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Cheyenne River Sioux chairman slams Biden’s tribal summit

November 18, 2021 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The chairman of a tribe in South Dakota said Thursday he was left frustrated by President Joe Biden’s Tribal Nations Summit after he was unable to speak about the health care situation on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Tribal chairman Harold Frazier sharply criticized the format of the two-day summit, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected Native Americans and Alaska Natives at disproportionate rates. It is the first summit since 2016.

“I waited two days for the opportunity to inform someone about what is actually happening here on the Cheyenne River reservation to no avail,” he said in a statement, adding, “This President and his administration are leaving my people in the hallways and parking lots while they fill computer meeting screens with panels of people that are not a part of our healthcare system where we live.”

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Biden used the summit to announce steps to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to protect private lands, treaty rights and sacred places. He has also touted his administration’s work on fighting the pandemic in Native American communities.

But Frazier said people have faced long waits to get a bed at the local Indian Health Services clinic.