South Dakota Casinos and South Dakota Gambling

[RF] Pale in Comparison

Winter had sucked all the color out of the world.
The prairie in the glory of midsummer had been a surge of green, summer winds sending pulses through the tall grass, causing it to wave like an underwater kelp forest in a strong current. Now, however, it had relinquished its blooming majesty, its former radiance dulled to straw the color of a deerhide. The flowerheads were stripped of their colorful identities, appearing like sepia photographs of themselves; the ghosts of summer past. The sweetclover, which had extended from one horizon to the other back in June, covering the prairie in a blanket of gold, was now skeletonized, its broken-off stems rolling like tumbleweeds in the winter gales.
Trevor was over it. Another South Dakota winter, another four months until the snows would cease and the ice would melt in the creek. In March and April, the spring blizzards would bury the world and on the subsequent sunny days, the combination of blue sky and white land would be startling, like finding oneself living in the center of a bicolored flag.
But for now, a capricious midwinter thaw had left snowdrifts only in the prairie draws, on the north-facing ridges, in the shadows of the ponderosas that speckled the hills. And around the trailer, mud. In a few nights, a deep freeze would turn the sides of the tire ruts into knife edges, testing the suspension of any vehicle that took the approach too fast. Still, that was better than the loamy mud, which could imprison even a 4x4 until freezing cold or drying winds finally freed it.
The view from the front porch could be gorgeous. Back in July, when the church group from Virginia had constructed a wheelchair ramp for the trailer, the evening sun had set the prairie on fire, its light reflected by a thunderstorm hanging in the sky as if by a puppeteer’s strings. “God almighty,” the youth pastor had exclaimed. But now, grays and browns mingled in a decidedly drab palette. Over at the little bird feeder, the goldfinches were no longer yellow-and-black exclamation points, but had acquiesced to dullness, dressed for a time of year when vibrant color seemed to be outlawed by some unseen authority.
Trevor stared at the expanse of mud that spooled out from in front of the trailer and unwound into a ribbon that led over the hill toward the old sundance ground and, eventually, the paved road. He wondered if he would get out today. Always a calculation this time of year. Driving on the muddy channel that was his approach was out of the question; he would set a course across the grass, which would provide enough barrier to keep his tires from sinking in again. Two-tracks radiating out onto the prairie showed how many times he and his family had taken this course of action since the last snow.
It felt ironic that their approach took them by far the long way around – heading north to go south; harder than it needed to be, like so much of life around here. But the way south was blocked by Roanhorse Creek. This wasn’t all bad; the creek provided nice wading in the summer and water for the horses for most of the year. It also gave rise to the only trees on the property, although the cottonwoods whose leaves whispered in the summer breezes now stood dumb and impassive, and resembled skeletal wraiths at nighttime.
A horse would make it, of course. He could saddle up the buckskin, ride cross-country and be in town in twenty minutes. But that would be silly…he snorted at the ludicrousness of this thought. First of all, he had to go way beyond town today. And even if he were just going to his old job at the tribal building, was he supposed to just hitch it up outside for the day? Tie its reins to one of the smokers’ benches by the entrance? What was this, 1895? No, better not to risk TȟatéZi getting stolen or having some gang sign spraypainted on it or some shit. Besides, he needed to pull into his job interview looking halfway decent, not spattered with mud and smelling like horse sweat.
Trevor regarded his truck, sitting smack in the middle of the sloppy mess. Fuck, he thought.
Still, he didn’t really have a choice today. No job interview, no job. No job, no funds. Another calculation, but this one was straightforward. He went back into the trailer and made his way to his bedroom in the back, passing his brothers in the living room. One was sleeping on the couch and the other was crashed out in the recliner, oblivious to the flickering hearth of the muted TV. Let ‘em sleep today, Trevor thought.
In the bedroom, he stepped across piles of clothes – some clean, some dirty – and over the miscellany of his life; a pile of old DVDs, a defunct gaming console, a canister of Bugler and squares of broadcloth for the tobacco ties he was supposed to make for ceremony, a scattering of empty Mountain Dew cans, a 24-pack of ramen, a basketball.
