A town hall meeting in Kota Territory raises concerns over health care and human sex trafficking.
It was standing room only at the Oyate Community Center at Lakota Homes, with around 50 people coming to the meeting Thursday, which was driven by public comment.
Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker, U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, and South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations J. R. LaPlante were in attendance.
One concerned woman asked how the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) will affect the Native American community. Secretary LaPlante says he's been trying to find that out for two years, without any luck.
LaPlante says Native Americans have a treaty-right to health care. "We're the only people in the U.S. with a birth right to health care. It's not an entitlement, it's a birth right and yet we can't get a straight answer on how this is going to impact us," said LaPlante.
U.S. Attorney Johnson addressed concerns about human sex trafficking in Sioux Falls. He says 100 girls have been found sexually assaulted, many of them Native American.
Johnson added one in three Native Americans will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and our community needs to help stop such heinous crimes. "So if you hear about this going on in your communities, that you're comfortable reaching out to the Rapid City Police Department and let us know if you see this coming into Rapid City," said Johnson.