Students in South Dakota Have Homecoming Canceled After Staging Racist Anti-Native Stunt

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Homecoming is one of the most anticipated events in a during a teenager’s journey through their High School years. The students of one South Dakota High School, however, will be missing out on the joyous occasion due to a racist stunt members of their cohort decided to indulge in.

Students of  Sturgis Brown High School has had all its scheduled homecoming activities canceled, and forfeited its upcoming football game against Pine Ridge School from the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation. Students of Sturgis Brown High were photographed smashing cars emblazoned with graffiti marked: “go back to the rez.”

While much has to be done for reparations to be made with  Native Americans in the nation, the least the school could do is doing the right thing and reprimanding their students, leading by example that bigotry will not be tolerated.

As reported on Splinter News:

In a statement released on Thursday, Meade School District Superintendent Don Kirkegaard wrote that he was “appalled and disgusted” by the racist message, which was spray painted on a car as part of an unsanctioned “car bash” activity ahead of Sturgis Brown High School’s homecoming game against the Pine Ridge School from the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation.

According to Kirkegaard, the picture was taken in the Sturgis Brown parking lot after school hours on October 11, but no teachers or school officials were aware of the incident until after the fact.

“We are a diverse district with many races and backgrounds,” Kirkegaard wrote. “Which is why this situation is so painful.”

In a stunning show of solidarity to the Pine Ridge students, the Meade School Board voted 8–0 to cancel Sturgis Brown’s remaining homecoming activities, dance, and parade. Hopefully by the students are getting the message.

“The school will also forfeit the homecoming game itself to the Pine Ridge School.”

The article continues:

Speaking with the Rapid City Journal, Kirkegaard explained that “we didn’t want to potentially escalate anything.”

For Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Fraizer, though, the incident is just the latest in a long line of racist attacks on his community.

“How many times do we have to send our school children to our sacred Black Hills only to be verbally and physically abused with racism and bigotry by those who occupy such a sacred place?” Frazier asked in a statement released after the offensive pictures were made public.
We are well aware of the hatred and greed that killed so many of my people and forced us on this reservation. We have survived murder, rape, disease and starvation on this reservation. We need no reminder of where you want us to be. We suffer daily with hunger, cold, depression. Your attack dogs and mercenaries have left wounds when we leave our reservations to ask for wrongs to be righted. You were there. We saw the uniforms from all over South Dakota among the forces that that shot and killed only last year.
Early Thursday morning, the Sturgis Police Department acknowledged that they were aware of the racist graffiti, and urged patience while they and the school officials looked into the incident.

For Frazier, though, there are concrete steps that must be taken.

“Show us you are serious about the shameful act you are all trying to diminish,” he wrote. “Punish those who committed this offense. Take appropriate actions through the High School Athletic Association to ensure the safety of our children. Talk to the youth about racism.”

What are your thoughts on the matter? What has to be done to change the ingrained racism in the communities like Meade County where are Native populations reside? Do you think that the canceling of homecoming is a sufficient punishment for the students at  Sturgis Brown High School, and do you think future students will get the message?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

(Article by Tasha Sharifa)

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