October 20, 2022 3 min read


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Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against South Dakota Hotel and Casino

A lawsuit has been filed against the owners of the Grand Gateway Hotel and the Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino owners due to their decision to ban Native Americans from their establishment following a fatal shooting at the hotel resulting in the death of a 19-year-old Native American.

Federal Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against Grand Gateway Hotel Owners

The Washington Post reported that on October 19, the US Department of Justice submitted a lawsuit regarding discrimination of civil rights against the owners of the Grand Gateway Hotel and the Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino located in Rapid City, South Dakota.

At the end of March, the proprietors of the hotel made a change to their policy which effectively banned Native Americans from entering their casino, hotel, and sports lounge venues.

The discriminatory policy change was based on the fact that on March 19 a shooting took place in one of the hotel’s rooms. A 19-year-old Native American man was shot and eventually died from his wounds. The primary suspect who was charged with second-degree murder is also a Native American.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who is responsible for the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, has condemned the hotel’s policy as racist and offensive and has pointed out that such practices have no place in modern society.

Twitter Post Announcing the Hotel’s Policy Against Native Americans Receives Massive Bashing

Right after the shooting hotel owner Connie Uhre posted on Twitter that her hotel will be banning all Native Americans from entering the property as “we do not know the nice ones from the bad natives … so we just have to say no to them!”.

The post sparked harsh criticism in South Dakota’s second-largest city where 10% of the population is Native American. Uhre was also bashed by the mayor of Rapid City on Twitter.

Harold Frazier, chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, has condemned Uhre’s statement as racist and discriminatory: “It is foolish to attack a race of people and not all of the issues affecting the society in which we live. This includes racism.

Following Uhre’s statement, all of the staff working in the Cheers bar and some employees at the hotel quit their jobs.

In addition, the NDN Collective, a non-profit organization safeguarding the civil rights of Native Americans, filed a racial discrimination lawsuit on March 23 after two Native Americans were not allowed in the Grand Gateway Hotel.

The tribal leaders of the Great Sioux Nation also issued a cease-and-desist order to the hotel’s owners as the hotel is situated on treaty land, which violates the 1868 Treaty. As per the order, the owners are required to immediately leave the property and take any personal belongings with them.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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