link provided by Robert Quiver..thanks!
USCRC hearing focuses on Native American injustice
On Monday, the State Advisory Committee to the US Civil Rights Commission listened to 
testimony concerning allegations of injustice against Native Americans in South Dakota.

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The discussions focused on the deaths of eight Native Americans along Rapid Creek, the 
discovery of Robert Many Horses’ body in a trash can in Mobridge, and the slayings of 
two men outside Pine Ridge last summer. But is racial prejudice to blame for the 
deaths and for the lack of arrests in several cases? After twelve hours of testimony, 
the Civil Rights Commission hopes to have those answers. The message is familiar.

“We always said this is one of the most racists states in the Union as far as Indian 
people are concerned. It’s bad all over the place here in South Dakota. You can cut it 
with a knife,” says Bellecourt. Native Americans say that racism is what caused the 
deaths of the men near the reservation. Bellecourt says, “We were called into Mobrige 
when Many horses was stuffed in a garbage can upside down, and we were called into 
Sisseton when the young man was run over by a car.” Allegations of prejudice, 
disparity, and discrimination were addressed by the panel. Attorney Charles Abourezk 
spoke to the commission on behalf of the mother of Robert Many Horses.

“We are still hopeful that the federal authorities who are now investigating this will 
come up with something and she will feel like she has been better served, but until 
them I think she’s pretty discouraged in the justice system,” says Abourezk.

Bellecourt agrees, “We are calling for a federal inquiry into the misconduct of law 
enforcement in handing these cases.” Bellecourt and others just may get what they ask 

“We are very much interested in the killings, the loss of life goes beyond any other 
kind of abuse that people have to tolerate, and so we are very interested in making 
sure the FBI and other law enforcement people act to resolve these cases. It has just 
taken too long and doesn’t inspire confidence,” says Dr. Mary Frances Berry Many 
individuals who attended the hearing on Monday said there is injustice in law 
enforcement on both the local level and the Federal level. They feel that injustice 
has allowed racial hatred and prejudice to continue for too long in South Dakota, and 
has resulted in the unsolved deaths of Native Americans. Dr. Berry questioned the FBI 
Assistant Special Agent in charge, James Burrus at length if he acknowledged that 
there was a huge amount of distrust and and lack of confidence in law enforcement. He 
said that they work to try and improve it every single day.

Vernon Bellecourt, American Indian Movement “We will not cooperate with the FBI until 
there’s a thorough investigation to figure out their capability and wrongdoing. They 
stand totally discredited on the Pine Ridge Reservation, on other reservations across 
South Dakota, and across the country.” The American Indian Movement also alleged that 
the FBI infiltrated the American Indian Movement and asked for a Federal inquiry in 
the Wounded Knee Trial. Bellecourt states, “We have information that they furnished 
guns, ammunition, and money to the Richard Wilson Government in 1971, 1972, and 1973, 
and those of course were used to kill Indian people.” The goal of the Civil Rights 
Commission is to enter a new millennium leaving the last centuries of hatred and 
prejudice behind. The Civil Rights Commission has no power of law enforcement. 
Instead, it will make recommendations to the US Attorney General, should there be a 
recommendation for prosecution. 

Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine 
of international copyright law.
           Tsonkwadiyonrat (We are ONE Spirit)

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