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2018-03-15 / Voices

Racial Slurs Flourish in South Dakota

SICANGU SCRIBE
BY VI WALN
SICANGU LAKOTA


Consequently, if you’d like to hear what was actually said at the February 12 school board meeting, you can view a video on YouTube at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RawpoeXJLn0& feature=youtu.be Consequently, if you’d like to hear what was actually said at the February 12 school board meeting, you can view a video on YouTube at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RawpoeXJLn0& feature=youtu.be Congratulations to all of our Lakota/Dakota high school basketball teams who qualified to play in all State Basketball Tourneys. We love our young athletes, they work hard to move their teams forward.

The shinny game is one of our traditional Lakota games given by our ancestors. My late Unci talked about a shinny game played in the Wososo district when she was a young girl. People would walk from the contemporary communities of He Dog, Upper Cut Meat and Parmelee to play. It was a way to stay healthy through exercise. It was competitive of course, but our ancestors were skilled in overcoming differences.

For instance, if someone was inadvertently hit with a stick during a shinny game, the game would stop to make sure the player was okay. Everyone who participated knew it was a game to build relationships. The shinny game was a way to learn how to get along while playing a competitive sport. Exercise, good sportsmanship and fun were combined in a shinny game to help our ancestors get along. They were happy to play.

Like other things our ancestors created, the shinny game was shared with the wasicu when they arrived in our homelands. Today the game is called lacrosse by the wasicu and many have forgotten the origins of this sport.

There are several lacrosse teams now active in Indian Country. People like Kevin Hoch DeCora, Franky Jackson, Jeremy Red Eagle and Kip Spotted Eagle are a few names that come to mind when I think of lacrosse teams for the youth. These men volunteer their time and work with young people on several Indian reservations to help them participate in leagues and tournaments.

Even though our ancestors played a big part in bringing the shinny game out as a public sport, our Lakota/Dakota and other Indigenous athletes are still discriminated against because of their talent. This happens in all sporting events. It doesn’t matter what level our young people play at – local, state, regional or national – many of them still suffer the disparaging remarks of racists.

For example, there are many of our young people and adults who have suffered racial slurs during sports competition. Prairie nigger is the most common racial slur we suffer. The online Urban Dictionary defines the phrase as a “Racial slur for Native American.”

Stereotypes are also used by ignorant wasicu when they want to put our people down. They holler “drunk Indians” or other derogatory names. People who refer to our young people with racial slurs or judge them based on some stereotype need professional help. Mental health counselors might be able to help them understand how they are engaging in racism when they call others names. Yet, most racists are in deep denial. They will tell you “I’m not racist.” However, people who claim to not be racist are probably the ones in most need of help.

The lacrosse sport is growing and our young Indigenous players are very talented on the field. This has caused them to suffer in the Dakota Premier Lacrosse League of South Dakota.

In a social media post, Kevin Hoch DeCora alleges that Native lacrosse teams have been banned from joining the league. Consequently, the league championship was won by a Native team last season. Our young people suffered racial slurs during those games.

The election of a US President who has shamelessly uttered racial slurs many times has emboldened closet racists. People who previously wouldn’t call Indigenous athletes names in public, now have no shame in calling children names. They’re not only racist, they lack sportsmanship and maturity. They bring shame to their family and community.

Please pray for the racists, they definitely need it.

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