The Rapid City group Wotakuye or “Good Relative” is sending a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland calling for the resignation of Rapid City Chief of Police Don Hedrick because of an ongoing lack of transparency concerning native people and interactions with law enforcement in the city that has led to tribal member deaths. Natalie Stites Means, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe tells KIPI news that she sees a “deliberate indifference to the indigenous loss of life”. Last year Chief Hedrick was appointed to the Not Invisible Act Commission but the group says, “Chief Hedrick cannot justify the killings of indigenous people in Rapid City on one hand while also serving as a member of the Not Invisible Act Commission on the other hand.” This year so far, 30 tribal members have gone missing in the Black Hills. In 2022, 5 out of 7 fatal shootings and 10 out of 13 shootings for the year, involved native American people. Also in the last 12 months, 2 tribal members have died while in custody at the Pennington County jail, one, Abbey Lynn Steele was just 20 years old. The Wotakuye group meets bi-weekly to address concerns of justice and other related issues. KIPI radio will run more stories on this.
Getting an abortion has long been extremely difficult for Native Americans and has become even tougher since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. New, restrictive state laws add to a series of existing hurdles. There’s a decades-old ban on most abortions at clinics and hospitals run by the Indian Health Service. Also, fewer other nearby health centers offer abortions. Among the seven states with the highest proportion of Native residents, four have moved or are poised to further restrict abortion. South Dakota and Oklahoma ban abortion with few exceptions. Many advocates worry that reduced abortion access will make things worse for women already facing maternal death rates twice as high as their white peers and teen birth rates more than twice as high as whites.
Those are your headlines at this hour. I’m Colette Keith in the KIPI News center.