PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) — The sole grocery store on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation remained closed Wednesday, although the attorney general of the Oglala Sioux said a temporary restraining order has been lifted.
Oglala Sioux Attorney General Rae Ann Red Owl said she has dismissed the order and it is up to the owners to decide when to reopen the store. The Sioux Nation Shopping Center has been closed since Friday after the tribe filed the order.
“We've stepped aside,” Red Owl said.
The tribe claims the store was selling outdated meat. Oglala Sioux President John Yellow Bird Steele has also criticized the store's prices, which he said are far higher than nonreservation stores. Steele said Tuesday that he expected the store to open by the end of the day. Police were lined up outside the store in case a protest erupted with the store's opening.
But there was no protest because the store didn't reopen.
A lawyer for the store did not respond to a message seeking comment, but he told the Rapid City Journal that the store should reopen Thursday.
In a statement, Sioux Nation store director Richard Whitmarsh said the store has corrected all violations and has been working with tribal health officials to correct any violations. He noted that Indian Health Service confirmed no incidents of food poisoning were reported or found in Pine Ridge and that any violations found have been quickly corrected.
The closure has forced reservation residents to shop at convenience stores or travel to grocery stores in other towns. Nearby Whiteclay grocery businesses have reported an increase in traffic since the closing.
Tami Matthews, who lives in Pine Ridge, said she's not surprised the store is still closed.
“If it changes something, it's good,” she said.
Matthews said many of her family members already catch rides to Rapid City, S.D., when they need to go shopping.
Residents without transportation or family members may be the ones most affected by the closure, she said, although she noted that grocery stores in Whiteclay, Neb., are two miles away.
“You can walk there. It takes maybe 15 minutes,” she said.
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