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Camp Mni Luzahan volunteers try not need RCPD

During a media tour on January 5, Camp Mni Luzahan volunteers said they’re doing their best to not have to work with the police, meaning they handle conflict, homeless care and pick up, and most other things on their own.
Published: Jan. 10, 2021 at 8:33 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - In October, the Rapid City Police Department broke up a tent camp near the Central States Fairgrounds.

Creek Patrol created the camp, and following the confrontation with police, the group created Camp Mni Luzahan on the edge of Rapid City. Since its creation, volunteers have done what they can not to need police support.

During a media tour on Jan. 5, Camp Mni Luzahan volunteers said they’re doing their best not to have to work with the police, meaning they handle conflict, homeless care and pick up, and most other things on their own. Volunteers did say, however, that RCPD has been called for medical attention in some cases.

Sunny Red Bear, a camp volunteer and the director of racial equity for NDN Collective, said despite not needing RCPD help, they have kept communication open.

”So, we are trying to have as many conversations and good communication with them as much as possible but also like making sure that our relatives and poor unhoused people do not feel like criminalized, that they also feel safe and protected,” said Red Bear.

That open communication comes in the form of business cards with the camp’s phone number on them and even working together to find the right place for each homeless person.

”We were doing foot patrol and checking on relatives, and I had seen that the police rolled up, so we went over there,” said Red Bear. “I was like is it okay if the come with us and they were like ‘yeah, absolutely’ and they turned to the guy’s, and they were like ‘hey, you guys want a warm meal and safe place to sleep tonight?’ and they were like “yeah, yeah” you know, so we were like alright cool.”

The public information officer for RCPD said they have no jurisdiction over the camp’s area.

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