NDN Collective holds Land Back protest in downtown Rapid City
RAPID CITY, S.D. — On Sunday, NDN Collective staged a protest march in Rapid City under the banner “The Fourth of You Lie.”
NDN billing it as a call for justice for indigenous people who have been, “over-criminalized by colonial government and law enforcement on their own lands.”
Getting word of the protest, Rapid City law enforcement and city leaders held a press conference Sunday morning encouraging a peaceful demonstration.
Leaders spoke of the right to free speech, the importance of hearing everyone’s voice, and how to connect as a community.
“I’m more than willing to be at the table if folks want to have meaningful discussions about how we can work together moving forward. And I would say the things that the MOA are doing for the city and the community are great. I’ve personally been happy to be at the table with that as well,” said Rapid City Police Department Chief Don Hedrick.
But for members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, it was a time to change a false narrative of natives in Rapid City.
“We’re really tired of being seen as violent people. We’re not out here trying to be violent…cause destruction. We’re literally fighting for our lives, for our children’s lives, for the next generation. And we have to, or nothing’s gonna change, we’re gonna constantly get lip service. And we’re done. We’re done with that,” said Sunny Red Bear, Director of Racial Equity at NDN Collective.
Both native and non-native members of the community came out to support the movement.
Not only for landback, but against police brutality, and for the missing murdered and indigenous women and children.
“We’ve needed this for a long time and we need more,” said participant Norma Rendon.
“I have grandchildren, and gonna have great grandchildren that are going to live here, and my thing is to make sure they’re safe,” said participant Marlene Poor Bear.
“It’s important for me to be here to encourage, to empower, to set an example, to honor, to respect. And it’s solidarity, I love it…I love seeing it,” said participant Olowan Martinez.
Although several participants are involved with the human relations committee and Mniluzahan Okolacipiyapi Ambassadors, they believe there is more work to be done in regards to racial equality.
“I appreciate their efforts, and I think that what they’re doing is going to be a very slow process. They are relatively new, but so is NDN collective. And it’s really about pulling up your sleeves and getting work done, and making sure it’s not all about talk,” Red Bear said.
As the walk came to an end, a group scaled the Dakota Grain and Mill tower downtown to reveal a Landback banner.
As crowds made their way to the site, law enforcement increased to ensure the safety of protesters and the public at large, and to continue to protect the right to free speech.
NDN Collective said in a release that four climbers at the protest were arrested.