Cecelia Fire Thunder's project reconceived

A new approach to setting up a women's health clinic in South Dakota.

Published July 18, 2006 12:00PM (EDT)

It looks like there may be some good news from the bad-news-riddled Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota. Three weeks have passed since the impeachment of the tribe's first female president, Cecelia Fire Thunder, who responded to South Dakota's proposed abortion ban by promising to set up a Planned Parenthood clinic on Pine Ridge Reservation land, outside of state jurisdiction. Now another group of women is working on establishing a "wellness clinic" on the reservation instead.

Blogger boltgirl this weekend received a letter in response to a donation she had made to the Fire Thunder project. Her check was returned along with a note from Emily Bull Bear, a founder of the Sacred Choices health clinic, a nonprofit corporation that, according to its Web site, will provide women "with options for medical treatment, reproductive health care, fitness and mental health needs." Apparently, this nonprofit can be funded without tribal government approval. According to boltgirl, her check was returned along with the suggestion that she send a new one to the Sacred Choices clinic instead.

According to the letter received by boltgirl, the women behind Sacred Choices "all agree that along with reproductive services, the wellness model of mind, heart, body and spirit will be provided. This includes therapeutic services both western and Lakota methods for women who have been raped, sexually traumatized or abused at anytime in their life cycle."

You can check out the Sacred Choices Web site here.

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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