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Human Rights Complaint in Montana: 'We are only letting the white people in'





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Four tribal citizens are accusing a public school district in Montana of discrimination.

Brandy GoesAhead, Elsworth GoesAhead, Emerine Whiteplume and Whitney Hold say they were denied entrance to a high school basketball game in Reed Point in January. They had driven long distances only to find the doors locked on an night when temperatures dropped below the freezing point.

As they watched other gain entry to the gym, they inquired about getting inside. That's when the four heard something shocking.

“We don’t have any workers yet so we are only letting the white people in,” a staff official told the group, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana.

Superintendent Mike Ehinger of the Reed Point School District heard about the incident and was shocked as well. But after conducting an investigation he believes no one on the school's staff made such a remark.

"I have concluded that this staff member would not have said that we are only letting in white people," Ehinger said a press release that has been circulating on Facebook.

The four tribal citizens aren't satisfied with the response so they have filed a complaint with the Montana Human Rights Bureau. They hope to send a strong message in a state where Indian basketball fans were recently called "unruly" on a radio show.

“Being denied entrance to a high school sporting event because we are Native American is outrageous and humiliating,” said Elsworth GoesAhead, who resides in Pryor, a community on the Crow Reservation. “We are proud of our heritage and culture and refuse to let this conduct go unpunished. Our children, our families and our communities need to understand that this type of racism must not be allowed to persist.”

GoesAhead and his wife, Brandy, went to the game on January 21 to watch their son play. Their son attends Plenty Coups High School on the reservation.

According to the U.S Census Bureau, 94 percent of the population in Reed Point is White.