He hunted around in his closet for the dressy clothes that he knew were there. He had worn them once, on the day of his high school graduation, three years before. And there they were; a purple button-down shirt, a solid black tie, and black chinos. Further rummaging found him a pair of brown loafers and a tan braided belt. He would look sharp for this interview – couldn’t hurt.
Trevor took a quick shower. The hot water always took forever to come and once it did, didn’t last long. He got dressed hurriedly, glad the tie that had come as a set with the shirt was a clip-on, and ran a comb through his hair. It wasn’t long enough to do much with other than backcomb it a little with some hair gel, but he figured that looked better than not. He considered putting in big stud earrings to look extra fly, but decided again it; might not be the right look for the occasion.
Now fully dressed and ready, Trevor took stock of his appearance. His summer tan was long gone and his skin was as pale as the white kids he had met during his one semester of college. The same change of season that had desaturated the prairie and garbed the birds in dull colors had undone all those days spent out in the badlands sun – working with the horses, swimming at the dam, helping keep fire at sundance. Too many French fur traders in his lineage. He recalled the book that his eighth grade teacher had assigned them – Part-time Indian or something – and thought, Yup, that’s me. Indian in the summer and wašiču in the winter, like changing plumage.
Trevor envied his brothers their melanin. He had learned that word in one of his college classes and now thought of it nearly every day. Travis was a rich brown complexion even in the dark days of midwinter. Trenton was in between the two but had jet-black Lakota hair and definitely looked “ethnic,” enough to be followed around stores in the border towns. Trevor knew it was his privilege to be exempt from such treatment, but it bugged him nonetheless. He hadn’t asked to be light-skinned. His brothers called him žiží – a reference to his tawny hair. They had gotten into scraps over this, and Trevor even bloodied Travis’ nose in one such altercation. Once one of them had even called Trevor a “half-breed” but Trevor retorted with “Fuck you, boy, you got the same blood as me. Fuckin’ dumbass.” This seemed to put the issue to rest.
Trevor’s brief stint at college had been at an out-of-state school, which now struck him as an ill-advised decision. At least South Dakotans had some experience with Natives. Even the East River kids had at least crossed paths with one at some point, and didn’t think of Indians as something from the pages of a dime novel. Trevor was the first Native in many years – maybe ever – to attend the small-town liberal arts college in a neighboring state. He thought the fact that the college was reasonably selective would mean that the students were smart enough not to ask dumb questions. He was wrong.
The queries were predictable enough, clichéd even; Are you really Indian? (Yes) Do you speak your language? (No) Did you get in because you’re Indian? (Who knows? I’m pretty smart and got good grades.) Does the college have admissions quotas for Indians? (If it did, you’d think more would go here.) What’s it like on the reservation? (I don’t know; different.) Do you prefer “Native American”? (I find the question annoying, to be honest.) Do you like Leslie Marmon Silko? (Who?) Have you seen Dances with Wolves? (Some of it.) Do you know a guy from Pine Ridge named Verdell? He used to work with my dad. (Maybe) His last name was something Horse. Running Horse? (No)
Fielding these questions was exhausting and added another layer of weariness and alienation to his college experience.
He found himself having to answer such inquiries from his roommate, classmates, professors, his R.A…Sometimes they were cloaked in well-meaning concern (I bet you get tired of all these questions, huh?) but they were always there. Most evenings, Trevor would retreat to his room and call his mom. His roommate, Skyler, a cross-country runner who was handsome in an unspectacular way and who monitored his water intake religiously, was hardly ever around. He seemed to have no trouble making friends in college and reveled in the social opportunities around him.
In his phone calls back home, Trevor found himself experiencing a homesickness that inhabited the pit of his stomach like a hunger pang. He had never been gone from home for that long. Really, his only trip away had been the summer before his senior year, to a weeklong STEM camp for Native kids that one of the state colleges had put on. But that had been with a half dozen other students from his high school. Here he was alone.
The subjects of their conversations would leave Trevor feeling a gravitational pull toward home: Trenton got into a fight at school and got suspended. Travis is drinking again. We had sweat for your auntie because they have to amputate her leg after all. Those dogs were back again. Everett hit $200 at the casino on Tuesday night but of course he put it all back in. They’re having a basketball tournament for that boy who got paralyzed in that wreck. Our hot water heater went out but uncle came and fixed it. They still haven’t found that Two Arrows girl that went missing. Travis wants to go up on the hill this spring – maybe that will get him to quit drinking.
