An incident at Saturday night’s Rush hockey game in Rapid City may result in hate crime and assault charges.

57 students from American Horse School were on a trip from Pine Ridge to attend the game as reward for good behavior and academic achievement.  
But in the third period a group of white men in a rented suite above the children’s seating area allegedly poured beer down on to the students and shouted racial slurs.   

The school group left the game early out of concern for student safety.

You can hear the rest of the story by clicking play below.

Several members of Rapid City's Native American community are coming together to form a new organization aimed at improving race relations.

The move follows a police shooting last month involving Allen Locke, a Native American man in Lakota homes.  The shooting occurred about 24-hours after Locke attended a rally against police brutality.

Family Calls For Peace At Prayer Vigil

Dec 24, 2014

If social media is any indication racial tension in Rapid City is on the rise following a police related shooting of a Native American man over the weekend.

Both members of law enforcement and the Native community point out a number of inflammatory posts on Facebook and Twitter.
The Family of Allan Locke, a Native man who was shot and killed in an incident with a Rapid City police officer on Saturday are calling for community calm and peace in the wake of the incident.

This story examines police and race relations in Rapid City 15 years after the US Civil Rights Commission came to South Dakota and issued this report citing a lack of trust in law enforcement by Native Americans.

Listen to the story here:



Race relations and allegations of police brutality are among the top national headlines this year, from Ferguson, Missouri to New York City scenes like this are playing out in mass protests.

Agreement Reached On Anti Police Brutality Rally

Dec 18, 2014

An anti-police brutality march and rally now has a green light from city officials. 

Police Brutality Protest Permit Denied

Dec 16, 2014

Rapid City Police officials say they received a request for a permit for a “Police Brutality Awareness Walk”  through downtown.   The event was set to take place this Friday starting and ending at the Rapid City Civic Center.

The Lakota Nation Invitational is also taking place at the Civic Center.  In a press release Chief Karl Jegeris says the demonstrators planning this event also organized a past protest against the Regional Hospital. Police officials say numerous public safety issues arose at that event.  

Matika Wilbur

The 2014 election is well over.   But for some it’s not too soon to start thinking about 2016 or even 2020 and beyond. This is especially true if your goal is to get school age kids interested in voting.

An effort to increase voter turnout in tribal communities in South Dakota is continuing–and some say the 2014 election shows past efforts paid off.

You can find out more about Sicangu Lakota Artist Frank Waln at his website here.

Giving Tuesday For Native Law Students

Dec 2, 2014
Courtesy U of A IPLP

Attorneys across the country are being asked to donate the first billable hour of their day on December second as part of the “Giving Tuesday” movement being celebrated by the University of Arizona’s Law School. The donations will help fund scholarships for Native American law students.

Brewer Vs. Yellow Bird Steele for OST President

Nov 2, 2014

In Tuesday’s midterm election, voters will decide the make-up of congress and South Dakota’s next Governor.  
On the Pine Ridge Reservation, a presidential race is also underway.   Tribal residents are deciding who will lead the Oglala Lakota Nation for the next two years.  

Shannon Co. Auditor: 2014 May Not Top 2004 Record Turnout

Oct 28, 2014

The early voting turnout on the Pine Ridge Reservation appears to be ramping up.  But for now it may not be on track to top the record year of 2004.

Sue Ganje is the Shannon County Auditor.  

She says that 2004 contest between then incumbent Senator Tom Daschle and challenger John Thune included more than 1,600 absentee ballots cast.    Her office recorded over 4,500 total votes that election on Pine Ridge.

So far this year, Ganje says the early voting place at the Sue Ann Big Crow Center in the town of Pine Ridge has seen just over 530 early votes cast.  

SD "Rez Tour" Aims To Increase Native Vote

Oct 14, 2014

The Native American vote can make the difference in tight statewide races in South Dakota.  

U.S Senator Tim Johnson credits support in Indian Country in 2002 for his 400 vote victory over then Rep. John Thune.  

This week a group is making a final push to get more Native people signed up to vote before the voter registration deadline.

Who wins an election is often determined by who shows up to vote.

At least two sitting U.S. Senators can credit narrow political victories by margins they carried in Indian County.
Some political pundits point out that the number of Native Americans that turn out to vote in this election could again play a key role in determining the makeup of the U.S. Senate.
SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this story on why some say the Native vote shouldn’t be overlooked in this election.

