By: Dana Lone Hill
This past Friday on September 28, 2012 a hate crime was committed in the bathroom of a dormitory on the SDSU campus in Brookings, South Dakota. Although, no one was physically attacked, the crime was still felt by many and everyone was in shock. Graffiti was found on a stall in the bathroom that called out some Native American students a racial slur by their room numbers and ordered them to “Go back to the rez.” The rooms listed were members of tribes from South Dakota, who were called out for all in the dorm to see with a cowardly, anonymous act of racism.
One young Lakota man, Ernest Weston, along with his uncle Wayne, were the ones to make the virtual world aware via social networks of the hate crime. Although he wasn’t a target of the graffiti. Ernest stated “When I seen what was written on the bathroom stall, I was completely shocked, and I still am. Even though It was not directed toward me, it still affects me because I am Lakota!”
He is right. It affects all of us. It affects the Native population of South Dakota because we wonder after all these years, hundreds of years, why South Dakotans still can’t get over the fact that we are not going anywhere. This was our home first. I am sure it affects non-Natives in the state too because it is not the opinion of the whole state. It does prove that race relations still have a long way to go in this state.
To merely sweep this under the rug, to brush this off as an incident that “happens all the time in South Dakota” is not acceptable. In order for change to happen, we have to look at this as a way to teach the world, this is not acceptable behavior. This is not right. Every person in America has a right to pursue an education and has a right to feel safe in doing so. READ THE REST HERE: http://www.lastrealindians.com/axCommentDetails.php?postId=2092