- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - A tribal tourism group is making a last-ditch effort to raise money for a $3.6 million American Indian cultural center in Rapid City.

The proposed He Sapa Cultural Performance Center would include an amphitheater for powwows and other cultural events, a Native American arts market and a living history exhibit. The center will not only emphasize culture, but also entrepreneurship and vocational training among Native Americans, said Daphne Richards-Cook, executive director of the Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates of Rapid City.

“It’s kind of an incubator,” she said. “It’s really hard in Rapid City for Native Americans to find management positions. This gives them an opportunity to open the door and be creative.”

The Alliance of Tribal Tourism Advocates of Rapid City has until Dec. 31 to prove to the Rapid City Council that it has the money to build the facility. Otherwise the group risks losing public funding and land the city has dedicated to the project.

The effort is $600,000 short and has requested a 90-day extension to solicit more donors, Daphne Richards-Cook told the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1wC5z9c ). The council will decide on the request later this month.

Rapid City officials approved $812,000 in city funding for the group in 2005. About $660,000 of the funding remains after payments made for design work.

The group is hoping private donations will allow them to keep the remainder of the funding and city-owned land on which the center will be located.

“We really need to see if we can get other people in the area to help,” Cook-Richards said before the meeting. “This type of opportunity is something that is really unique. It would be a great opportunity for all of us to work together.”

The deadline extension will be reviewed by a committee on Dec. 30 and by the full council on Jan. 5.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com


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