By Rodney Bordeaux
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
The Rosebud Sioux Tribe rescinded our approval to join with the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST) and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) authorizing the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board (GPTCHB) to contract the Sioux San Health Care Facility in Rapid City, South Dakota. We pulled out due to the lack of information, lack of transparency and the lack of adequate consultation with members of the Rapid City Indian Community.
The Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council (TC) rescinded two resolutions in November 2018 that approved our participation in the contracting. We were not satisfied with the follow up information requested after the TC approved the resolutions in April 2018. In addition, we concluded that the patrons and members of the Rapid City Indian Community were not adequately consulted to allow our Tribe to make an informed decision. Our decision was further enhanced by the lack of trust in the administrative leadership at the GPTCHB.
There is a troubling lack of transparency in the process. We believe that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe was misled when it was originally informed by the administrative leadership that the contracting cannot happen without the approval of all three Tribes. Now the Indian Health Service is considering the contracting package with only the OST and CRST approving to go forward. It is our position that the IHS leadership at the regional and national levels are not acting in our best interest and are trying to cause a rift in our relationship with the OST and CRST. They don’t realize that our unity is strong and they cannot break that.
I want to make it clear that the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is always invested in making sure the federal government lives up to its treaty obligations to provide for the health care of our tribal members, whether they live on our reservation or elsewhere. Health care is a Treaty right! We believe that the people who are to be served by Sioux San should have a voice in how the project moves forward whether or not they live on a reservation. The Rapid City area has many tribal members that call it home, but very few of them know what is happening at the Sioux San. They do not have a voice, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe believes that they should.
Finally, I wish to point out that the Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638) authorized the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of the Health and Human Services and some other governmental agencies to enter into contracts with and make grants directly to federally recognized Indian Tribes. This law and 25 CFR 900.8(d)(1) spell out the implementation regulations for contracting. We are eager to continue the discussions with the other Presidents on this issue but would remind everyone interested in the project that the regulations require a tribe otherwise eligible to conduct a contract within the area proposed to be served to acquiesce (consent to) in the administration of those programs by the proposing tribe. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe has not yet acquiesced as is our right. We may revisit our position if our concerns are addressed in a meaningful manner.