Good news, bad news, mundane news…The latter tugged at him the most. Like many who grew up on Pine Ridge, he had a love-hate relationship with the reservation. It was the home of his people after all, and could be so beautiful (“God’s country,” as it was called by even those who had no time for the white man’s God). But the hardships, the tragedies, the death…it all wore away at your spirit, hardened you. Still, the news of day-to-day life going on in his absence; a school powwow, a bingo tournament, tribal council drama, rumors of a Dairy Queen opening. It made him miss home in an ineffable way.
The last vestige of his indecision evaporated after a particular conversation in the lounge of his dorm. He had been sitting on a beanbag chair, discussing random topics with two friends (at least, he considered them friends, in some ill-defined adolescent way). They had all left a dull party that hadn’t livened up even after a couple of drinks, but still felt heady and obligated to prolong the night a little longer. So, they were shooting the shit, in a garishly-lit common space that smelled of burnt popcorn, and Trevor was feeling rather collegiate. An off-campus party, late-night conversation; weren’t these the trappings of university life that he had seen in teen movies, if a much more prosaic version?
Kayleigh, tipsy off Jäger bombs, started the chain of events that would unravel his college experience with a simple, but pointed question: “How Indian are you, anyway?”
Colton snorted at this comment. “Kay, you can’t just ask that!” But he was clearly more amused than disapproving.
“You mean like my blood quantum or what?” Trevor asked.
“Is that what you guys call it?” said Kay, now playing the innocent party. “I just mean, like, you say you’re Indian, I mean like I know you are, like, I know you are on paper…” The alcohol was causing her to trip over her words but she plowed on. “I mean like, okay, if I were to like, run into you on the street…” Kay was now gesturing expansively, as if the meaning of what she was saying wasn’t explicit from words alone. “Like, I wouldn’t be like, ‘Damn, look at that Indian,’ right? I’d just assume you were a white guy. I mean you know what I mean? Ugh, I’m not making sense.”
She was making perfect sense. Colton looked embarrassed, and for a second, Trevor thought he might shut Kay down. But instead, his inhibition similarly worn down by a few shots of German 70-proof, he followed suit. “I think what Kay’s drunk ass is trying to say is, like, your ancestors are Indians, right, like in the history books. Like Geronimo or whatever. But do you consider yourself one of them? Or are you, like, their descendant?”
Trevor could feel the ball of rage growing within him, a sea urchin radiating spikes in his gut. Stop talking, he thought. Just stop talking.
Colton continued, heedlessly. “Okay, so like I’m Irish but I’m not like Irish Irish, like a leprechaun or some shit. Like my ancestors…”
Trevor stood up, his fists balled. He was now stone-cold sober but his anger was its own intoxicant. “It’s none of your fucking business. It’s none of your business what the fuck I am!” He was shouting; he couldn’t help it. He picked up a half-empty can of PBR and threw it at the wall, slamming the door to the lounge on his way out. The sudsy contents of the can leaked onto the ugly orange dorm carpet, as Kayleigh and Colton sat in stunned silence.
“Jesus,” said Colton finally. “Just trying to ask an honest question.”
After that, Trevor had holed up in his room for a few days, skipping classes and avoiding other students. When he told his mom he was dropping out, she hardly sounded surprised. He knew she would be glad to have him back home; the prodigal son returning. Trevor, the one who had his shit together, who had gone to a STEM camp and was almost salutatorian. He knew she thought that once he got back, he could do what she couldn’t; get Travis on a better path, bring another income to the household, fix what needed to be fixed around the trailer, shoot at the stray dogs when they came around. It would all fall to him. His failure was their blessing; they would lean on him as long as he could stand.
So here we fucking go, he now thought, patting his gel-stiffened hair and giving himself one last hazel-eyed glance in the mirror. Gotta get that bread. His brief stint at the tribal building hadn’t panned out. He was a good worker but wet weather made his road too sloppy to get out easily. Too many latenesses had translated into a pink slip. “Shit man we all got bad roads. Gotta leave earlier,” his boss had said.
