Listen Live

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A federal lawsuit filed against a hotel and casino accuses the owners of discriminating against Native Americans, denying them rooms and access to the property.

>> Read more trending news

The Department of Justice announced the lawsuit in a news release, saying the owners and operators of the Grand Gateway Hotel, and the Cheers Sports Lounge and Casino which operates within the hotel, “discriminated against Native American customers through policies and practices that denied Native Americans the full and equal enjoyment of access to the services, accommodations, and privileges” at the property.

The hotel owners are accused of reacting to a March 2022 shooting near the property where a person was found shot and hurt in one of the hotel rooms by enacting discriminatory policies, KELO reported.

Connie Uhre, one of the owners of the property, is accused of telling other hotel owners and managers on March 20 that she did “not want to allow Natives on property … The problem is we do not know the nice ones from the bad natives … so we just have to say no to them!” Uhre is also accused of posting a statement in a comment thread on her Facebook account, saying that “we will no longer allow any Native American” on the property, the DOJ said in the news release. In the complaint, the DOJ alleges there were at least two occasions on which the hotel turned away Native Americans who tried to book rooms.

DOJ lawsuit against SD hotel and casino by National Content Desk on Scribd

The lawsuit argues the property owners violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in places of public accommodation or entertainment.