On Saturday, the Great Sioux Nation in South Dakota issued a “Notice of Trespass (Cease and Desist)” order against Connie Uhre-Grand Gateway Hotel and its subsidiaries with instructions to vacate the premises.

Connie Uhre is the 76-year-old owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel that posted on social media she would ban Native American from the property after a shooting took place in one of the hotel rooms in the early hours of March 19. Uhre wrote on Facebook: “Do [sic] 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 are working with the non-profit organization (Dark Money), we will no longer allow Native Americans on property, including Cheers.”

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Uhre’s banning of Native Americans at the 132-room Grand Gateway Hotel that touts itself as the “best hotel” in Rapid City has sparked backlash by Native Americans throughout South Dakota.

As of Sunday morning, a notice on the Internet says the Grand Gateway Hotel says the hotel is “temporarily closed.” Calls to the hotel go to voicemail.

In its Notice of Trespass, Great Sioux Nation cited the Treaty with the Sioux, dated April 29, 1868, that reads: "...no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the [land north of the North Platte River or east of the summits of the Big Horn Mountains]; or without the consent of the Indians first had and obtained, to pass through the same."

Eviction notice went up on Saturday. (Photo/NDN Collective Twitter)

Also, on Saturday, for the second time within days, hundreds of Native Americans marched on the streets of Rapid City, S.D. and held an “Indian Allowed” rally at a local park to bring attention to the racist and illegal stance of the Grand Gateway Hotel.

On Wednesday, Brendan V. Johnson, a former U.S. Attorney and who now is an attorney with Robins-Kaplan law firm, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court - South Dakota Western District on behalf of the NDN Collective. The lawsuit came after members of the NDN Collective were denied room rentals for two days in a row. The lawsuit says the hotel's actions are “part of a policy, pattern, or practice of intentional racial discrimination against Native Americans."

CORRECTION: An earlier version erroneously referred to the Great Sioux Nation as the Grand Sioux Nation. Native News Online apologizes for the mistake.

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Levi Rickert
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Levi Rickert (Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation) is the founder, publisher and editor of Native News Online. Rickert was awarded Best Column 2021 Native Media Award for the print/online category by the Native American Journalists Association. He serves on the advisory board of the Multicultural Media Correspondents Association. He can be reached at [email protected]