Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
PINE RIDGE, SOUTH DAKOTA On Thursday the Sioux Nation Shopping Center reopened its meat department after being shut down for almost a week by an Indian Health Service sanitarian because the store sold outdated meat. The meat department was closed down on Friday, May 4 by Indian Health Service.
On Friday President John Yellow Bird Steele of the Oglala Sioux Tribe sought and received a temporary order to have the store closed for 72 hours through the Oglala Sioux Tribe's court. His office released a Public Service Announcement that reads:
The OST President's Office has obtained a temporary restraining order to close Sioux Nation Shopping Center, due to Health and Safety concerns.
This action comes on the heels of several tribal members who became sick as the result of purchasing outdated meat.
“The store mixed fresh meat with old meat and an expiration date was put on packages. They apparently used the date of the freshest product,”
said Debra White Plume, who lives in the Wounded Knee district of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation some 60 miles from the village of Pine Ridge.
White Plume says her six year old granddaughter got sick after eating outdated hamburger meat sold by Sioux Nation Shopping Center.
"My granddaughter became sick and we have had to take to the emergency room in Pine Ridge. She has already had to go back once and we have to take her back this coming Monday,"
White Plume told the Native News Network on Saturday.
"She has been tested for e coli. The doctor told us we may never know for sure if she had e coli because she had been on antibiotics for five days by the time she was tested. He said the antibiotics may have already worked to get e coli out of her system."
“Where is Diane Sawyer when we need her?”
asked White Plume.
“She was here to do the story last year. They, the media, do not come around when there are things like this happening.”
White Plume was referring to the ABC's anchor Diane Sawyer did called "Hidden America: Children of the Plains" last October 14th for ABC's "20/20."
Even with the mixing of old meat with new meat and then changing expiration dates, somehow at least one package escaped the eyes of the store personnel responsible. White Plume says she has a label with an expiration date of February 23, 2012. The label has Sandhill Ranchers Beef Company on it. Sandhills Ranchers Beef Company is located in Mullen, Nebraska, which is some 170 miles from Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
The Sioux Nation Superstore at the Shopping Center is owned by the Oglala Sioux Tribe, but operated by Cohn Wholesale Fruit and Grocery, Inc., based in San Diego, California. It leases the store from the Oglala Sioux Nation. There was no answer at Cohn Wholesale Fruit and Grocery on Saturday.
The 72 hour temporary restraining order issued by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Court means attorneys will be in court on Monday to hear arguments by both sides why the grocery should or should not be allowed to operate.
In the meantime, customers who have ever purchased meat from the Sioux Nation Shopping Center examine the meat closely prior to cooking meat. Tribal members should contact the tribal Health and Human Services at 605.867.5821.
posted May 13, 2012 4:59 pm edt