ROSEBUD, S.D. — Ben Reifel, the first Lakota to serve in Congress, got a post office in his hometown named after him.
South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson introduced legislation in 2019 to designate the United States Postal Service building in Rosebud the “Ben Reifel Post Office Building.”
“Well, we got together – we had members of Ben Reifel’s family…we had the U.S. Postal Service…we had representatives from Senator Rounds [and] Senator Thune’s office…we had the Postmaster General of this post office here, and it was really an opportunity for us to come together along with President Bordeaux to celebrate his legacy. Seeing all of these different people come together to acknowledge what BenReifel has meant to this country – it’s been a really special day,” Rep. Johnson said.
Reifel was an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and won his seat in Congress in 1960. He was the only American Indian in Congress through the 1960’s, and worked for farming interests, advocated for the Oahe irrigation projects, and supported the Civil Rights Act. Reifel also fought to ensure tribes were properly compensated for land transfers.
Johnson was in Rosebud on Wednesday to dedicate the post office building in Reifel’s honor and to hold a pinning ceremony for Vietnam Veterans.