pineridgereservation
Two welcome signs on the Pine Ridge Reservation were defaced with anti-Semitic and racist graffiti in late January 2021. Photos courtesy Oglala Sioux Tribe
Pine Ridge Reservation signs defaced with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti
‘That’s a form of terrorism’
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Indianz.Com

The president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe this week condemned the racially-charged and anti-Semitic vandalism of two signs welcoming visitors to the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota.

Over the weekend, the two signs were spray-painted with a derogatory term involving President Joseph Biden, the letters “KKK”, and a swastika over a tribal flag.

One of the signs reads: “Welcome to Oglala Lakota County.” The other reads: “You are entering the land of Red Cloud. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Home of Oglala Sioux Indian Tribe.” They are near the tribe’s northern border, just south of Kadoka in the Badlands along South Dakota State Highway 73.

“These signs serve as our welcoming emblems to visitors and guests of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and depict the pride we have for our culture and traditions as a sovereign nation,” President Kevin Killer said in a statement on Monday.

“The Oglala Lakota Nation would like those individuals responsible to be held accountable for their actions, and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

He said the tribe would replace the two defaced signs.

“As a sovereign nation within the boundaries of the State of South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribe continues to extend a hand of friendship to those wanting to make a positive impact on this and future generations,” he said.

The vandalism was the second racially charged incident affecting the Pine Ridge Reservation in as many months.

In early January, an Oglala Lakota woman claimed to have been attacked by one or more people driving a pickup truck that had a Confederate flag attached to it while driving on a gravel road between Oglala, South Dakota, and Chadron, Nebraska.

Bryan Brewer, former Oglala Sioux president, said he spoke to the woman but he said she refused to talk to Nebraska investigators who were looking into her claims. He said the woman lives in Chadron and told him she believes the person or persons who attacked her also live there.

“She’s just so afraid to say anything because she lives there,” he said.

He said he believes there are people in Chadron who know who attacked the woman.

“A small town like that, everyone knows who’s driving around with pickups with Confederate flags on,” he said. “They know who they are.”

oglalalakotacounty
Oglala Lakota County in South Dakota lies entirely within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Photo: Jimmy Emerson, DVM

He said a Lakota veterans group on the reservation, of which he is a member, has since discussed ways to protect tribal members who travel back roads to communities off the reservation. The group has offered to provide escorts to people who leave the reservation.

Now with the vandalism of the two welcome signs, some people on the reservation are becoming concerned that they may not be safe should they leave the reservation, Brewer said.

“That’s a form of terrorism,” he said. “It’s not right.”

Full Statement from Kevin Killer, President of Oglala Sioux Tribe
The following statement was issued by Kevin Killer, President of Oglala Sioux Tribe, on February 1, 2021.

“As President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and former member of the South Dakota legislature, I and all members of the Oglala Lakota Nation, vehemently condemn the hate-filled vandalism to the signs located on South Dakota State Highway 73, just south of Kadoka at the borderline. These signs serve as our welcoming emblems to visitors and guests of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and depict the pride we have for our culture and traditions as a sovereign nation. Over the weekend, the signs have been spray-painted with a derogatory term involving President Joseph Biden, the letters “KKK”, and a swastika painted over our tribal flag. The Oglala Lakota Nation would like those individuals responsible to be held accountable for their actions, and be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As a sovereign nation within the boundaries of the State of South Dakota, the Oglala Sioux Tribe continues to extend a hand of friendship to those wanting to make a positive impact on this and future generations. We look forward to sharing our new signs welcoming visitors from around the world, shortly.”