So, lesson learned, he was giving himself extra time getting ready for this interview. Really, the lady had just told him to come by “around mid-morning,” so he’d probably be okay. The job was off-rez, down at the county livestock auction and sale barn in one of the closest border towns, “white towns,” as Ridgers called it. It was mostly going to be paperwork – inventory and itemizing and that kind of shit – but it was decent pay and Trevor hoped that he could transition over to working with the animals before long. On most days, he preferred their company to dumbass people.
Grabbing his bag, Trevor stuck the loafers inside with his other miscellany. He would need to wear his cowboy boots across the muddy expanse between the bottom step of the porch and the door to his Blazer so he jammed his feet into them. Outside, he walked gingerly so as not to stain his black slacks with muck. Once in the driver’s seat, he figured he would leave the boots on for the drive, since they were already smearing mud on the floor liner, and in case he got stuck and needed to get out. Trevor knew that the people who worked at the sale barn were as countrified as he was and wouldn’t judge muddy boots under most circumstances, but he also knew that being from Pine Ridge meant he had to put his best foot forward, literally in this case.
Trevor fired up the Blazer, put it in four low, and gunned it. His tires found grip and he jerked along, slimy divots of earth spattering his windows and roof like hail. His windshield wipers left a pasty smear that obscured much of his view, but he practically knew the way by feel. As soon as he could, he bumped up onto the grass, gopher holes and clumps of prairie bluestem jolting his ride, testing what was left of his suspension. When he finally hit the pavement, the smoothness was startling as it always was, like a TV being suddenly muted, like silence after a door slamming.
He cruised through town, passing the gas station, the other gas station, the commod building, the quonset hut, the old BIA headquarters…and turned south into Nebraska. He tried to ignore the persistent squeal under the hood that had gotten worse lately. The overcast sky reflected the dullness of the land – as below, so above – and Trevor alternated between zoning out and counting hawks on telephone poles. A handful of miles south of the border, the vehicle gave a jolt and Trevor felt a temporary loss of control. He hit the brakes and steered toward the shoulder, but the Blazer was suddenly steering like an army tank. Fuck, he whispered.
Once he wrestled Blazer off the road, Trevor got out and popped the hood. He already knew what he would find under the rising steam. “Fucking serpentine belt,” he hissed to the universe. Trevor was good with cars but he didn’t have the tools for this fix. Luckily, he thought, out here in the country, somebody who did would be by soon. Lots of Natives on this road, maybe even a cousin would happen by who could at least give him a ride to town. Trevor thought of calling his dad’s brother Everett on his cell, but figured he’d give it a bit. He hated the thought of owing Uncle Ev anything.
Sure enough, in a few minutes, a gunmetal gray truck passed by slowly, hit a u-turn, and pulled up behind him. Trevor felt a twinge of envy over this late-model Dodge Ram MegaCab with duallies. It had county plates on it, so the cowboy-hatted driver was a local guy, and as he got out, his Carhartt overalls and mud-caked boots identified him as a rancher.
“Trouble?” MegaCab asked, giving Trevor an easy smile.
“Serpentine belt busted,” said Trevor, unconsciously smoothing out his rez accent in favor of a more neutral affectation. Code-switching – another term he had learned at college (by the professor who asked him if he prefers “Native American”).
“No shit, huh?” MegaCab considered this information. “I got nothing for that but I could give you a ride somewhere. You call anyone? Someone coming after you?”
“No,” said Trevor. “I’m trying to get down to the sale barn for a job interview.”
MegaCab looked at Trevor as if for the first time. “Oh ok so that’s why you’re all fancied up. Well, hop in if you don’t mind leaving it here.”
Trevor considered this. He was off the rez so there was less of a chance that the Blazer would end up with busted windows or slashed tires. And he was eager to get his interview over and done with.
Before he could answer, MegaCab added “I have to stop in Whiteclay first but then I’ll take you down.”
This was only a few miles out of the way so Trevor assented and climbed into the rancher’s idling behemoth. It still retained some new-truck smell, mixed with a tinge of manure and rich earth. Really, it was almost luxurious.
MegaCab flipped a u-ey again and headed back north toward Whiteclay. Formerly notorious for copious alcohol sales to people from the dry reservation whose border it sat on, Whiteclay’s package stores had been shuttered after the state had revoked their liquor licenses following years of protests over their depredatory business model. Now, it was just a town of a couple small stores and fewer than a dozen permanent residents, its streets empty of vagrants, its ghosts banished.
