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Rapid City Council votes in favor of returning land to Native American community

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 10:09 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - On November second the Rapid City council tabled a vote on the land exchange resolution, now those members met Monday night to vote.

A landslide 9-1 vote at the Rapid City Council meeting, some calling historic.

“This for me personally is historic,” says Lafawn Janis organizer of the Indian Boarding School Project.

A resolution giving the Native American community a land exchange in Rapid City just took its first steps.

“So in the last 70 to 80 years the native community has felt like their voice has not been heard and again they listened tonight, so we are just honoring the work that our grandmothers have started,” says Janis.

The land in question is the Canyon Lake Activity Center, Clarkson Mountain View Health Care Facility, and Monument Health Behavioral Health Center worth more than $22 million.

“We’re not taking the land away, it’s going to be a land exchange for maybe some land that the city has somewhere else,” says Council Member Darla Drew. “So don’t think we’re going to tale those centers and take them down, make the senior center move, make the hospital move. That’s not the point.”

Now, the community can move forward.

“The hope for this is to bring a Native Community Center, hopefully maybe some Pow Wow grounds, or some affordable housing. These are issues that our entire community faces,” says Janis.

The City of Rapid City will be getting a group of people together to work out the issues with direction from the Department of the Interior.

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