Native Artists Gather At Main Street Square

Jul 23, 2014
Photo by Jim Kent

Rapid City’s Main Street Square celebrated the second annual “Gathering of People, Wind and Water”. The Native American art market and cultural celebration is designed to use the Passage of Wind and Water sculpture project as an inspiration for cross-cultural awareness and appreciation.

One of Masayuki Nagase’s goals in creating the “Passage of Wind and Water” sculpture in the heart of Rapid City is to offer an environment where people of all races and cultures can gather to share their stories.

Photo by Jim Kent

A film festival called “Trading Stories: A Native American Film Festival” is designed to acknowledge the contributions of the Lakota people. It was held over the weekend at the Chadron Public Library.  The goal of the festival is also to highlight contemporary Native issues through the use of film.

Librarian Annette Peter says the idea for an annual Native American Film Festival has its roots in the relationship Chadron has with its neighboring community of Pine Ridge.

A 7th Judicial Circuit Court judge has thrown out a number of civil lawsuits against the Catholic Church that allege past sexual and physical abuse in Native American boarding schools.   

One case included a series of detailed letters written by clergy that plaintiffs say clearly show the church knew about sexual abuse of minors decades ago but covered it up.

Photo by Natalie Cass

The Sundance Institute’s Native and Indigenous Film Lab has announced that submissions are being accepted for its 2014 Native Lab Fellowship.

The film lab offers aspiring Native American film makers the opportunity to receive hands-on guidance from professionals in the field.

Bird Runningwater is director of the Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous program. He says the idea for a Native film lab began with Sundance founder Robert Redford.

Tribal Members Are "Workin' With Tradition"

Oct 29, 2013
South Dakota Indian Business Alliance

More than 20 tribal members from reservations across South Dakota have been certified as instructors in the “Workin‘ with Tradition” training program. The goal of the program is to help individuals in rural Native American communities prepare for successful employment.

South Dakota Indian Business Alliance spokesperson Stacey LaCompte says dealing with the mainstream mindset of employment has been difficult for most Native Americans.

LaCompte says the reservation system set up by the federal government discouraged economic self-sufficiency for several generations.

Native American Fest At Main Street Square

Aug 23, 2013
Courtesy “A Gathering of People - Wind and Water”

A Native American festival is taking place at Rapid City’s Main Street Square on Saturday (Aug. 24). 

The event was inspired by the Passage of Wind and Water sculpture project that’s being created at the square.

The goal of “A Gathering of People - Wind and Water” is to bring together the Rapid City community around art, creativity and the sculpture project.

Courtesy South Dakota Indian Business Alliance

The South Dakota Indian Business Alliance has concluded its first year of operating the Native Entrepreneur Investment Fund. The fund distributed 11 loans totaling $100,000 to Native entrepreneurs throughout the state.

The Native Entrepreneur Investment Fund was designed to expand access to fair lending services to the nine South Dakota reservation communities and beyond. 

Nearly thirty percent of entrepreneurs served through the fund are located in or near urban areas, such as Rapid City, where half the Native American population lives below the poverty level.

Tanka Bar Makes Top 10 List

Aug 5, 2013
Courtesy Native American Natural Foods

The Tanka Bar has been a hit since it was first introduced by Native American Natural Foods, of Kyle, at the Black Hills Pow Wow in 2006. The Lakota natural food company that makes the Tanka Bar is now being nationally recognized for having one of the top ten wholesome foods just for men.

A brief glance at the Native American Natural Foods web site shows glowing reports from Seattle to Afghanistan for the energy bar made from cranberries and prairie-raised buffalo.   

A set of letters recently filed in a court case against the Catholic Church detail allegations of sexual abuse against Native American children at the Saint Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  

2013 State Of Indian Nations

Feb 18, 2013

President Barack Obama gave the first State of the Union Address of his second term last week.   
But many may not know that last week also saw the State of Indian Nations address given by Jefferson Keel President of the National Congress of American Indians.  Keel is as member of the Chickasaw Nation from Oklahoma.    But his address dealt with many common issues across Indian Country.
SDPB’s Charles  Michael  Ray compiled the highlights of the address for today’s Dakota Digest.

Library of Congress

Before the award-winning documentary film “The Thick Dark Fog”and the book “They Called Me Uncivilized”, there were the Lakota man’s boarding school experiences that led to both stories. Today, Walter Littlemoon shares his memories of a childhood spent in a federally-imposed school system that he tells us did everything but educate.

Orange and yellow leaves paint the trees across land that’s been in Walter Littlemoon’s Lakota family for generations. It’s a quiet, peaceful place that reminds him of his childhood.