“So, you from Hot Springs?”
Trevor momentarily wondered where this question had come from, and then remembered that he had 27-plates on the Blazer – Fall River County, a relic of when he bought the car from a white lady over there. He had kept the off-county registration because the plates were far less likely to get you pulled over off-rez than the infamous 65s of Oglala Lakota County.
MegaCab continued without waiting for an answer. “I used to go up to Hot Springs a lot when my dad was in the V.A. hospital up there. Nice town.”
“Yup, it’s pretty nice,” said Trevor, wondering if he would have to sustain this small talk the whole way.
Luckily, MegaCab took it from there, reminiscing about his high school football team dealing Hot Springs a particularly lopsided loss, and then they were at Whiteclay. Trevor played around on his phone while his driver of the moment went into the little grocery store. He looked up his old roommate Skyler on Facebook (why, he didn’t know; certainly not to friend him) and then Googled “Pine Ridge South Dakota Dairy Queen” just to see if there was any truth to that rumor.
MegaCab returned with some mail – Trevor had forgotten that there was a little post office in there – and they turned south toward Rushville.
Two miles and five hawks-on-telephone-poles into their trip, MegaCab got chatty again:
“I still can’t believe that the state revoked the liquor licenses. They had no legal right to do that of course, but just like everyone else these days, they bowed to the pressure from liberal special interest groups. Those store owners – my brother was one of them – followed the damn law to a T but still got their rights taken away. They’re the real victims in all of this.”
Trevor, whose father was found dead in Whiteclay when Trevor was ten years old, didn’t answer.
“You know it’s just going to push the problem down the road. These Indians are gonna get their liquor one way or another. You guys must see that all the time up in Hot Springs.”
These Indians. You guys. Trevor suddenly recognized MegaCab’s presumption, and wondered when if he should correct it.
“If they wanted to buy millions of cans of beer in Whiteclay every year and drink themselves to death, shit, I say let ‘em. It’s a free country, right? Those AIM types are always going on about Native rights and shit, y’know? Well shit, you have the right to drink and die if you want. Not saying that I want that for those people or anything, but the nanny state can’t be protecting everyone from problems of their own making.”
Trevor, whose brother had first gotten jailed for drunk and disorderly at age 14, two years after their father died, said nothing.
MegaCab continued to rhapsodize about “the Indians” and their problems, adopting the tone of an expert, one who knew all about them. Trevor felt the blood rise to his face. Some coloration at least, he thought darkly. In the pit of his stomach, the sea urchin had returned to stab at his insides. What must it be like, he wondered, to live a life in which people aren’t constantly telling you who you are, naming your characteristics like symptoms, trying to trap you like a spirit in a photograph?
The Blazer came in sight on the shoulder ahead. “Can you let me out at my ride?” Trevor asked, his voice hardly recognizable to his own ear, like hearing himself talk underwater.
“Sure, you need to grab something out of it?” said MegaCab, reluctantly pausing his diatribe.
“No it’s okay,” replied Trevor, “I’m gonna call someone to come help me fix this after all.” He fiddled with his phone as if to underscore this intention.
“Well, if you’re sure,” said MegaCab. “And hey,” he added as Trevor stepped down onto the running board. “You be careful around here. One of these rezzers might see you here all by yourself and try to mess you or your car up. And watch out for drunk drivers. You just never know with these Indians.” MegaCab gave a serious nod to accentuate this show of concern. Then he wished Trevor luck and drove off.
Trevor watched the truck recede into the distance until it was merely a gray speck between the monochrome earth and the steely sky. He sat down in the cold front seat of the Blazer and looked into the rearview mirror. Hazel eyes stared back at him under a pale forehead. Fuck it, he thought; people are dumbasses. Let ‘em believe what they want; that he was from Hot Springs, that could be was related to that Apache, Geronimo, that he was only Indian on paper. Trevor saw what they didn’t; the hidden depths beneath the surface, and in their faces, in the spaces between their words, their ignorance displayed like a tattoo.
