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Congress is passing a bill that repeals 11 federal laws that discriminate against Native Americans.
Two Republican members of South Dakota’s congressional delegation pushed the bill forward — Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD).
Lee Strubinger has more.
One of the federals laws the RESPECT Act repeals is one that strips Native American children from their families and forcing them into boarding schools.
Sen. Rounds has introduced the bill as far back as 2015. Then, it failed to make it out of committee. Now, it’s been passed by the Senate and House.
It repeals laws dealing with forced separation for “Indian reform school” and abolishing certain treaty rights, among others.
Rounds says he’s pleased the bill passed.
“We need to clean up some of this legislation that’s been around for more than a century that really disrespected Native Americans throughout the United States. The opportunity to eliminate these 11 laws sends a good message that we recognize they were wrong to begin with, but second of all to do something about it.”
Rounds says the bill sends a message to tribes from Congress that it wants to right some wrongs of the past.
The bill has support from the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association and National Congress of American Indians.
It now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk.
Meanwhile, a powerful blizzard failed to keep fans from attending the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City. South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s C.J. Keene reports the annual event is as popular as ever.
Wind gusts over 60 miles an hour and snow descended upon the entire state, negatively affecting driving conditions the day before the tournament started.
Bryan Brewer is the founder of the LNI, which is in its 45th year. He says the blizzard brought an unexpected wrinkle.
“A lot of the fans came up early. Right now, we have fans that are calling and they’re trying to get up here hopefully tomorrow to watch the games. Many of them are watching on pay-per-view. Last year we sold for four days for pay-per-view, we sold that same number in the first four hours of the first day.”
Brewer says there is a deep connection to the tournament.
“We have our third generation of kids. We have boys that play, and their grandfathers played in the tournament when we first started. It’s really something, and you can see the excitement and how proud they are to represent their school. It’s really a good feeling just to watch our kids.”
Brewer says decades in, the LNI continues to gain in popularity. He says finding space for other events is still a challenge. That’s despite Rapid City completing a new arena last year.
“Last year was our first year in the Summit Arena. With the addition of the Summit that has really helped us. There is a lot of other activities that we would like to do, but we don’t have enough room. So, we’re trying to figure out how to get those other venues started.”
The LNI runs through this Saturday.
A hospital on the Navajo Nation in Arizona is seeking the public’s help as its being overloaded with patients with the flu, RSV, and COVID-19.
The Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation says the combination of cases are filling up beds at the hospital and other hospitals in the state, especially with respiratory illnesses among children.
The increased demand on staff is straining the healthcare system.
To deal with the surge, a second clinic has been opened for adult urgent care.
Doctors are asking the public to consider their options for care, including telemedicine visits.
Health officials are also encouraging people to wear masks in public.
A mask mandate on the Navajo reservation is still in place.
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