Rapid City, SD— What should have been a fun evening for the students and staff of American Horse School (K-8) turned into a nightmare.
The 57 students and staff memebers of AHS’s 21st Century Club went to a Rush Hockey game at the Rush Civic Center in Rapid City on January 24th. During the third quarter of the game, a group of about 15 white males who were sitting in a VIP suite decided to harass, insult, and spray beer on the students and staff.
The reason for the attack: the students and staff members were Native American.
The men yelled “Go back to the Rez!” and hurled racial slurs at the group. While this incident is appalling, it is sadly not the only case of racism against Native Americans in South Dakota.
In 2009, a group of five drove around Rapid City shooting BB pellets at Native Americans and threw rocks, eggs, and even bags of urine at them.
In 2010, Native American Christopher J. Capps was shot dead despite the fact that he carried no weapons on him.
And in 2014, the Rapid City police officer who shot Native American Allen Locke five times was exonerated.
Chase Iron Eyes, the South Dakota legal counsel of the Lakota People’s Law Project, believes that racism against Native Americans must not only be addressed but that we must take action to stop it. His webpage, Last Real Indians, exposes stories such as the ones above in order to enlighten the world on the challenges that Natives face.
In December 2014, Chase participated in a peaceful rally in Rapid City which protested police brutality against citizens, especially Native Americans. “We want to remember everybody and the lives that have been taken,” he stated. The rally brought much awareness to the issues of violence and racism in Rapid City, and reminded people that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and equally.
The Lakota People’s Law Project will not rest until more attention is brought to bear on the structural injustices that Indians face and until positive steps and solutions are formulated.
Please visit Chase’s webpage at lastrealindians.com.