Feb 18, 2015 - Growing Up with Racism Either Makes You Weak or a Warrior by Bob Lone Elk
I am writing on the recent events that took place in Rapid City, South Dakota when the beer was thrown on our Lakota children from Allen, SD and they were told to go back to the reservation. I am also writing about the killing of a young Lakota man, from our reservation in Rapid City. I am writing to say that even though these things may shock the rest of the country, this is how Lakota have been treated around here for a long time.
I am from Porcupine, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I was raised by Frank and Agnes Lone Elk, my grandparents. People would treat us like this in the town we shopped at in Gordon, Nebraska, another reservation border town. My grandparents would take me to town when I was between the ages of five and ten, my earliest memory is of getting eggs thrown on us at this town while we shopped. Going to town to shop was always supposed to be an event but teenagers would drive by and call us dirty Indians and throw eggs at us. To this day when I still shop in that town, I look at those elderly men and women who walk around there and wonder which of them threw eggs at me and my grandparents. My grandfather broke no laws when we went to town, but highway patrol always stopped and harassed us.
That was in the 1950’s. In 1993, I was in a car accident on Highway 44 and taken to the hospital in Martin, South Dakota. A small town which is half on the rez and half off. The doctor and nurse made fun of my sundance scars and medicine pouch and said they must not work if I was in the hospital. I replied and told them I was alive. Then the doctor saw the tattoo of Sitting Bull on my arm and told the nurse when she gave me the shot to shoot Sitting Bull between the eyes. And she did. Because of the way I was treated in that emergency room, I have no doubt about the elderly man, Vern Traversie getting the three K’s carved on him during surgery in Rapid City.
At age 62 years old now, I am hoping for justice for the children from Allen. I have a feeling all will be cleared of charges after 30 days like all the cops who kill our people and like the cops who tasered that little 8 year old Lakota girl. All the unsolved murders along Rapid Creek were all Lakota men. Daniel Tiger was harassed by the cops all the time and pushed into a corner until it broke him and he retaliated.
It is sad to see how weak our tribal government is when it comes time to stand up for our people. The two on KOTA looked weak and beaten not like warriors. The ones who are standing up are leaders for doing so, like Last Real Indians. Not politicians getting per diem and votes. It makes me wish for a time when our brothers and sisters were here, strong. Not taking crap and fighting for the people. My uncle was Pedro Bisonette, his mom was a Lone Elk. My true brothers and sisters were Russell Means, June Hook Little, Beau Little Sky, Steven Little Sky,David C. Clifford, Milo Goings, Brown Boy Janis, Tony Running Shield, Steve Bergen, Uncle Gilbert Bisonette, Webster Poor Bear, Collins Catch The Bear, Vicki Thunder hawk, Lou Beane, those are a few. They were true in their fight and I hope the fight they showed us for the people carries on in the next generation. They were American Indian Movement.
Stand Up, Wake up, Be Strong
Bob Lone Elk is a Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation and has worked over twenty years in the Community Action Program office in his home district of Porcupine.