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1st movie theater opens on Pine Ridge reservation

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SIOUX FALLS | Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe will finally be able to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster without leaving the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The reservation's first movie theater opened Friday after three years of planning and construction. Previously, residents of the reservation who wanted to see a movie in the theater had to travel to nearby towns like Martin or Gordon, Neb., a difficult endeavor for those who don't have reliable transportation.

This week, residents will be able to travel to Nunpa Theatre in Kyle to see two first-run flicks — "Pitch Perfect" and "Paranormal Activity 4." The word "nunpa" means "two" in Lakota.

Owners say the theater will offer some much-needed source of entertainment on the rural reservation that spans about 4,000 square miles in southwestern South Dakota.

"I love going to movies and I see a lot of Native Americans at movies. We just need some sort of entertainment instead of basketball and sports, a place to spend the evening," said Angel Reddest, who opened the theater with her mom, Monna Patton, with a loan from the South Dakota Office of Economic Development.

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Reddest declined to say how much the loan was for, and the Office of Economic Development did not respond to requests for comment.

Besides entertainment, the theater is also bringing another thing lacking on the reservation: jobs. Six or seven people will be employed at the theater, Reddest said.

The theater will be showing two movies each week Thursday through Monday.

So far, the women have kept advertising to a minimum on purpose — "We were scared to do too much and be overwhelmed," Reddest said — but will pick up in the future. She said she plans to eventually have a call-in number for moviegoers to learn what movies are playing at what time. For now, there is a sign out front of the theater and a Facebook group listing times.

Ticket prices are $6 for matinees, $6.25 for children and seniors, and $6.75 for adults. Concessions like nachos, hot dogs, cold sandwiches, candy and pop are for sale.

Jason Brewer, who lives in Kyle, said he is excited about the opening of the theater because it will mean less travel. He previously traveled to Rapid City — about 90 miles away — every time he wanted to attend a showing.

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