Tribe revokes lease for only grocery on Pine Ridge

PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) _ The Oglala Sioux Tribe has revoked the building lease for the grocery store on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota because of continued complaints about spoiled food.

The Hi-Way 20 company has operated the Sioux Nation Shopping Center for more than a quarter century. The tribe has now given the company until Aug. 4 to vacate the tribally owned building, though Tribal Economic Development Director Lyle Jack said the company might not go without a fight.

"I don't think it will be over for a long shot,'' he told KELO-TV ( ). "There will probably be some sort of legal questioning, legal battles possibly.''

The store was shut down for a week a year ago after complaints about outdated meat. Jack said the Tribal Council has continued to receive complaints, and the council voted unanimously last week to revoke the building lease.

Hi-Way 20 attorney Terry Pechota said the problems last year "were promptly addressed, and those problems are non-existent down there at this time.''

Pechota said he is optimistic that the company and the tribe can reach an agreement.

"We have always tried to let the tribe know that we are ready, willing, and able at any time to meet with them and discuss any problems that they've had with the store,'' he said.

The closest large grocery store to Pine Ridge is in Rapid City, about 100 miles away. The reservation is one of the poorest areas in the country, and many residents don't have vehicles.

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