“Sioux San Case in Conference at the Supreme Court”
June 10, 2021
Rapid City, SD – Dodging an effort to have their case dismissed by the U.S. Solicitor General, who is the attorney for the opposition, the Indian Health Service, the case Gilbert v. Weahkee is in conference at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
Mark Goldstone, the attorney for Donna M. Gilbert, Julie Mohney, and Charmaine White Face, submitted a Supplement to the Court. A case in the Supreme Court, already heard by the Justices, contains part of the issue in the Gilbert v. Weahkee case. The coinciding issue is that a state corporation cannot be eligible for federal funds as defined by the Indian Self-Determination Act because such a corporation is not a Tribal Organization.
The Gilbert v. Weahkee case, known locally as the Sioux San case, began when a federal agency, the Indian Health Service (IHS), gave an Indian Self-Determination Act multi-million dollar contract to a South Dakota non-profit corporation to manage the Sioux San IHS Hospital in Rapid City, SD. As the South Dakota non-profit corporation was not a Tribal Organization under the jurisdiction of any tribe, this was a clear violation of Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. Furthermore, the Tribes have no jurisdiction in Rapid City. In addition, the non-profit corporation was originally created by the IHS to act as a liaison, or messenger, between the seventeen (17) Regional Tribes and the Region’s IHS offices and does not have hospital management capabilities.
For the Sioux people living in Rapid City, this was also a violation of Article VI of the U.S. Constitution which states that treaties are the supreme law of the land. The Sioux people living in Rapid City live in 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty Territory and the Treaty also provides for health care. The IHS as the government agency to provide health care was shirking their obligation by giving the contract to a state non-profit corporation thereby privatizing a federal government responsibility in violation of an International Treaty.
Three (3) Sioux women from Rapid City, Donna M. Gilbert, Julie Mohney, and Charmaine White Face, filed suit in the local SD federal court only to have their suit dismissed. Proceeding on their own, pro se, the women took their case to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and had their case again dismissed. Undaunted, as many of the patients at the hospital were being harmed in a number of ways, the three women proceeded to the U.S. Supreme Court. They were trying to stop fraud by a federal agency, save their hospital, and make sure the American Indian community members had good health care as provided in the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty.
“The truth will come out,” said Julie Mohney.
The three women are represented at the Supreme Court by Mark Goldstone, a Washington, DC attorney. “I am so proud and honored to stand with these three brave Native women in their fight for Native self-determination. I look forward to speaking with the Supreme Court and use my voice to prevent this injustice.”
The case will be in conference in the Supreme Court until the end of June.