Oglala President Wants Federal Investigation on Whether a Hate Crime was Committed against 57 Lakota Students

President Steele wants to see if civil rights of students were violated

Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele

Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele

PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION – John Yellow Bird Steele, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, is asking the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the incident that occurred at a Rush hockey game at the Rapid City Civic Center when 57 students from Allen, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were sprayed with beer and taunted with racially-charged slurs on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

President Steele sent a letter to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking them to open an investigation on whether or not a hate crime was committed or if the civil rights of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation students were violated.

“The Rapid City Civic Center is a public accommodation and all Americans have a right to be free from discrimination in the use and enjoyment of such facilities. Our children, parents and teachers were denied their Civil Rights to use and enjoy the public accommodations during a school field trip,” Steele

Last Wednesday, a disorderly conduct charge filed against Trace O’Connell, 41, from Philip, South Dakota. O’Connell was in corporate suite owned by Eagle Sales of the Black Hills, which is the Anheuser Busch distributor for the region.

President Steele does not think the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge goes far enough.

The story has become a national story, beyond the American Indian media, including this publication, which has run several stories on the incident. NPR and ESPN both have done stories on the racial incident.






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