Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 2, 2015

Rapid City Journal Victimizing Victims with Bordertown Racism

Rapid City Journal's bordertown racism exposed after Lakota students attacked at hockey game

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Dutch translation by Alice Holemans, NAIS
Feb. 1, 2015
Updated Feb. 2, 3 and 4, 2015

The Rapid City Journal has victimized Lakota students after these students were assaulted at a hockey game in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The students and staff from American Horse School on Pine Ridge had beer thrown on them, and were verbally assaulted with racist insults by white men at a hockey game at Rushmore Civic Plaza on Jan. 24. On their special field trip, Lakota children as young as ten years old were told, "Go back to the rez."

Then, the Rapid City Journal, continuing a pattern of bordertown media victimizing victims, attacked Lakota students with this headline, "Did Native Students stand for National Anthem?" The unprofessional article by Rapid City Journal is unethical, both for victimizing victims and for a sloppy attempt at reporting facts.

Thomas Prentice, Censored News reader in Texas, told Rapid City Journal in a letter: "Why in the world should Native students be expected to rise for the national anthem of the Euro-White country which committed a genocide against their peoples that was a far more barbaric, cruel, bloody, despicable and sinful Holocaust than that committed by Adolf Hitler and the nazi fascists of the German Third Reich?"

The Sicangu Lakota Oyate, Rosebud Sioux Indian Nation, passed a resolution standing with those children, and detailing the history of racism in Rapid City. Read more on the resolution in the Lakota Voice, in an article by Ann-erika White Bird:

A similar situation took place when the Farmington Daily Times victimized Navajo teenagers who were victims of a hate crime in northwest New Mexico in 1993.

A group of white teenagers attacked a group of Navajo youths in the back of pickup truck with baseball bats, breaking their bones, outside a convenience store.

As a staff reporter for the Daily Times at the time, I wrote an article about the attack. The Farmington Daily Times editor knowingly changed the facts, making the victims appear somehow responsible for the beatings.

When I demanded that the truth be told, I was terminated at the newspaper.

I gave testimony to the US Civil Rights Commission, on both the hate crime and the Daily Times, which was documented by the Commission. The racism in Farmington has resulted in beatings, torture, rapes, disappearances and murders. The region of Farmington includes nearby Navajo, Ute and Apache lands in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Now, Danielle Miller in Last Real Indians reports on the media attack by the Rapid City Journal in "Violence Against Native Children Lauded by Rapid City Media."

Miller writes, "When Native children are being assaulted, the immediate reaction should not be to seek justifications for the attack. This is exactly what the Rapid City Journal did, by finding any argument they can to victim blame the assaulted students."

"This pattern has already emerged through other Rapid City publications.  KotaTv news recently released a story mitigating the actions of racist perpetrators by referring to the assault as 'bad behavior.'"
Read Miller's full article at Last Real Indians:

Karin Eagle of Lakota Country Times reports on the assault at the hockey game. The students from American Horse School in Allen, South Dakota, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Nation, were assaulted at the hockey game at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center:

John Kane, Mohawk, opened up his broadcast on the issue on "Let's Talk Native," in New York, 9 -- 11 pm EST.

Kane said on Sunday, Feb. 1, "Tonight on 'Let's Talk Native' you know I have to discuss the Tonawanda Seneca Nation's guilty plea in federal court even if everyone else is hiding from the subject. 57 Native kids were assaulted with racist insults and doused with beer at a Rapid City hockey game this past week as another demonstration on how sports fans 'honor' us. And as the debate over the Lancaster School District's mascot ramps up, I'll offer more comments on the subject. Join us tonight and add to the conversation by picking up the phone. The studio line is 716-803-1520." (Update: Listen at: )

Update: On Monday, the Rapid City Journal admitted that the headline was an error. However, as all journalists know, once the information is published, many may never see, or care, that the front page article in the Rapid City Journal was an error. Further, the Rapid City Journal has a history of biased journalism concerning Lakotas and other Native Americans.

In response, Unity North Dakota wrote, "Dear Rapid City Journal: While this is a start, please do not think that this 'apology' even comes close to meeting the criteria of taking responsibility for the article and seeking to make the situation right. A meaningful apology consists of three things: regret, responsibility, and remedy. Your apology doesn't meet the criterion for any of these."

Here is Monday's response from the editor of Rapid City Journal:

Rapid City Journal: OURS: Journal erred on anthem headline

A justifiable anger has resulted from a headline that appeared in the Rapid City Journal on Saturday, Jan. 31. It is now abundantly clear that the headline about the National Anthem is troubling to this community and our readers.
To some, the headline signified that there was a justification for the harassment of Native American students at the Rush hockey game on Saturday, Jan 24.  This was not our intent. There is no justification for such racist behavior. There can never be any justification for the appalling way those students and their chaperones were treated at the game.  
Questions also have been raised about the use of an anonymous source in the article. On the day the article was written, the business owner who rents the suite where the harassment took place — who was neither present nor involved — received a death threat.
Publishing the name of the other source could have put that person and his family, who also reportedly had nothing to do with the harassment, in harm’s way. If law enforcement officials release the names of those responsible, we will publish that information.

