SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Local Native American groups gathered in front of Sioux City City Hall Monday afternoon to protest a number of issues.
Several local tribes say they are upset with the way they feel the city treats the homeless population, especially those who are Native American.
Protest leaders say change is overdue.
“We don’t want to see it swept under the rug. We want to see, we understand there is a bigger issue of homelessness here in the city. But at the same time, there’s a better way to deal with some of these clean-ups,” said Manape LaMere, a Native American protester.
A protest in front of City Hall was organized because of the mistreatment of homeless Native Americans.
“They put up a sign to say that they are going to be cleaning up. And the day of that clean up, police escorted some city workers and there were some pretty ugly things that were said from the city workers to the individuals that they were cleaning up after,” said LaMere.
For one Sioux City business owner, he notices the homeless population increasing.
“Any issues that we’ve had, we’ve always been, you know, really well responded to. We’ve always had help with those things. The sheriff sat down with me, talked to me about needs and how to contact them and what to do if we ever had any issues,” said Juan Munoz, the owner of Brightside Café.
And he’s decided to help.
“They definitely needed another place to eat downtown. So that’s where that feed it forward program kind of came out of. I’ve seen other restaurants do it so we kind of adapted it to our needs and to what Sioux City needed,” said Munoz.
Native American leaders hope today’s call for change won’t fall on deaf ears.
“Maybe it’s a really hard day, or a really hard month or a really hard year. And so is there a way that we could do these clean ups without being so intrusive and throwing personal belongings away,” said LaMere.
City leaders said they want to further the dialogue between them and the Native American community to help ease tension and come to a resolution.