Native Youth Attacked at Hockey Game in Rushmore Civic Center in Rapid City, SD, By Danielle MillerTweet
On the night of January 24th, 2015, Native students and staff of AHS 21st century club left the Rez to attend a Rush Hockey game at the Rushmore Civic Center in Rapid City, all 57 students and staff in attendance looked to begin the night with smiles on their faces, optimistic about a rewarding night of fun. The night took an ugly turn quickly during the third quarter of the game when 15 or more of the white men sitting in the VIP area decided to harass the students AND staff and throw beer on them. The racism ensued as the men yelled at the Natives to “go back to the Rez”.
This story is disturbing, disgusting and unacceptable. No Natives deserve this treatment, to be dehumanized, humiliated and have safety compromised. Natives were further victimized when the children returned home, smelling of booze and had to relive the traumatic experience by explaining to their parents what happened. The parents were vulnerable in having to hear about such an atrocious attack against their children. Many continue to worry about the wellbeing of the children because this experience could be very scarring, so it can even be said that this attack was physical and psychological.
The Civic center has said they are working to address the issue with those involved, but we need to keep the pressure on to make sure that actually happens. Natives know all too well that many times racist incidents are swept under the rug and perpetrators are never penalized for their actions.
There are over 19,000 notes on a photo circulating Tumblr of a Redskins fan flicking off a Native protesters including children. Many are outraged by the behavior that was aimed at Native children. http://izanzanwin.tumblr.com/post/106548130281/such-honor While not downplaying the circumstances of that experience, we can say that this occurrence is even worse.
Respectability politics are not something to uphold. I don’t believe Natives should have to experience any racism or violence regardless of their behavior or other stipulations of respectability.
However, I will still mention the factors involved, because I know that people will bring respectability politics up as a justification as they do in other responses to racism. When considering all factors involved it can also reiterate how the racism persist regardless. The fact that these Natives weren’t protesting, instigating, they were simply attending a game, existing and enjoying themselves; shows the provoking and predatory nature of racism.
This type of racism has become common place in Rapid City that it has even been coined the nickname “racist city”. A racial tension exists and Natives even fear for their relatives, because navigating the city as a Native means potential instances of harm. That normalization of racism towards Natives has manifested from micro aggressions to state sanctioned violence, such as with the murder of Allen Locke. (Note that the murder occured right after officer Meirose posted racist EBT jokes on facebook).
Seeing how these racist attacks escalate to larger acts of violence is the reason why it’s vital we hold institutions accountable to address these incidents. By holding people accountable there is also a better chance that these incidents will not repeat themselves in the future.
So please signal boost, contact @RushmoreplazaCC on twitter or post on the Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/gotminerc?fref=nf and let them know this is unacceptable so sufficient action will be taken. Parents of students and other concerned adults are having meetings and conversations about this, and word of what happened is going viral. So we can expect to see more public responses, and social media awareness through twitter and blog post.