Mni Luzahan Patrol talking to Mayor Steve Allender about homeless issues in Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Mayor Steve Allender sparked controversy among Rapid City’s Native American community with comments he made about sending homeless people, not from Rapid City, back to their home town.
The Mni Luzahan Patrol gathered at Memorial Park and marched to City Hall to have a meeting with the mayor about what can be done.
“We’re looking for short-term and long-term solutions to the issue of our people being houseless and exiled in their own homeland,” said Chase Iron Eyes, an organizer for the event.
The Mni Luzahan Patrol is a group committed to helping the homeless community in Rapid City with food and other resources. One of the group’s goals is to establish temporary housing that doesn’t require the homeless to be sober. Many of Rapid City’s homeless are dealing with addiction and don’t take advantage of existing resources because of sobriety requirements.
“Addiction is a big problem in our community and we recognize that,” said Nick Tilsen, the President of the NDN Collective. “And we want to work hand and hand with our community to solve those problems. But to do it founded in our Lakota culture, and to do it in a way that provides an opportunity for folks to change their lives around while feeding them, while treating them humanely.”
Mayor Allender says he’s open to working with Mni Luzahan Patrol to establish a Native American owned and operated housing service.
“We’ll need to work together, it’s a community issue that’s gonna have to be met with community solutions. There’s an issue now needing attention and I think that’s where our focus is,” said Rapid City Mayor, Steve Allender.
Both parties plan on meeting again to continue discussions on solving the homeless issues in the city.