Dakota Rural Action Black Hills Chapter is a left-of-center nonprofit organization fiscally sponsored by Dakota Rural Action. It is based in Rapid City, South Dakota and organizes events, meetings and campaigns to support left-of-center policy on agriculture, community, energy, and natural resources. The Black Hills Chapter began in June 2011 and has representatives in Meade, Fall River, Lawrence, Pennington, and Custer counties.1
The Black Hills Chapter was involved in a political campaign against energy company Powertech to prevent uranium mining in South Dakota. Working with the Bureau of Land Management and other organizations, the Black Hills Chapter attempted to stop the Dewey-Burdock in Situ Leach Uranium Mining Project, located in Custer and Fall River Counties.2 The protests failed to prevent the uranium mining, and Powertech has continued the project.3 The Black Hills Chapter also attempted to pass a resolution against large-scale upstream gold prospecting to try and stop the F3 Jenny Gulch Exploration Drilling Project, claiming that gold mining and exploration would pollute the water.4
In October of 2017, the Black Hills Chapter, along with the Rapid City-based organization Clean Water Alliance, Save Rouchford, and Rapid Creek, came out with a statement against a gold exploration drilling project proposed by Mineral Mountain Resources. The Vancouver-based organization proposed to conduct drilling exploration on about 7,500 acres of private land and publicly administered properties.5
The Black Hills Chapter runs a variety of events across over South Dakota in support of environmentalist causes. In August 2013, the Chapter co-sponsored the Heartland Film Society’s August Double Feature at the Dahl Arts Center, Rapid City. The evening consisted of two documentary films that decried the purported effects of uranium mining on the people of the Great Plains in 2013 and those of the Southern Black Hills in the late 1970s. The first featured film, Crying Earth Rise Up, was made by Debra White Plume in 2013, while the second, Black Waters: Uranium Mining in the Black Hills, was made by Talli Nauman in 1981 and has a runtime of just 30 minutes.6
The Black Hills Chapter is associated with the Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, a left-of-center religious movement that focuses on purportedly “marginalized” communities. The fellowship organizes partnerships with community organizations to provide marginalized groups with housing, employment opportunities, and medical care. The Black Hills Chapter is also associated with the Black Hills Center for Equality, a local organization in South Dakota that provides support for LGBT people.7
Rebecca Turk is a senior organizer and a state lobbyist for Dakota Rural Action. She is responsible for staffing the statewide Rural Vitality Committee, the Pipeline Committee, and the Black Hills Chapter.8
- “Dakota Rural Action | Black Hills Chapter – About.” Drablackhillschapter. Accessed January 22, 2021. https://www.dakotaruralblackhills.org/about-our-chapter.
- “Stop the Uranium Mining Threat! Public Comment Deadline Aug. 26.” Dakota Rural Action. Last modified August 12, 2020. https://www.dakotarural.org/stop-the-uranium-mining-threat-public-comment-deadline-aug-26/.
- Tupper, Seth. “Tribe Loses Case Against Uranium Mine.” Rapid City Journal Media Group. Last modified January 18, 2020. https://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/tribe-loses-case-against-uranium-mine/article_628e598b-e210-5ed0-85e2-5cc25b04ca91.html.
- “Lakota Prophecy Changes Mind of City Council | Native Sun News Today.” Native Sun News. Last modified February 11, 2020. https://www.nativesunnews.today/articles/lakota-prophecy-changes-mind-of-city-council/.
- Nauman, Talli. “Gold Fever Returns to the Black Hills.” Intercontinental Cry. Last modified October 30, 2017. https://intercontinentalcry.org/gold-fever-returns-black-hills/.
- “Crying Earth Rise Up! & Black Waters Film Screenings.” South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://sdsmt.campuslabs.com/engage/event/277302.
- “Social Justice — Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.” Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Accessed January 23, 2021. https://www.bhuuf.org/social-justice.
- “Staff.” Dakota Rural Action. Last modified November 8, 2017. https://www.dakotarural.org/who-we-are/staff/.