David Rooks: No consequences for pouring beer on Indian youth

The offending headline in the January 31, 2015, issue of The Rapid City Journal. Photo from Chase Iron Eyes / Last Real Indians / Facebook

David Rooks discusses the slow police response to a racial incident involving Indian children at a hockey game in Rapid City, South Dakota:
One a recent Saturday night, too much pleasure imbibed raised an old community spectre: Indian/White relations. With a March 10 vote on a Civic Center expansion from 6,000 to 16,000 seats mere weeks hence, controversy is the last thing city officials and Civic Center executives want. Alas, add controversy to the scale.

Their tickets purchased months in advance, 57 Oglala Lakota children, aged 9 to 13, journeyed by bus nearly 150 miles from Pine Ridge Reservation’s Pass Creek Community to enjoy some well-earned fruit of their academic labors. Accompanied by eight American Horse School employees, including lead chaperone Consuelo Means, the kids took their usual spot in Section Q of the arena. For Means, it was her fifth student trip to a Rush game.

Facts not in dispute: For roughly 15 minutes, beginning during the second intermission, at least three adult males, exceedingly inebriated, verbally harassed the students. Drunken comments, racially insensitive and derogatory, were capped off with overturned beers on the students’ heads.

After a command decision, Means had the other chaperones gather the children outside the venue and called for the buses. Their safety assured, Means and fellow chaperone Justin Poor Bear began a 20-minute search for a security official to lodge a formal complaint. Near the main concession stand, they located what looked to be a support staff member, who contacted security.

Unheard after their departure was the wave of derisive cheers and gleeful self-congratulations by the drunkards in the Eagle Sales of the Black Hills skybox. That old dragon, racism, flicked its self-satisfied tail above the crowd of 4,000 without apparent shame—and without apparent consequences.

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David Rooks: Drunks Dump Beer on Native Kids; Cops in No Rush to Investigate (Indian Country Today 2/9)

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