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OST voters defeat proposal to 638 contract IHS

PINE RIDGE – Members of the Oglala Lakota Nation overwhelmingly voted to defeat a proposed move to scrap Indian Health Service oversight of their Indian Health Service Unit Hospital.

On July 12, a total of 887 votes were cast and the majority sent a loud and clear message they do not wish to relinquish IHS control of their facility over to tribal control via a 638 contract. The Yes votes, 91 were dwarfed by no votes, 675, against the proposal with 121 challenge votes yet to be included. However, the challenge votes are not enough to overturn the vote defeating the proposal.

It is not often that that Tribes consult with tribal members when making decisions that literally impact their lives. However, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council set out to involve the community in the decision-making process of 638 contract. The Council created a task force which included George Pourier, RaeAnn Red Owl and Chris Eagle Elk to help inform the communities about the process. The task force set up meetings in all the districts of the Oglala Lakota Nation to give community members vital information. The task force also took to the airwaves of KILI Radio to disperse knowledge about the process.

The OST Council also decided to allow the people a voice in the decision making process by calling for a referendum vote on whether or not they wanted the tribe to take over control of their IHS Facility.

Tribal members voted on July 12 and they let council know they overwhelmingly do not want their facility 638 contracted.


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