Woman wants to ban Native Americans from her South Dakota hotel

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The owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota, has threatened to ban Native Americans from her business.

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The South Dakota hotel owner has called for a ban on Native Americans after some were involved in a shooting at her business.

But Steve Allender, the mayor of Rapid City in western South Dakota, said Native Americans are banned would be illegal.

The comments from Connie Uhre, the owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel, come after a shooting there around 4.30am on Saturday March 19. A gun was fired into a hotel room and a man was found with life-threatening injuries, Rapid City police said.

Quincy Bear Robe, 19, was arrested on multiple counts after the shooting, police say. Uhre said the victim was killed, but this has not been confirmed.

“Due to the murder that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel … we will no longer be allowing any Native Americans on the property or at the Cheers Sports Bar. Natives killing natives,” Uhre said in a tweet, which Allender shared on Twitter.

She also said she couldn’t tell “who’s a bad native or a good native,” the Rapid City Journal reported.

Allender condemned Uhre’s comments, saying they do not “reflect our community values”.

“The local government does not have the power to sanction this company, although discrimination based solely on race is totally illegal in addition to being evil and heartless,” Allender told the Rapid City Journal. “It’s a much larger issue that they will have to defend in front of someone else, not me.”

But Nick Uhre, who is the son of the hotel owner and manager, said a ban on Native Americans would not be in place, he told a South Dakota Public Broadcasting reporter.

“Nick says he and the company don’t share his mother’s views,” Arielle Zionts reported. “He says that (the) company has many Native American employees and guests.”

Under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “a place of public accommodation” cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin.

The hotel owner’s comments drew scorn from politicians and individuals on social media. RedDawn Foster, who sits in the South Dakota Senate, thanked Allender for “calling out this blatant racism and ignorance.”

“It’s unfortunate that the ‘No Indians allowed’ sentiments still exist,” she said. “Banning all Native Americans is not only federally illegal, but morally wrong by all people who value human dignity.”

“Such blatant and heinous racism is still happening, and apparently on the increase, today should be called out not only by Indigenous peoples, white advocates and SD POLITICIANS!” said one woman on Twitter.

Mike Stunson covers real-time news for McClatchy. He graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2011 and previously worked at the Paducah Sun and the Madisonville Messenger as a sportscaster and the Lexington Herald-Leader as a breaking news reporter.
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Nohemi M. Moore