NDN Collective demonstrates outside the Pennington County Jail
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Some South Dakota residents are excited for the 4th of July fireworks and the arrival of Donald Trump, but that feeling is not shared among all.
Especially among Lakota natives, who say they want to protect what they see as their rightful lands.
Members of the NDN Collective gathered outside the Pennington County Jail to hold a demonstration Thursday night ahead of President Donald Trump’s arrival. Demonstrators projected messages onto the jail such as “You Are On Stolen Land” and “Land Back” for all to see. The Collective and other natives are calling for their sacred lands to be returned as well as for an end to the monument and others like it, which for many natives is synonymous with white supremacy.
Many natives say their parents, grandparents, and other ancestors opposed the monument, and want a change.
“We need to understand the history, the true history that’s happened in the United States,” said Andrew Iron Shell, a community organizer with NDN. “Not just to indigenous people, but to all people of color. And once people can understand that and acknowledge that, it doesn’t mean that you have to carry around a guilty conscience, but acknowledge it and move forward and work together with your community of all people.”
The groups mission is to defend, develop and decolonize, and through this effort, believes it is defending the lands that belonged to their ancestors, and by right belong to them. The group did not focus on a large turnout but appreciates the impact their message is having around the country. The NDN Collective will be at various venues over the 4th of July weekend supporting young Lakota natives who are hoping to bring a change with their message.
Iron Shell said,
“I think that it’s important for everyone in our community to know understand what the NDN Collective is doing. We’re defending, we’re developing and we’re decolonizing community, ourselves and everyone else around us. We hope that they would join us and become people of conscience.”