Americans Protest After Hotel Owner Bans Them…!!
A hotel in Rapid City, which is east of the Black Hills in South Dakota, said last month that natives were no longer welcome. The Black Hills have long been home to indigenous peoples.
Owner: After a Native American was arrested in connection with a shooting at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19, the owner called the police.
Connie Uhre, the hotel’s owner, said on Facebook that she would ban Native Americans from the hotel and the nearby Cheers Sports Bar.
A comment from Uhre: “We will no longer allow any Native Americans to be on our property.” Steve Allender, the mayor of Rapid City, shared the comment and called it “disgusting”. Uhre also said ranchers and non-natives would get a special rate of $59 a night.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting saw a chain of emails in which Uhre said, “The problem is, we don’t tell the good from the bad.”
A trespassing notice was sent to the hotel on March 26 by tribal leaders in the area. They said they had to because of a treaty made with the Sioux in 1868.
Harold Frazier, president of the Cheyenne River Sioux and one of the signatories of the advisory told Insider it was “shocking, but not too surprising because we live with it here in South Dakota.” Frazier was one of the signatories to the notice. “But to see him so clearly, it was really scary.”
Uhre and the Grand Gateway Hotel did not respond to Insider’s questions about the case. Other person who did not answer: Nick Uhre the son of Connie and who deals with the management of the hotel.
But he told the SDPB he disagreed with his mother’s statements. “Natives are welcome at the Grand Gateway Hotel, always have been and always will be.”
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They did not rent rooms to natives, according to a lawsuit.
There is the comment that natives should be banned from Rapid City, which quickly angered many of the townspeople.
When a Native-led group sued the Uhres and others, they said they were “explicitly racially discriminating.” They also sued the hotel and the company called the Retsel Corporation, which appoints Connie “Connie” Uhre as president.
Plaintiff Sunny Red Bear and another Indigenous woman attempted to rent a room at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 21, about days after Uhre made his comments. They were refused. In the lawsuit, they say an employee told them the hotel doesn’t rent rooms to people with “local” IDs.
Lawsuit: “Mr. Red Bear was discriminated against because Connie Uhre said she would not allow Native Americans into her social media businesses,” it read.
According to the lawsuit, the NDN Collective sent its own representatives on March 22 so that they could try to rent rooms at the hotel. They were also denied, according to the lawsuit.
Days after the complaint was filed, Sioux leaders sent a trespassing notice to the hotel, telling them not to stay there.
“You are told the Great Sioux Nation has conducted an investigation, and the evidence shows you are breaking the law,” the notice reads. A large “eviction notice” hung above the hotel sign the day it was delivered. The protesters came to the hotel and hung up on him.
It was important to “get our people to safety,” Frazier said. He and other tribal leaders acted quickly because it was important. People from Crow Creek Sioux, Oglala Lakota Sioux and Rosebud Sioux also signed the letter.
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An 1868 treaty that the United States quickly broke.
Due to the Treaty of Fort Laramie, also called the Sioux Treaty of 1868. This agreement stated that the lands of the Black Hills belonged to the Sioux.
Gold was found in the area a few years later. The United States broke the treaty by allowing white people to settle there, which the Supreme Court ruled illegal in 1980.
Non-Aboriginal people cannot cross treaty lands “without the permission of the Indians”. That’s what the notice says. If there are “bad guys” among the whites, that says it too.
The federal government would report that anyone who did anything wrong to an Aboriginal person would be arrested and punished under the laws of the United States.
The people of the Great Sioux Nation think the treaty is real. Because there was never an agreement between the two parties to break the treaty, “it’s still a legal document.” This is what he said: He quoted Article 6, which says that the laws and treaties made by the United States are the supreme law in this country.
James Meggesto, an attorney who works with Native American law and is a member of the Onondaga Nation, says US courts have also accepted Indian treaties.
When he spoke about the Black Hills, Indian land claims, and the 2020 Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, he talked about those three things.
When courts uphold Indian treaties, they say “a treaty is the law of the land,” no matter how long ago it was made.
As to whether treaties are valid or not, the real question is how they can be fixed or work better. When a hotel is accused of trespassing, it’s unlikely the federal government even has a way to enforce the treaty, even if it’s valid.
Despite this, Meggesto said “highlighting the treaty is a good way to show that ‘let’s not forget this is all Indian land.’
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“While we can’t get everyone out of the land these treaties protect, we still have a responsibility to make sure the people there are healthy and safe.
For this reason, people who have experienced racial discrimination are supported,” he said.
It is unclear what will happen to the hotel in the end. On Google it said it was “temporarily closed”. Before May 16, you couldn’t make an online reservation for a room there.
The tribespeople say they want Rapid City to revoke the hotel’s business license. They also say the tribes are considering a full boycott of Rapid City because of it.
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If they don’t find a solution soon, Frazier says they’ll keep looking. But this is not the first time that natives have found themselves in this situation.
“We’ve been through this before,” he said. “A little bump in the road. As long as we keep moving, we don’t care about the bump. We cannot let this happen to us.