Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Our kids should be able to go anywhere

Native students in South Dakota. Photo from GEAR Up

Megan Red Shirt-Shaw discusses the racist treatment of Native youth at a hockey game over the weekend:
This past weekend at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota, a group of students from the American Horse School were harassed by a group of men sitting in a VIP booth above their seats. As Native activists and human beings, we have all addressed Eagle Sales, the company that owned the box and the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center but I actually don't want to talk to faces hiding behind big names -- I want to dedicate this to the men sitting in those VIP seats.

I am an Oglala Lakota woman. On the same Saturday night that you drove to Rushmore to sit in good seats and watch a hockey game, I was back in Rapid City visiting friends and family. I came home to California to find the story about the hockey game lighting up my computer screen at work, in disbelief that something so cruel had happened within miles of where I was sitting with people I loved.

In our traditional way, children are sacred. In the American way, having a family is a priority. For those of us Natives who have committed to good lives and an understanding of our faith, we commit to that promise, to take care of our kids. Justin Poor Bear was one of the men that you provoked at the game. What he told me while I cried on the phone silently listening to his story was that for a lot of the fourth graders in their group, this was actually, their very first time seeing a hockey game. He told me that seeing their faces was incredible -- the lights, the noise, the mascot, everything was a new experience to them. An opportunity to see something they might fall in love with, something they might pursue for themselves, something that might become an important part of their lives.

Get the Story:
Megan Red Shirt-Shaw: Our Kids Should Be Allowed to Go Anywhere (The Huffington Post 1/28)

Related Stories
Police probe racist treatment of Oglala youth at hockey game (1/28)

Join the Conversation