Let me start by saying this: since the white man arrived on this continent way back when, we have systematically, and continuously, fucked the Native People. We killed them; we infected them with diseased blankets to kill them off; we drove them off their land onto reservations far from where they had once lived; we told them we’d let them live in peace, but that was a lie.
Sidenote: good read: In the Spirit of Crazy Horse by Peter Matthiessen
Back to this post … earlier this year, a group of from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Allen, South Dakota were treated to a minor league hockey match in Rapid City to celebrate their academic achievements at their school, the American Horse School.
At the game, a group of adult … adults … began questioning the kids about why they were there and where they were from; head chaperone Consuelo Means says she asked the students to stop talking to the strangers because they were drunk, but the men kept talking.
When one team scored, one of the men banged on the wall and told the students to cheer louder because they were “from the Rez.”
Consuelo Means tried to get security involved, when she felt something dripping on her head, and discovered that these drunks were dumping beer on the students. When Means alerted the other chaperones and tried to intervene, these drunken executives shouted:
“Go back to the Rez!”
In the days that followed, parents of many of the students began demanding answers about what happened that day, and have decided that, to avoid more racist attacks, the children will stay on the reservation and no longer take field trips off property.
The tribe did contact the Rapid City Police Department, who conducted an investigation and concluded that three men were directly responsible, though they only charged one, Trace O’Connell, with simple disorderly conduct. No charges of Hate Crimes, even though the men shouted slurs at children.
Naturally, the parents are outraged that this kind of hateful behavior, and hate, is being treated as just drunks being disorderly. As I’ve said here, just the other day in fact, and I’ll paraphrase to fit this story: had the men dumped their beers on white children, or black children, or Lakota children, it would have been hateful; but to shout things like “Go back to the rez,” makes it Hate and not just hateful.
Gloria Kitsopoulos, the superintendent and principal of the American Horse School and a member of the Lakota tribe, says the Rapid City the chief of police, city attorney, and state attorney drove to the school to explain the results of the investigation and deeply offended the parents and school officials who had assembled there.
“The first thing that really offended me was that they brought the communications guy from Rapid City with them and I gave him the microphone so he could talk to the people. He said, ‘if anyone wants to use the talking stick when I’m done, let me know.'”
The crowd grew even angrier when they were told that just one man would face a misdemeanor charge; the chief of police then suggested he and his team leave the reservation because they feared for their safety. Kitsopoulos maintains that no one showed signs of aggression at the meeting, but that they were just outraged at the charges levied against O'Connell, and O’Connell alone.
Trace O’Connell was a no-show at his trial, so Rapid City Attorney Joel Landeen, who is representing the students, asked that a jury hear the case and for jail time to stay on the table, and that some of the Native Americans — a large portion of the Rapid City population and jury pool — be allowed to sit on the jury; the judge denied both requests.
O’Connell now faces a five hundred dollar fine for dumping beer on children and shouting racial slurs at them, but then it’s just Native American children, and since, as I said, we’ve been fucking Native Americans for 300 years why should we expect things to ever change?