Feb 19, 2015 - Man Assaults Native Kids, Charged with Disorderly Conduct in Rapid City

Rapid City, SD

Rapid City Attorney has announced he has charged Trace O’Connell (Phillip, SD) with Disorderly Conduct. Mr. O’Connell is the fine gentleman who, while drunk, taunted and racially assaulted several Native American children at a Pro-Hockey Game at the Rapid City Civic Center by spraying beer on them and shouting “Go Back to the Rez” and possibly other racially motivated attacks against any number of the reported 57 American Horse students who were there as a reward for good behavior and academic achievement. O’Connell did not act alone according to an eye-witness. Native Americans are expected to just let this piss collect and roll off their backs. A march and rally is taking place Feb.26, 2015 in Rapid City to bring attention to these injustices. All Relations Community March Against Racism on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/events/645627878898816/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular&source=1

Disorderly Conduct is not going to suffice. There needs to be a charge, an element of which includes or relates to the racially motivated nature of this crime even if that charge(s) should come from the SD U.S. Attorney’s office. O’Connell must be arrested, he must sit in jail, he must apologize. Rapid City PD, The Mayor’s office, the Pennington Co. Commission, all business owners, all citizens in Rapid City and South Dakota at large owe it to these Native children to charge and punish the bad man in their midst; “Bad man” is a phrase taken directly from the 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaty in which The Great Sioux Nation reserved to itself all of Western South Dakota including the Black Hills and Rapid City, 15 Stat., 635. This is the story of White Privilege in South Dakota. Where was the man-hunt for O’Connell? Why no mug-shot plastered all over Rapid City and SD media and/or billboards like happens when Natives are the subject?

The injustice in Rapid City & SD is palpable. Natives make up 12-17% of Rapid City’s 75,000 population (approximately), yet comprise a reported 54% of the adult inmate population in Rapid City (Pennington Co.); How much are they worth? Native children are seized from their parents at alarming rates upwards of 740 per year; Native children are worth approximately 65-100Million per year to the State of South Dakota as wards of the Dept. of Social Services, away from their parents in violation of ICWA. Cops kill Natives in Rapid City at unknown rates, scores of Natives have been found dead along Rapid Creek with unsatisfactory investigation results, and our transient population continues to grow and be dehumanized in Rapid City.  Something drastic needs done.

Native Americans, Tribal Governments, Tribal Colleges, Schools, Businesses, Employees, Federally Subsidized families, and all other components of Native existence [Need to Wake the F Up] reportedly pour over $200,000,000.00 into Rapid City’s economy every year. If that is the case then we need to start actions to recover our share of all the taxes our people pay. We deserve our share of the Lodging, Eating Establishments, Admissions, Alcohol, Tobacco, Fuels, Sales, Excise, Use, Property, etc. in Rapid City and South Dakota. What we (Tribal Nations and citizens) want from Rapid City and SD is just the same as South Dakota is currently trying get from the Flandreau Sioux Tribe by holding their gaming compact hostage unless they agree to categorize all non-Indian alcohol purchases in their casino and pay those taxes back to South Dakota.

Economic empowerment is the only way we begin to end the poverty they imposed on us over the last 150 years. Every suicide, every alcoholic death, every diabetes case, every drug over-dose, every violent act we commit on each other, every child molested, every rape victim, every domestic violence case, every child taken from their parents, every child that drops out of school in Rapid City (upwards of 80%) and elsewhere, every contact with the Criminal Justice system,  every negative quality of life indicator is a function of an imposed poverty and colonization.  Economic empowerment is the only way we begin to change the circumstances that are merely symptoms of an oppression, poverty and privilege imposed on us. We must provide for ourselves or we will continue to die a #SlowGenocide as is currently happening. A true and accurate accounting of our economic impact must be done. Tribal Nations have to step up; we cannot expect Rapid City to provide us with that accounting. By ignoring us they are intending to sentence us to another 100 years of #DeathByPoverty.

-Chase Iron Eyes

Last Real Indians