World News | The owner of the hotel wants to prohibit access to the property to Native Americans
Rapid City, March 23 (AP) A social media post by a South Dakota hotel owner attempting to bar Native Americans following a weekend shooting drew swift condemnation by the chief of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe and the mayor of the city.
Connie Uhre, one of the owners of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that she could not “allow any Native American into our business, including Cheers,” which is the hotel bar and casino.
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This followed a shooting at the hotel early on Saturday involving two teenagers. Rapid City Police spokesman Brendyn Medina said the shooting victim and suspect were Native Americans.
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe President Harold Frazier condemned Uhre’s post, calling it racist and discriminatory, and demanded an apology.
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“It is foolish to attack one race of people and not all the issues that affect the society in which we live. This includes racism,” Frazier said in a statement. “Members of the Great Sioux Nation who visit our sacred Black Hills are often subjected to this kind of behavior. Members who choose to live in our treaty territory are often treated as a problem. , no matter how we choose to live.”
Messages left at the hotel for Uhre and his son Nick Uhre, a manager, were not immediately returned.
Mayor Steve Allender posted a screenshot of Connie Uhre’s comment and said on Twitter Monday that neither the shooting nor the hotel’s response reflected city values.
“I just felt like I couldn’t stay silent and pretend it was just a harmless vent of frustration,” he said. “This is an attack not only on the 12% of Rapid Citians who are Native American, but also on the largest Native American population nationally.”
Allender said discrimination based on race is illegal in addition to being evil and heartless.
“This is a much larger issue that they will have to defend in front of someone else, not me,” the mayor told the Rapid City Journal.
Rapid City, known to many as the gateway to Mount Rushmore, is home to over 77,000 people. According to the US Census Bureau, at least 11% of its residents identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.
Uhre’s post and the tense reaction to it is the latest incident involving fragile race relations in Rapid City. A protest in the city on the July 4 holiday called for better treatment of indigenous people by police and others. (AP)
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