Demand Indian Health Services Be Accountable for Cheyenne River Sioux Hospital and Birthing Center
  • Petitioned Ted Troseth

This petition was delivered to:

Aberdeen Area FOIA Coordinator
Ted Troseth
IHS FOIA Public Liason
Raho Ortiz
IHS FOIA Coordinator
Janet Ingersoll

Demand Indian Health Services Be Accountable for Cheyenne River Sioux Hospital and Birthing Center

    1. Roxann MtJoy
    2. Petition by

      Roxann MtJoy

      Mount Vernon, NY

For approximately ten years, pregnant women of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe have made the so-called "hell ride,"  an over 90-mile trek to St. Mary's Healthcare Center in Pierre, South Dakota whenever they are ready to give birth. The lucky ones make the journey strapped to a gurney in the back of an ambulance; the others have to find private transportation, no easy task on the reservation, where the cars are limited and the poverty severe. A higher than average number women choose — or are coerced by doctors — to induce labor, in an attempt to avoid the hell ride altogether.

It seems that the reservation and its 14,200 residents have been without obstetrical facilities since 2001. The overall situation on the reservation is so bad that Fordham law school professor Chi Mgbako compared it to that of women in developing nations.

Supposedly, a hospital and birthing center have been in the works for the reservation for a decade. However, when the ACLU asked the Indian Health Service (IHS) to reveal the plans for the project, they refused. Last fall, the ACLU sued under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Since then, only a few documents have been released to them.

The situation for the women of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is unacceptable.  They deserve access to comprehensive reproductive health care.  Ask the IHS to turn over all documentation relating to the proposed hospital. 

Photo credit: striatic

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 750 signatures
    2. Alex DiBranco
      Petition Organizer

      New AP article, "A Look Inside America's Poorest County,": profiles the poor conditions faced by the Cheyenne River Sioux community in South Dakota.

    3. Reached 250 signatures
    4. Pregnant Sioux Women Have "Hell Ride" to Birth

      Alex DiBranco
      Petition Organizer

      Imagine you are pregnant. You are now at full-term and it is time to give birth. The closest health care center with obstetrical services is well over an hour away and transportation is scarce. That might sound horrible, but such is the harsh reality...


    Reasons for signing

    • Jerriann Burgess BURNHAM, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 3 years ago


    • Sarah Land RAVENNA, OH
      • over 3 years ago

      Isn't it about time we stop treating indigenous Americans as subhuman? Isn't 500 years of genocide enough????

    • Gina Lindow ASHLAND, OR
      • over 3 years ago

      I am appalled at the lack of basic, ESSENTIAL health care services; including care for the pregnant and women about to give birth, that is available to The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe as well as other groups in other areas of South Dakota and our nation. In this day and age, this is not only unacceptable but intolerable as well. Please take immediate action to remedy this issue. No plan for "down the road", but IMMEDIATE attention to this very serious matter. Thank you, Gina Lindow

    • Michael Farquharson FREMONT, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Think about this people. Would you want YOUR daughter,sister or wife to have to deal with this?

      • over 3 years ago

      Almost there! Good luck!

      Women's Health Love!


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