In another minute or two, he would call Uncle Ev for a ride. In another hour or two, he would be offered a job at the sale barn that would bring another income into his household (and buy him a new serpentine belt). In another day or two, he would finally finish the tobacco ties for ceremony, at which he would pray for Travis’ sobriety and his auntie’s diabetes. In another month or two, the lengthening of the days would be unmistakable.
Spring would come as it always had, first heralded by a single meadowlark piercing the predawn silence with his song. This would be followed by a green sprig on the prairie, pushing up, perhaps, through snow. Then a cluster of pasqueflowers appearing suddenly on a hillside, a skein of geese overhead, sheet lightning on the horizon. Small miracles, one after another. Finally, color would surge back into the world like paint scintillating on a canvas, causing goldfinches to glow like stars and evening thunderheads to stand like towering fires.
The brilliant Dakota sunlight would stoke the melanin in Trevor’s skin, and nobody would mistake who he was. He would go up on the hill for two days and nights with Travis that spring, and Trenton would keep fire for them. He would pray for the coming year, for the survival of his people, for enough blessings to outweigh the hardships. And there, among a sea of undulating green, facing the crimson blaze of sunrise, he would again know himself and find the strength to carry on, in the face of all the peculiar indignities of this world.
submitted by PrairieChild to shortstories [link] [comments]

Welcome to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Effortpostin within.

The Pine Ridge Indian reservation is located in South-West South Dakota. It borders the state of Nebraska on the south, and is roughly the size of Deleware and Rhode Island combined. It has a population of 28,787, most of them Lakota Sioux. It is known as "The Rez" to it's residents.
That is, however, about all the good you can say about it.
The Pine Ridge Reservation is quite possibly the most disgusting and inhumane abuse of human beings in the entire first world, it is indicative of the continued racism and dangerous apathy that pervades this nation, even reaching to the highest seats of power.
Pine Ridge has a 80% unemployment rate, with at least half of all families living well below the poverty line. As many as 45% have no electricity, running water, sewer or heat, relying on wood burning stoves (Which often have to burn furniture, tires and anything else flammable the families can get a hold of) to survive the brutal South Dakota winters. The per capita income is roughly $3600 per year. Pine Ridge has the lowest life expectancy, 44 for men/ 47 for women, of any area in the entire industrialized world. This number is lower than even Somalia. Diseases such as polio are still present, and cancer is now at epidemic rates due to toxic groundwater. The infant mortality rate is 300% the US average, and those that do survive face a grim childhood, with adolescent suicide 6 times higher than the national average. Diabetes is the largest killer, followed by alcohol related deaths (Mostly car accidents), exposure, and alcohol poisoning. All this despite alcohol being illegal on the rez. The law on the rez is very odd with lots of loopholes, worthless, underfunded and corrupt enforcement, which leads to rates of crime and violence being very high. Many violent criminals are released simply because they cannot be given a speedy trial in the underfunded, overworked justice system. There is an average of 17 people living in each home, and the average home has 2 rooms.
Hospitals are few and far between, with sporadic, at best, ambulance services, so many natives die of easily treated conditions. The IMS (Indian Medical Service) spends $2100 per patient, per year. To put that into perspective, Medicare pays $8000 and Medicade pays $4200. It is estimated that the reservation system is worse than that of Afghanistan.
The tribal councils are incredibly corrupt and operate off a spoils system, with people elected to office simply giving all positions to their friends and family as the loot the tribe's funds for as long as they can. Only 1 in 90 Natives actually vote anyway, with most of them incapable of reaching the far flung polling places. A recent attempt by the South Dakota Democratic Party to mobilize, register and make sure that Natives voted was greeted by violent assaults from rednecks, vandalism and police harassment.
The reservation lacks any real economic opportunities, which are the root cause of most of the problems. An example of this would be the economic "production" of the rez. Despite the land being set aside for the Natives, the state of South Dakota has allowed white farmers to buy or lease much of the best land, meaning that of the $33 million worth of agricultural production occurring on the rez, less than 1/3rd will ever find it's way into the hands of any member of the tribe. A large problem is, that although the rez has decent farmland, they could not, even if they had the money and resources to run an operation, sell their own crops. In order for a crop to be sold commercially, it must be inspected by the USDA.
The USDA, however, flatly refuses to inspect any crops produced by a member of the tribe, citing some obscure tribal law or another.
