Here at the Indians Allowed event in Rapid City. This event is being held in response to an incident recently in which a local hotel owner banned all Native Americans following a shooting involving two young Native men. A two-mile march to the hotel will begin at 3 pm MST.

Posted by Indianz.Com on Saturday, March 26, 2022
Indianz.Com Video by Kevin Abourezk: Indians Allowed – Rally and March
‘Indians Allowed’: Sioux Nation rallies against racism and discrimination
Monday, March 28, 2022
Indianz.Com

RAPID CITY, South Dakota — They spoke. They sang songs, and then they walked.

They walked for two miles on a brisk, windy Saturday, carrying their tribal flags and riding their painted horses. They shouted, calling for justice and for the return of their ancestral homelands.

Eight men riding horses led the way. Behind them, a pickup truck carried two women who took turns yelling into a megaphone.

“What do we want?” the women shouted to the crowd.

“Land back!” the crowd yelled.

“When do we want it?” the women shouted.

“Now,” the crowd responded.

Leaders from Sioux tribes in South Dakota and North Dakota walked before the procession, including Cheyenne River Sioux Chairman Harold Frazier, Oglala Sioux President Kevin Killer and Rosebud Sioux President Scott Herman.

Behind them, nearly 400 Natives and others carried signs that read “Indians Allowed” and “Land Back.” They wore T-shirts that read “Good NDN” and “Bad NDN.” Women in ribbon skirts pushed strollers through a section of Rapid City largely inhabited by Native people.

They walked past crowds of spectators, and many of those watching joined the procession.

Men war-whooped and women trilled, and spiritual leaders stopped the march occasionally to say prayers and sing ceremonial songs.

Veterans carried flags, including those of tribal nations and the United Sates.

Here at the Indians Allowed event in Rapid City. This event is being held in response to an incident recently in which a local hotel owner banned all Native Americans following a shooting involving two young Native men.

Posted by Indianz.Com on Saturday, March 26, 2022
Indianz.Com Video by Kevin Abourezk: Indians Allowed – Press Conference

They came to this town to protest the actions of a local hotel owner, Connie Uhre, who announced last week that she was banning all Native people from renting rooms or using the Grand Gateway Hotel’s restaurant. Her announcement came just days after a shooting at the hotel involving two young Native men, one of whom was critically injured.

Quincy Bear Robe, 19, was later arrested and charged with aggravated assault and commission of a felony while carrying a firearm.

In a social media post that has since been deleted, Uhre also offered a special rate to ranchers and travelers. In her post, she blamed Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender and local police for accepting funds from the MacArther Foundation, money she implied had been used to reduce the inmate population in Rapid City, leading to increased crime in the city.

'Indians Allowed'
The “Indians Allowed” rally and march took place in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022, to protest racism and discrimination on Sioux Nation treaty territory. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

In an interview with Indianz.Com, Allender disputed Uhre’s assertion that the city’s use of funds to reduce the inmate population had led to an increase in crime locally.

“It’s nonsense,” he said. “Law enforcement agencies, cities, counties and states have received federal grants for decades. This particular one just happens to be a grant from a nonprofit rather than a government entity.”

He described Uhre’s assertion as a “full-blown conspiracy theory.”

“I wish people could understand that criminal justice in South Dakota started to reform in 2013 with then-senate Bill 70 and it was done pretty publicly as an alternative to building new prisons,” Allender said. “There was a desire to stop incarcerating certain types of criminals, maybe drug offenders or whatever else. But locally we were jailing people for minor crimes, nuisance crimes, like peeing in public or drinking in public or things of that nature.”

'Indians Allowed'
“Good NDN” and “Bad NDN” t-shirts are seen at the “Indians Allowed” rally and march that took in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

He said jail is one of the least effective means of rehabilitating people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or who are homeless.

He said reducing the number of inmates convicted of minor crimes hasn’t led to an increase in violent crimes such as murders, robbery or sexual assaults because those types of criminals aren’t receiving jail diversion.

He said crime has increased across the country since the start of coronavirus pandemic.

