Opinion | Sports

Gyasi Ross: Interview with parent at hockey game in Rapid City

The incident occurred at the January 24 game, pictured here. Photo from Facebook

Gyasi Ross interviews Justin Poor Bear, a parent from the American Horse School, whose students were subjected to racial slurs and mistreatment at a hockey game in Rapid City, South Dakota:
Alright bro, please kinda just explain what happened. What was happening, what was being said?

Justin Poor Bear: American Horse School went on an incentive trip for the students to Rapid City, SD on January 24th. I did go as a parent to help the students, it was my first time, and a lot of kids' first time, ever seeing a hockey game. Now the American Horse School has gone more than once to the games, and never had any problems there.

When the third period came around, one the staff members came down the long row to where I was sitting. She then told me, "We need to get our kids out of here and leave now.” I asked her why, she said “ Those men”—she pointed to the suite right above us—“They just spilled beer on the kids asking the students if they were thirsty and started pouring beer on them and saying stuff like ‘get loud’ or ‘go back to the rez.’ They used racial words, as I got the students down the row, and went towards them I asked 'Who in the F threw alcohol at our kids? Show some respect; they’re some kids!'”

As I looked at the suite two men were telling me to get up there in there suite so we could "get it on," fight. There were 15 or so of them in that suite, and I went with the students, not to fight. However we got the students together I and the other staff looked for a security person but there was not one to be found. I walked up to a lady at a small booth where she had a radio to dispatch. I asked her if she can call the head of security because we had a problem with a group in the suite; by that time there were two men who had “head of security” uniforms on. Those men took me and another staff member (who was crying) into another room and she was filling out the report of what happened. The security guys said they were going up there. Now I was thinking “if they bring these people down here to where the students there is going to be another problem again.” The security staff said they were going to look into it so we got onto the bus and left. The bus ride home is a one and a half hour drive and it was quiet, and no kids or staff spoke about what happened.

Finally, when we got home, I got a whole bunch of phone calls phones from parents wondering what had happed and why their kids smell like beer.

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Doesn't Like Indian Children: An Interview With Justin Poor Bear (Indian Country Today 2/3)

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