This system forces any Natives who wish to farm their own land to sell their land and go to work for a white farmer. Sharecropping is still alive and well on the rez.
To add insult to injury, the state allows, if not encourages, stealing the rez's water, most of which is pumped off to irrigate the farms of white farmers or to white communities elsewhere in the state.
The rez has tried, at various times, a Moccasin factory, meat packing plant and fish hook factory.
All of these enterprises were shot down by the federal government, who has basically made it impossible for Native produced goods to be sold outside the rez with a bizarre tax and customs system. The only successful venture is the Prairie Wind Casino, which, despite "making money" (Most of which is pocketed by corrupt officials) is as much harm to the tribe as it is good, sucking many Natives even further into the spiral of debt, alcoholism and despair.
The Natives have risen up in the past, however. It really began with the American Indian Movement. Founded in 1968, they initially followed the teachings of such men as Martin Luther King and Gandhi, sticking to peaceful, albeit aggressive, protest. They understood that working within the American political system was worthless, and engaged in a campaign almost similar to that of the Yippies, boisterously seeking publicity wherever it could be gained. One of their earliest actions was seizing a replica of the Mayflower, followed by occupying Mount Rushmore.
As is to be expected, this did not work. They changed their tactics, and became more aggressive and radical. In 1971, they partook in their first real violent action, seizing the Bureau Of Indian Affairs HQ in Washington, DC. Seeing this, the Federal government became terrified and ramped up it's well known COINTELPRO to stop these filthy natives from achieving equal rights
In 1973, the AIM ramped it up even further, with as many as 1200 natives taking up arms to depose Dick Wilson, a teapot dictator set up by the Feds. Not only was he a prolific embezzler of tribal funds and unelected, but he went so far as to set up death squads called GOON (Guardians Of the Oglala Nation) which regularly engaged in robbery, rape, murder and extortion. He had specific orders from the fedral government to engage in "paramilitary activities" to destroy the AIM.
The AIM seized the town of Wounded Knee, and within the same day (Probably thanks to intel from the many infiltrators) the FBI, US Marshals, state police and army had surrounded the town.
The AIM held out for 71 days, engaged in sporadic firefights with the federal forces. Despite the Federal forces having attack helicopters, APCs, assault rifles, snipers and explosives, they never broke the stalemate with the AIM. The Feds at first attempted to starve out the AIM, but thanks to successful smuggling operations directed by the community, this tactic was not successful. The siege eventually reached a peaceful conclusion, however 2 FBI agents were killed and a US Marshal was paralyzed in the firefights. 2 Lakotas were killed, both being shot in the head as they slept.
Terrified, COINTELPRO escalated things further, supplying the GOONs with military grade weapons and training. During this time, all out war broke out on the reservation, with Pine Ridge having a murder rate of 170 per 100,000, 7 times that of Detroit. Most of the deaths were the government sponsored death squads killing AIM members and government opponents. It got to the point where even FBI agents were assisting in the killing, as was evidenced by another incident, the 1975 "Pine Ridge Shootout" where Federal agents attacked AIM activists.
The AIM activists fired back, killing 2 FBI men. The killers spent some time on the FBI's top 10 most wanted fugitives list, and were eventually caught.
However, due to the federal attempt to fabricate evidence to make the AIM seem like they were in the wrong, 2 of the 3 shooters were acquitted. The third, Leonard Peltier, was found guilty, thanks to a racist judge not allowing in the evidence that acquitted the other two men. He was sentenced to life in prison, where he remains to this day.
Already weakened, the final blow was dealt to the AIM in 1976, when Anna Mae Aquash, a Lakota woman and prominent AIM activist, was murdered. The Federal Government initially attempted to cover it up, stating that Ana Mae had died of exposure and refusing to identify her, instead saying she was a Jane Doe. It was not until 8 days after her burial that the AIM was able to exert enough pressure to get a second autopsy, which found out who she was and that she was shot, execution style, in the back of the head. Despite one of his bodyguards planning the murder, providing the weapon and possibly even pulling the trigger, Russell Means has never faced any charges, nor has he ever been called to testify.
After this murder, the AIM was never really active again, being reduced to a splintered, largely ineffective group.
This is your legacy, White America.
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Badlands National Park, South Dakota - Prairie Wind ...

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