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Dear Editor:

I’m a very concerned elder in our community. Did you know that we are being used like “test-study lab rats?”

We are a people with feelings and much heart.

I know I’m not the only one who is on the study list. I don’t know how they pick and choose us lab rats, but it resulted in me being placed in Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.

I needed a knee replacement, that was in 2014, February. When I discovered, while in the hospital, that something was very wrong with the way they tried to kick me out of the hospital, which confirmed what I already knew.

So, when I got home, I sent for the x-rays. On my x-ray, it had “test study” written clearly. I tried to get an attorney, but no attorney would take my case, because they said doctors will back each other up.

Since that time, I’ve been in the ER in Rosebud, and I met a doctor from White Mountain Apache. He told me, “Yes, your people are being used like test-study lab rats.”

Scream it as loudly as you can, get some kind of national attention on it, or it won’t stop. The tribe is trying to sue IHS hospital after a pattern of abuses was found. We had been trying to tell our elected tribal leaders for years, and finally somebody listened.

I spoke to many elderly women and men in the past year who told me that they think they are given medicine that makes their problems even worse.

So, how much do we have to endure before something is done about this? Maybe if someone like Oprah Winfrey was to get involved to bring light on this very shameful thing that is continuing to happen right before our eyes, yet few people really see what is happening.

For the love of my Lakota People, please put this in your newspaper. I’ve since been several times to Rosebud ER, and with a relative, asking the doctor that was working on my relative about it being used, and the doctor told me, “It’s your tribal administration doing this.”

Know what I mean? Who is telling the truth?

But I do know when we are being mistreated. That, I do know.

Thank you very much. I would hope you would put all this in your wonderful newspaper. Please don’t use my name just now. Somebody at IHS will make me out as a troublemaker, and who is there who would stand up for me?


(Name Withheld by Request)

White River, S.D.

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