Dennis Chappabitty: How I survived a racist attack in Oklahoma

Dennis G. Chappabitty. Photo by Linda C. Amelia / ChapLaw

Attorney Dennis G. Chappabitty, a member of the Comanche Nation, shares his encounter with hate and racism in Oklahoma:
I engaged in a pitched, life-and-death, brutal, bloody battle with four racist young white men on a lonely dark rural road in Creek County, Oklahoma in 1971. I was a 22-year-old college student and a citizen of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.

Recent reports of racism rearing its hateful head out of the filthy muck in Rapid City, South Dakota; Ferguson, Missouri; and Norman, Oklahoma compel me to tell my personal story of survival against racists who were out to kill me while screaming, “You damn redskin, your kind of cowardly red trash needs to be beaten and killed!”

That night in September 1971, I was hitchhiking to Stillwater, Oklahoma from Chicago to attend my final year of college at Oklahoma State University. The trip was great with good folks sharing their food and company all the way to Tulsa from Chicago where I visited my Chiricahua Apache uncles who lived there.

I was on the outskirts of Tulsa very late at night with no cars stopping when a red Chevy Camaro quickly sped by, abruptly stopped, then backed up. I ran up to the car and asked, “Are you going to Stillwater?” They told me to get in. It was a tight fit in the small back seat with two guys while two others sat up front. They could have been frat boys. My pack was stashed in the trunk as we all sped down Highway 51 West.

Get the Story:
Dennis G. Chappabitty: 'You Damn Redskin!' Surviving a Racist Attack (Indian Country Today 3/31)

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