SICANGU LAKOTA OYATE — Feather Rae Colombe was 20 years old when she passed away last Thursday during the early morning hours on the first day of May. A graduate from Todd County High School in 2012, she was one of a handful of delegates sent to Washington, D.C. to speak on prejudice and racism. Lakota students bring messages about stereotypes to D.C.
Jim Colome stated that he had gotten a phone call Thursday morning about 7 a.m. from a friend, asking him, “Did baby girl get into trouble?” Mr. Colombe contacted the police department regarding his granddaughter who they raised on and off while she was growing up. Feather resided mainly with her grandparents from eighth grade until recently.
Community reports four police vehicles chasing Ms. Colombe’s Grey Passat west on highway 18, through Mission. Reports continued to come in to the community and the Colombe family from residents living along Lakeview Road. The police chase continued at speeds estimated to be around 100 mph and higher, traveling from the highway and onto the washboard, gravel road.
According to Mr. Colombe, he asked the officer, “I’m calling on my granddaughter, Feather Colombe. Is there anything wrong? Is she in jail?” The officer replied that someone would return his phone call. About an hour later, a federal agent called Mr. Colombe, stating, “I hate to say this, but your granddaughter has expired.”
When Feather Colombe was in eighth grade, she was the victim of a crime committed against her by an RPD Officer. Said one community member, “I’m sure she was traumatized from that point on. If that had happened to me, I wouldn’t have stopped either! Who would? Who knows what they would do! She was running for her life and safety.”
Federal agents are investigating the incident.
Jackie Colombe, Feather’s grandmother, said that they asked to see her, to be able to identify the body and were told that her body was already shipped to Rapid City. Later, they found out that her body was shipped to Sioux Falls for an autopsy the following day. The family was unable to identify, to confirm it was Feather, until Saturday, by notification of Rooks Funeral Home.
Mrs. Colombe said that night she believed Feather stayed home, but, “She must have left again. We still don’t know what, or how or when” regarding details of the events leading up to her death.
As of yesterday, May 8, Mr. Colombe was attempting to finish the ceremonies set forth with the guidance of Spiritual Leader Leksi Leonard Crow Dog. One aspect of that ceremony the family needs to finish is clean up any blood left behind. Mr. Colombe needs access to the vehicle he co-owns with his granddaughter.
On Thursday, three people were contacted: President Scott, Acting Chief of Police Iver Crow Eagle III, and Aisha Uwais-Savage Concha, the attorney general. President Scott was at the funeral but he hasn’t contacted Mr. Colombe. The woman who answered the phone for the attorney general said she would text the AG to be sure she got the message immediately. Acting Chief of Police Iver Crow Eagle III was contacted three times but did not return phone calls.
AG Concha finally did contact Mr. Colombe by phone this morning between 8 and 9 a.m. Mr. Colombe said, “She didn’t say much of anything.”
Mr. Colombe stated that an FBI Agent contacted him today and said he couldn’t provide access the phone or the car.
Mr. Colombe further stated, “I need to finish the ceremony. I need to get to the vehicle to clean up any blood that might be there and they won’t let me see her car. They won’t even give me back her phone. What do they need her phone for?”
Mr. Colombe said that he understood friends had spoken to her and texted her that night. He’s asking for anyone to come forward with information so he can piece together what happened that night. He and his wife thought Feather had returned from cruising around with friends around 2:45 a.m.
The family drove down Lakeview Road expecting to see brake marks, skid marks or signs of fishtailing in the loose gravel but only saw tracks driving off the road. Her car flipped end over end and the axel is ripped off the car.
Mr. Colombe also said that he spoke to Officer Ben Estes to request the police report and was told it would be 90 to 120 days before he can get it.
Most of the communication regarding Feather has been provided by Mr. Rooks, owner of the local Indian-owned funeral home, and in attendance at the funeral. “We can’t say enough about how much he’s helped us through all this,” said Mrs. Colombe.
LakotaVoice left messages for both President Scott and Acting Chief of Police Iver Crow Eagle III. No number was available for Aisha Uwais-Savage Concha, the attorney general, as her phone was disconnected. No calls have been returned as of the publishing of this article.
The Colombe family requests for any information that anyone has regarding their granddaughter during the early hours of May 1, to come forward and contact the family directly. Please contact Jim and Jackie Colombe at 605-856-2541.
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It’s been three days since her funeral. It’s been one week and a day since she passed away on the prairie, pillowed by a blanket of sage, a stone’s throw from the long straight stretch of gravel on Lakeview Road. The horses accompanying Feather along the procession into town and to her earthly home seemed to sense her spirit, as did the sounds of birds singing. Life blooming in the early part of spring contrasted with the weight of loss.
Her final resting place is not the bed of sage or even at the location of her headstone. Her final resting place is in the heart, mind and spirit of the people who knew and loved her. The people who did not get a chance yet to meet her, to feel the effects of her love and life mourn this beautiful, young woman who already had the compassion, will and mind of a leader.
Each one of our girls and women victimized is our daughter, our sister, our cousin, our niece, our aunt and our mother. The future of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate is threatened by the robbing of these young women’s future and the future of our People as a whole.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in LakotaVoice.com. Used with permission. All rights apply.