”



 

Uhre’s son reportedly told local media that the hotel hadn't adopted the policy that Uhre had posted on Facebook but NDN, an organization that works to protect the rights of Indigenous people, said the hotel was already refusing services to Native Americans. NDN said they were in possession of audio recordings of hotel staff members refusing to rent hotel rooms to the group’s members. The group is also filing a federal class-action lawsuit against the Hotel.

An “Eviction Notice” banner being hung over the sign of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City. Photo by Willi White for NDN Collective. March 26, 2022.

 

Tribal leaders issued a Notice To Trespass order to the hotel, citing violation of provisions of the “Treaty with the Sioux, April 29, 1868.” As per the treaty, “no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion 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 is now calling on the Grand Gateway Hotel to evacuate immediately. “You are further notified that the Great Sioux Nation, in order to prevent further trespass upon said land, may … take possession, destroy, or remove said property at your expense,” read the order.

Photos by Willi White for NDN Collective. March 26, 2022.

 

“The Great Sioux Nation hereby condemns the blatant racism that is coming from the owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel, and its subsidiaries in Rapid City,” said Scott Herman, president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, reported Dakota News. On Sunday, the hotel said it was “temporarily closed.”

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