Tilsen supporters gather at courthouse to rally behind NDN Collective leader

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Crowds of supporters gathering at the Pennington County Courthouse for NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen Wednesday afternoon.

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NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen addresses a crowd of supporters in front of the Pennington County Courthouse before his hearing on Oct. 27, 2021.

Tilsen in court for a hearing on multiple charges, including second degree robbery, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct. The charges stemming from a 2020 protest on Hwy. 16 in Keystone – during then-President Trump’s visit to Mount Rushmore on July 3 – where Landback protesters blocked the highway.

“We can’t hang our head low as Indigenous people no more…and that when the system comes after our people that we need to stand up against it…we cannot let them operate with impunity over and over and over cause they’ll continue to do this to our people,” Tilsen said.

Supporters gathered this Wednesday afternoon with flags and drums to sing and offer prayers before the hearing.

Tilsen himself shaking hands and offering his thanks to those that came out.

“It can feel at times that we’re against this…this system that continues to oppress our people…the same system that took our land is the same system that’s locking up our people,” Tilsen said.

Charges had been dropped against nearly 20 other protesters back in March of 2021.

Tilsen facing up to 17 years in prison should he be convicted.

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Events, Local News, South Dakota News