The Rapid City Journal deeply regrets the pain this headline has caused to our community and pledges to continue our efforts to fight racism and other social ills.


Dutch translation by Alice Holemans, NAIS


Door Brenda Norrell:
Vertaald door NAIS:
1 februari 2015
De Rapid City Journal heeft Lakota scholieren verantwoordelijk gesteld nadat zij aangevallen werden tijdens een honkbal wedstrijd in Rapid City, Zuid Dakota.
De scholieren en staf van American Horse School in Pine Ridge kregen op 24 januari, bier over zich heen gegooid en werden verbaal aangevallen door blanke racisten tijdens een honkbal wedstrijd in Rushmore Civic Plaza.

Lakota kinderen van 10 jaar oud werden tijdens die uitstap naar het hoofd geslingerd dat ze “terug moesten naar hun reservaat.”
De Rapid City journal, die het patroon volgt van de grensstad –media, die slachtoffers tot daders maakt, ging verder met de krantenkop
Stonden de Native scholieren wel recht voor het National Anthem?”
Het onprofessionele artikel van Rapid City Journal is onesthetisch, door zowel slachtoffers tot daders te maken als door hun slordige poging om ‘feiten’ te brengen.

Een zelfde situatie had plaats toen de Farmington Daily Times in het begin van 1990 daders maakte van Navajo tieners die het slachtoffer werden van een haatmisdaad in New Mexico.
Een groep blanke tieners overvielen een groep Navajo jongeren die voor een winkel achterop een pick-up truck zaten te wachten. De overvallers braken de beenderen van de Navajo jongeren met hun honkbalknuppels.

Daar ik ( Brenda Norrell) toen verslaggever was bij de staf van de Daily Times, schreef ik een artikel over die aanslag.
De uitgever van de Farmington Daily Times veranderde de feiten zodat de slachtoffers naar voor kwamen als de verantwoordelijken voor de slagen.
Toen ik eiste dat de waarheid moest verteld worden werd ik ontslagen.
Ik heb een getuigenis over zowel de haatmisdaad als de Daily Mirror afgelegd bij de US Civil Rights Commission, die hier akte van genomen hebben.
Het racisme in Farmington resulteerde in slagen, folteringen, verkrachtingen, vermissingen en moorden. De Framington regio omvat het nabije Navajo, Ute en Apache land in Arizona, Colorado en New Mexico.

Nu heeft Danielle Miller in Last Real Indians gereageerd op de aanval door de Rapid City media met een artikel: “Geweld tegen Native kinderen wordt geprezen door Rapid City Media.”
Miller schrijft: “Wanneer Native kinderen aangevallen worden ma         g men die daad niet willen rechtvaardigen . En dat is nu precies wat de Rapid City Journal gedaan heeft, door een argument te zoeken waardoor slachtoffers daders worden.”

Dit patroon was reeds langer merkbaar in andere publicaties in Rapid City Journal.
KotaTV nieuws heeft nog recentelijk een verhaal naar buiten gebracht die de actie van racistische daders verzachtte door de aanval af te doen als ‘slechte manieren.’

John Kane, Mohawk zal hier over praten in zijn "Let's Talk Native,"in New York

Kane zei gisteren 1 februari : “Vanavond op “Let’s Talk Native” praat ik ondermeer over de Tonawanda Seneca Nation, die schuldig pleiten in het federale gerechtshof, ondanks dat iedereen dit onderwerp wil vermijden.
Over 57 Native kinderen die aangevallen werden met racistische beledigingen en met bier overgoten werden tijdens een honkbal wedstrijd in Rapid City; alweer een mooie demonstratie van hoe sport fans ons “eren.”
En daar het debat over de mascotte van het Lancaster School District toeneemt zal ik nog meer commentaar leveren over dit onderwerp.”

Karin Eagle van Lakota Country Times heeft een verslag gemaakt over de aanslag op de schoolkinderen tijdens de honkbalwedstrijd.


Kristen said...

Despicable. How can professional journalists be so ignorant and hateful? My son is 9. No Indian Descent unless( it's many generations back ) and still doesn't fully understand the concept of standing for the national anthem. I almost always have to remind him as well as direct which hand to place over his heart. They were children. The editor of this paper is a poor excuse for a man.

Anonymous said...

I am outraged by the journal (which by the way does not meet the standards by which it is called) does not report truth. Unfortunately, it is not against the law to be unethical (apparently)! We can create change if we stick together. Stop buying the paper...don't read the paper, and if you "like" them on Facebook....UN-like them! We can choose to take it further...vow to not purchase goods from those businesses who advertise through them! Business listens when it hits their pocket book. Sometimes it's the only thing that creates change in an atmosphere of greed and hypocrisy!