Cheyenne River Sioux members dedicated a new $100 million hospital on the Eagle Butte, South Dakota-based reservation on August 26, reported Keloland Television.
Funded with more than $80 million of stimulus money, the building is triple the size of the previous undersized and understaffed facility. A 2004 study funded by the Indian Health Service (IHS) found that its Eagle Butte-based facility had 19 percent of the size and 34 percent of the staff needed to provide adequate service to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, reported the local TV station.
Tribal leaders and health representatives in Indian Country and the federal government attended the dedication, including IHS 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, reported Keloland.
Started two years ago, the project requires more partnerships between the federal and local level. The new hospital offers both tribal and federal health services. IHS will move into the new facility within a month.
At the dedication ceremony, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) applauded the hard work. “This new facility was a long time coming,” he said in a press release. “I remember sitting in a conference room back here in 2003 with then-Indian Health Service Director Dr. Charles Grim discussing the need for state-of-the-art health equipment on this reservation,” said Johnson, a member of the Appropriations and Indian Affairs Committees. “Anyone who doubts the success of the stimulus package needs to look at this facility, which will create jobs and provide quality health care to the people of Cheyenne River.”