Threat In SD To Ban Native Americans Brings Federal Lawsuit
Thousands of North Dakotans travel to or through Rapid City on their Black Hills getaways. Will this outrageous story affect your lodging choices?
It was a social media post earlier this week from Connie Uhre, one of the owners of Rapid City's Grand Gateway Hotel that has ignited a South Dakota wildfire of protest that has led to a federal civil rights class-action lawsuit. The post followed a shooting incident at the hotel early in the morning on Saturday that left one man with serious injuries.
Connie Uhre's post reflects the current fragile race relations in Rapid City.
Grammatical and factual errors in the post may indicate Uhre's state of mind when she took to Facebook on Sunday. With the filing of the federal lawsuit, it's clear the matter cannot simply be dismissed as an egregious mistake. This will be a costly lesson for not just Connie Uhre but for the Retsel Corporation, the parent company of the hotel.
So here's the post that sent hundreds of demonstrators to the streets on Wednesday
'Do to the killing that took place at the Grand Gateway Hotel on March 19 2022 at 4 am plus all the vandalism we have had since the Mayor and Police Department ate working with the non profit organization (Dark Money) . We will no long allow any Native American on property. Or in Cheers Sports Bar. Natives killing Natives. Rancher and Travelers will receive a very special rate of 59.00 a night. Book Direct'
The post was quickly removed but not before it was screenshot and reposted.
NDN Collective sent Sunny Red Bear, racial equity campaign director for the collective, to the hotel to book a room and she was denied. They then sent the director of operations Alberta Eagle to book rooms on behalf of the organization. He said Eagle was denied and removed from the lobby.
Nick also provided a rationale for his mother's actions.
"I believe that my mother cries so loudly when gunshots ring through the hotel and vandals destroy guest property because she feels that everything she has sacrificed her life for is being destroyed,"
Since the uproar, many Native American employees including management have walked away from their jobs to avoid the controversy. I would presume Connie Uhre's intended results may come to fruition when Native Americans boycott the hotel. It may also draw those that are in agreement with Connie's thoughts. Although it seems pretty clear a class action civil rights lawsuit is going to be very expensive to the corporation.