South Dakota Hotelier Threatens To Ban Native Americans
Posted By Jared McKiernanMarch 22nd, 2022
Last Updated on: March 22nd, 2022
One of the owners of a Rapid City, South Dakota hotel said Native Americans are no longer welcome on the property following a shooting at the hotel March 19.
Connie Uhre, one of the owners of the Grand Gateway Hotel, said in a since-deleted Facebook comment that she can “not allow a Native American to enter our business including [sports bar] Cheers,” stating she can't tell “who is a bad Native or a good Native.”
The shooting, which occurred in one of the Grand Gateway's hotel rooms, left a man with severe injuries, Rapid City Police said. Quincy Bear Robe, 19, was arrested on multiple charges, the Rapid City Journal reported.
Uhre, meanwhile, blamed Rapid City's mayor and police department for a so-called increase in crime.
Here's a screenshot of Uhre's full rant:
Not only are the comments racist, blatantly discriminatory, and incredibly hurtful to the Native community in Rapid City and beyond, they're corroborated by numerous reviews on Google, Facebook and other platforms, detailing a history of bigotry at the Grand Gateway Hotel:
Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender later shared a response as well as a screenshot of Uhre's comments:
In addition to blaming the mayor, police chief, sheriff, candidate for sheriff and the court system, a local hotel bans all Native Americans for a shooting a few days ago on hotel property. Neither the shooting or Grand Gateway Hotel’s response to it reflect our community values.
I just felt that I couldn't be silent and pretend like this is just a harmless venting out of frustration. This is an attack on not only…Rapid Citians who are Native American but also the larger Native American population nationwide.”
Interestingly, 12 percent of Rapid City residents are Native American, and many of them have stayed at the Grand Gateway Hotel over the years. Nick Uhre, the owner’s son, did tell South Dakota Public Broadcasting that the Grand Gateway Hotel would not issue a ban on Native Americans. However, he too has a deeply disturbing track record of racist comments, punctuated by an email he sent following the March 19 shooting:
The best thing to do, whether you're Native American or not, is to support businesses that welcome everybody with open arms, regardless of their race, background, creed, income, or sexual preference. Give your hard-earned dollars to organizations who would never, under any circumstances, threaten to ban a group of people, as Uhre did. Better yet, support Native American-owned and operated businesses.
How this will impact the Grand Gateway Hotel's business moving forward remains to be seen, but it's hard to believe that any Rapid City tourists or locals could find a reason to support this establishment following such reprehensible action from the Uhre family.
If you'd like to leave a review on the Grand Gateway Hotel's Facebook page, let your voice be heard. Let the staff and anyone who visits the page know that you oppose racism and do not support their exclusionary agenda.
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