“It took very little social isolation to up everyone’s stress or anxiety and cause some misbehavior in terms of acting out, committing crimes” he said. “The entire country is not taking MacArthur grant money. That’s not the cause of the increase in crime.”

And he criticized Uhre and her son, Nick Uhre, who he said has long said publicly that an increase in crime in Rapid City was caused by the city’s use of MacArther Foundation funds.

“Painful as it is, I think the positive here is that we’ve learned something about the owners’ group at the hotel,” Allender said. “We’ve learned, and our community’s got to practice rejecting this type of behavior.”

Prior to Saturday’s march to the hotel, which organizers dubbed “Indians Allowed,” leaders of several Sioux tribes gathered at a Rapid City convention center to discuss possible actions that they hoped would lead to positive change for Native people living in the town.

The tribal leaders issued a statement and a list of actions they are considering taking to address racism in Rapid City. Those actions include: boycotting businesses in the city, boycotting the Grand Gateway Hotel and its subsidiaries, moving the Lakota Nation Invitational basketball tournament to another location, moving the Black Hills Powwow and filing hate crime charges against the hotel’s owners.

'Indians Allowed'
Nick Tilsen of NDN Collective addresses the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

Even before Saturday morning’s meeting of tribal leaders, the Native nonprofit NDN Collective filed a federal civil rights class-action lawsuit against the owners of the Grand Gateway Hotel.

Saturday’s march was the second in a week, the first occurring last Wednesday when nearly 500 people walked to the federal courthouse in downtown Rapid City.

Nearly 1,000 people took part in a rally in Roosevelt Park prior to Saturday’s march.

Peter Lengkeek, chairman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, called on those gathered to remain peaceful and to pray for those who have wronged them.

“The Dakota, Lakota, Nakota peoples were a people of love and compassion,” he said. “When the time calls for it, we are also some of the most fiercest warriors to ever walk this planet.”

'Indians Allowed'
A crowd is seen outside the Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

Nick Tilsen, president and CEO of NDN Collective, said the hotel owner’s decision to ban Native Americans was just the latest in a long series of racist actions by non-Natives against Native people in the city.

“Us coming together as a people to make a stand, it’s a good thing because we’re showing our next generation that we’re not going to take it anymore, that we’re not going to allow our people to treated this way in our own land, in our own community,” he said. “It’s not just about this hotel. It’s about every single thing our people go through every single day.”

He said the NDN Collective is suing the hotel in order to ensure no other businesses consider taking similar actions against Native people.

“We don’t want no mazaska (money) from them,” he said. “We’re seeking justice so that it changes for our people, so that are wakanyeja (children) don’t ever have to experience that again.”

'Indians Allowed'
The “Indians Allowed” rally and march took place in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022, to protest racism and discrimination on Sioux Nation treaty territory. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

Following the march to the Grand Gateway Hotel on Saturday, tribal leaders delivered a “Notice of Trespass” on the door of the hotel as people war-whooped and trilled.

Some young people hung a banner over part of the hotel’s sign that read: “In violation of the 1868 Treaty. Grand Gateway Hotel. Eviction notice. Effective immediately.”

Tribal leaders then addressed the crowd of nearly 1,000.

Lengkeek expressed pride at seeing so many Native people gathered to fight injustice, and he thanked the women for trilling as they marched to the hotel.

“That sound you make, that reminds us men of what truly matters – the women, the backbone of the Oceti Sakowin,” he said.

'Indians Allowed'
A smudging at the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

'Indians Allowed'
Nearly 1,000 people turned out for the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

'Indians Allowed'
Spectators share reactions on social media during the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

'Indians Allowed'
Nearly 1,000 people turned out for the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

'Indians Allowed'
Nearly 1,000 people turned out for the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

'Indians Allowed'
Nearly 1,000 people turned out for the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

'Indians Allowed'
Nearly 1,000 people turned out for the “Indians Allowed” rally and march in Rapid City, South Dakota, on March 26, 2022. Photo by Kevin Abourezk

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