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Trying to educate the white media about racism in South Dakota

little notesEveryone at Native Sun News Today kicked back and enjoyed the Native American Day holiday. We are continuously surprised every year that the white owned media never mentions that NA Day happened because Native Americans fought for and pushed for it.

And yet every newspaper from the Rapid City Journal to the Argus Leader give all of the credit for the holiday to a white man, George Mickelson. Granted, it took the power of the governor’s office to finally get it done, but it took the South Dakota state legislators to vote it into law and it took Tim Giago and his staff at Indian Country Today to lobby for it. And the holiday they established was Native American Day to replace Columbus Day. They did not name it Indigenous People’s Day. We celebrated here at the office with Indigenous Tacos and Indigenous Fry Bread. And then we had an interview with a guy from the Bureau of Indigenous Affairs.

Whenever a holiday falls on a Monday we have to move everything here at the paper one day ahead. We print one day later and the paper gets delivered one day later. But the crew at the paper works long and hard hours and we think they all deserve a day off to rest up and get ready for the next edition.

Mayor Allender referred to the homeless Native Americans living in “HIS” city as “Those people.” Reminds me of what the mayors of Southern cities said when referring to the black population living in “their cities.” Those people often meant other people and not their people. Allender was fed up with the many homeless Native Americans now trying to reside in Rapid City. He was particularly bothered by the fact that food kitchens were set up around town to feed “those people.” He suggested that he would like to see all of them return to their home reservations and he would even find the transportation to send them there if that was necessary. Mr. Mayor, most of “those people” came to Rapid City looking for jobs. Is the city offering any of those jobs? Too many businesses in Rapid City are not.

When Tim Giago wrote this paragraph in a column he wrote for the Rapid City Journal, Kent Bush, the editor of the Journal, refused to print it. He declared that “Allender is not a racist. Nowhere is Giago’s column did he refer to Allender as a racist. Tim wrote that Allender did not grow up in Rapid City and his knowledge of what it is to be Lakota in this city is limited.

We have been addressing this issue of racism in Rapid City and in South Dakota for more than 40 years in our newspapers. We make some progress and then a bunch of new editors take over the local daily newspaper from another state with absolutely know awareness of the racial struggles of the Native Americans over the years and because of their ignorance of the problem they refuse to accept the fact that racism does exist here.

We usually are more lighthearted in Little Notes but the events of the past few days have been upsetting to those of us who have been fighting racism for so many years and to see the white media pretend it does not exist out of ignorance sets us back 20 years. All we can do is to keep writing about it and hope that we can begin to educate the white owned media that it does exist and we are trying to do something about it.

We are all back on the job today and looking forward to getting your next newspaper to you. Doksa ake’.




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