On April 8th, 2009, a new kind of office was opened in down town Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is called Civil Rights of the Dakotas. Of course, that term “civil rights” raised all sorts of flags. US government civil rights representatives came as far away as Denver. But the Sioux Falls Civil Rights office isn’t about black people. It is about American Indians, exclusively.
The proud new flag of the new office, Civil Rights of the Dakotas. It is already flying in more than one place in South Dakota.
The foundation was created by Betty Ann Gross (Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux, Lake Travers Reservation). It is independent. Among the board members present at the inaugural were Allen Compton, (Eastern Shoshoni), Ron Volesky (Lakota Sioux, Standing Rock), Claudia Boehlman, Vincent Owen (Siseton Wahpeton Sioux) and myself, David Yeagley (Comanche), all of whom gave presentations. Among the honorable guests were the Mayor of Sioux Falls, Dave Munson, Plestor Eceans and James Haekmen, Minnehaha County Deputy Sherriffs, and officer Monica Mendering, Sioux Falls Police Department. Governor Mike Rounds was unable to attend.
At this historical meeting, it was established that the American Indian is a special case in American history, and does not benefit from the established “civil rights” issues and efforts. As noted by BadEagle.com, “civil rights” is a legal trend that has stood for Negro opportunity in America, and has lately expanded to assert foreign presence in the country as well. The American Indian is in fact neglected if not harmed by the tenor of these “civil rights.” Especially is this true in the Dakotas, where many Indian people find themselves stranded on city streets, unprotected by tribal rights, and not subject to the benefits of “civil rights”–as generally applied.
The story of the Sioux in the Dakotas is a special tragedy, and the birth of this new office, Civil Rights of the Dakotas, promises to address Indian issues, for Indians. The program was created by Indians, with an objective view of Indians. The CRD office is pointed directly at the inner city Indians, those isolated from their own reservations. The CRD is designed to reach out to those in the greatest need.
Allen Compton, David Yeagley, and Ron Volesky. Compton is a high-level business manager. Mr. Volesky is an attorney, and former candidate for governor, attorney general, and congressman. He served on the state legislature for 16 years.
The CRD opening was well covered in the Sota Iya Ye Yai (Lake Traverse) newspaper, and was also posted on their web site, www.earthskyweb.com Already there have been subsequent meetings to which the CRD president, Betty Ann Gross, was invited. The word is quickly travelling: Indians need a different kind of “rights.” Why? Indians are a different kind of people. We simply are not just another minority. We are nations. We have our own languages, our own borders, our own religions, and above all, our own ethnicities.
Our own people must be protected now. We are invaded on all sides. South Dakota is a particularly poignant example. The state population is, by latest reports, a little over 800,000. In terms of figures and dollars, it is obviously to the state’s advantage to increase numbers. South Dakota, like other sparsely populated states, is subject to the intential invasion of Third World immigrants, legal or illegal, formally invited or smuggled. Many of these people are not of the higher social eschelons, and they see Indians as an easy target for abuse–sexual abuse, especially when Indian women roam the streets inebriated. The 2005 census reported that only 8% of the population was Negro, and Indian women are especially vulnerable to aggressions of the male Negroes. There is a very high number of “fatherless” black children among Indian women, particularly around Rapid City, and in the western parts of the state.
The Civil Rights of the Dakotas office intends to set the record straight on this continual destruction of the Indian race. For Indians, integration means racism, or racial destruction. It is racial abuse. South Dakota is the perfect place to initiate change. We know this same racist problem exists in other areas of large Indian population. It is a very deep psychological challenge. American Indians have not been encouraged to protect the last of our blood lines. There is a profound level of unconcern, if not disrepect among Indian people ourselves. Interracial sex and fatherless children is true racism. It is the epitome of self-destruction. The problem will first be addressed in the Dakotas, among the Sioux people.
And so the war begins. The CRD declares war on this racism against Indians. Battles have already been fought, but now war is officially declared.
But the CRD isn’t limited to racial protection, per se. Its aim is deeper, and that is to create new paths of self-respect and self-honor for Indians. We seek a new vocabulary of communication. We will transcend the inapplicable jargon of white psychology. We believe Indians can save ourselves–by our own power. We have our own take on reality. We must learn to re-employ our own strength. This is our vision. This is the purpose of the Civil Rights of the Dakota.
South Dakota Senator Jim Bradford, congratulating Betty Ann Gross at another Indian civil rights meeting in Rapid City on April 19, 2009.