Great Plains Tribal Health Board holds public meeting

Jerilyn Church

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board held a public question and answer session on Monday on the future of a new Indian Health Service clinic in Rapid City.

Previously, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe moved to build a new clinic near Western Dakota Technical Institute on donated private land. The tribes say they are exercising tribal sovereignty through Self Determination. Health board leadership says the facility will expand services for the Native Community.

Jerilyn ChurchGPTCHB leadership said that the land is purposed only for a new facility and would be federally-owned land. Some community members have questioned why a completely new hospital should be built instead of fixing up Sioux San on the west side of Rapid City. Jerilyn Church, the CEO of GPTCHB, said that a new hospital would have brand new electric and water infrastructure, compared to the aging pipes at Sioux San.

According to Community Advisory Committee Member Richard Boyd, if the clinic is administered by IHS, it could open the facility to funding from other federal organizations like the National Institutes of Health.

Some have criticized the proposed location as being too far from central Rapid City, but health board leadership says they’re working with the city to bring RapidRide to the east side of town.

Boyd also stressed the need for people to be included in the conversation and to ask questions of those in charge.

“[We need] more people coming to these meetings we’re having, more people making one of their top conversations is, ‘Let’s have that new clinic,'” said Boyd.

The next meeting will be on Dec. 12 at the Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News