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Hospital Dedication Held On SD Reservation

August 26, 2011, 9:49 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Hospital Dedication Held On SD Reservation
EAGLE BUTTE, SD - People on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation are celebrating a new hospital.

More than $80 million of stimulus money went into the project and tribal members dedicated the building on Friday.

A new hospital has been a longtime coming for several people on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation who came out to celebrate this new facility.

The building holds both tribal and federal health services and is more than three times the size of the old one. As LeRoy LaPlante Jr. said as he stood before hundreds in the crowd, there's no cramming into a small waiting room anymore.

"It's a promise that our best days are ahead of us. And I believe as a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, I believe our best days are ahead of us," LaPlante Jr. said.

The hospital's dedication ceremony came with a celebration, drawing in several leaders from the tribal level up to the federal including Indian Health Service director Yvette Roubideaux.

"I truly believe the only way we can improve the health of our communities is to work in partnership with them," Roubideaux said.

The more than $100 million project started two years ago and was chosen for stimulus funding as it was shovel ready and already in the works. Had the stimulus money not been there, it would have gone up in phases over a longer period of time.

"Today is a very proud day in Eagle Butte. But we have much more work to do," Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota said.

Tat will take more partnerships between the federal and local level.

"Today, I look at this as a chance for us to begin new. I see the doctors, I see tribal health, I see IHS people. But most important, a lot of members are here and this facility is for you as tribal members," tribal chairman Kevin Keckler said.

The Indian Health Service had tagged the old facility as vastly undersized and understaffed.

For now, they are still working out of their old place. But they should be moving into their new facility in a month.

The Indian Health Service paid for a study in 2004 that found its facility in Eagle Butte had 19 percent of the size and 34 percent of the staff needed to provide adequate service to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.

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