Cobell checks mean big boost to Rapid City shopping during LNI - KOTA Territory News

Cobell checks mean big boost to Rapid City shopping during LNI

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Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans across the country are collecting the first installments of a multi-billion dollar settlement over the mismanagement of tribal lands.
 
Most have already received their $1,000 checks, just in time for Christmas, and just in time to spend in KOTA Territory.

Vicki Sherman got her check Friday.
 
"It was waiting for me when I got here" to Rapid City, she said.
 
Sherman now lives in Arapahoe, Wyo., about a six-hour drive from Rapid. Like countless others, she was in town for the Lakota Nation Invitational tournament.
 
"I worked at Pine Ridge School, I worked at Little Wound School, I worked at Todd County School," she said. "Everybody I know is here."
 
In a normal year, all those people she knows do their Christmas shopping in Rapid during the tournament.
 
"With the added bonus of the Cobell money this year," she said, "Rapid City's going to make a lot of money."
 
Just how much is unclear, but with an extra $1,000 in a lot of pockets, it's likely quite a bit.
 
"Without the [Cobell settlement money], these people would be here anyway for the tournament," said Oglala Lakota tribal president Bryan Brewer. "But it's just now they're coming, they have a little more money to do Christmas shopping."
 
He got his check recently, too.
 
Brewer estimates "probably 80 to 90 percent of the people that came to the tournament had some Cobell money."

And this year, even more people showed up.
 
"We did just shy of 30,000 tickets last year for the basketball alone," said Brian Maliske, general manager for the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, which hosted the event. "We think we'll be close to our 32,000 goal" for this year.
 
That's total over the four days, but it still points to bigger crowds.
 
"Then with the Cobell settlement," Sherman said, "that just makes it more fun" to shop.

Sherman also said she wasn't personally using her Cobell check for Christmas shopping.

But she added she'll be back in Rapid City in about a week, and she plans to use the money to work on her car while she's here.

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