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Monday, January 26, 2015
Native Children Racially Assaulted During Hockey Game. by Karin Eagle
RAPID CITY—An assault on a group of Lakota children from the Pine Ridge Reservation has gone virtually unnoticed by the local media in Rapid City; Native media sources have stepped in to correct the blanket of silence following this incident that occurred in the already racially tense community.
Students, staff and chaperons from the American Horse School in Allen traveled to Rapid City on Saturday January 24 to attend a Rapid City Rush game. The Rush is the local ECHL hockey team, housed at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The trip was an incentive trip that the students had earned through an after school program called the 21st Century Club.
One of the chaperons was a parent of one of the students; it was his first time attending a hockey game along with several of the students. “I went along to help chaperons, “ said Justin Poor Bear,”the smiles I saw on their (the students) faces was priceless.”
According to Poor Bear the group from the school were seated below one of the VIP suites that are offered for high paying season ticket holders. Around the 3rdquarter of the game several men from the suite began harassing the students seated below. “They were talking crap to our kids and throwing beer on some of the staff and the students,” explained Poor Bear.
Poor Bear admitted to becoming angry and protective and began to address the men in the VIP suite asking who had poured the beer on the children. “They pointed to a gentleman,” explained Poor Bear, “He (the identified male) told me to come up to his suite and said ‘Let’s deal with it.’”
Poor Bear, recognizing that he was in a position to represent his son’s school, declined the confrontation.
American Horse School teacher Consuelo Means was also in attendance. According to Poor Bear Means came over to where the harassment and assault with the beer was being done and told the chaperons that they were going to be leaving the game for the safety of the kids.
Following the departure of the students and other adults in the group, Means, according to Poor Bear, went to make a complaint with a staff member of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Justin Poor Bear, a parent who went to see his son’s excitement and pride at earning a trip to a Rapid City Rush game, does not plan on letting his son’s assault pass by unnoticed.
“I promise we will not let this Incident that happen tonight end,” said Poor Bear,” I will keep fighting, because I know there is a lot of reservation schools that go to Rapid City and spend a lot of many at the Civic Center. “
“Maybe some people went through the same incident but never reported this,” continued Poor Bear, “it’s time we all stand up and speak.”
In a telephone conversation between LRI and a school administrator identified only as Ms. Richards, the apparent reaction from the school, whether officially or not is unknown, is that there was No Incident. This statement was made following her assertion that she did not know the legalities of the situation.
The phone call resulted in an outraged statement made by Ms. Richards to LRI that the account told by any chaperons in attendance were not accurate and that there was to be no statement made by her at this time. As of press time there is no publicly issued statement made by the American Horse School.
LRI was able to speak with the General Manager of the Civic Center who did acknowledge that an incident involving those in the VIP section and the students below occurred.
The owner of the VIP suite, Tom Helen, was also contacted and stated that the men involved in the incident were not employees of his as the owner of the local Budweiser tag, nor were they known to him. It is believed that the men who were involved in the assault were guests of those Helen had authorized to use the suite.
There has been no response from the City of Rapid City’s Mayor’s office.