The truth about Rapid City, S.D.

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The truth about Rapid City, S.D.

In responce to an interview on 5-14-10 with James Swan, an activist in Rapid City, SD, to discuss the killing of Christopher Capps (May 2), unarmed, by a police officer. He was shot 5 times at a 6 foot range. . Here are a couple of articles from Censored News.

It has been suggested that perhaps James Swan might have been over exagerating the Rapid City Racist enviorment that which American Indians have had to endure for over a century and that which still continues today.


Note: The depicted proud oppressors above, yet they dishonor the American Indian as one to be shamed , a slave, hands bound looking down.

The truth about Rapid City, S.D.
Editor’s note: The following is in response to the

editorial, “Five youth should not frame race debate,” which appeared March 29 at See Also

This incident and others like it that are never reported nor reported on are but the tip of the iceberg as to the true nature and extent of racism in not only Rapid City, but throughout the state. Do not expect too much in the way of positive changes, now or ever.

The entire state of South Dakota, and more specifically, Rapid City, is populated mainly by whites who are primarily lower middle class in sociological terms; people who are less educated, less socially enlightened and less accepting of the growing diversity of America as we venture forth into the 21st century.


When I lived in Rapid City, basically on and off all of my life thus far, I have made the observation that the vast majority of Indian-haters are whites who not only embody the aforementioned description, but who tend to suffer greatly, both individually and collectively, from what I have come to regard as a severe form of “self-esteem deficiency.”

Rapid City is largely peopled with illiterate, stupidly politically conservative, disenfranchised whites who labor for slave wages and essentially view themselves as much “less than” most other human beings. All of the hundreds of racist whites who I have personally confronted in Rapid City over the years have that much in common – their own self-image is so low that they, like their counterparts in the American south have no recourse to feel better about themselves but to publicly disparage or outright physically attack Indians whenever the opportunities arise.

Anyone who hates themselves and despises their station in life will, of course, hate and despise others – and will often act upon these negative feelings, as occurs in Rapid City on a continuous and tragic basis.

Lastly, if this incident does not compel a greater degree of public dialogue as to the “larger issue of race issues in Rapid City,” then the majority of people there can simply remain mired in the quicksand of the denial that people attempt to accomplish via a convoluted and very sorry minimizing of what actually happened – innocent, helpless and essentially disabled people were targeted for mistreatment on the basis of their race.

– Melvin Martin
Detroit, Mich.

The author is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.


By Kayla Gahagan, Journal staff | Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Offensive’ souvenir figure pulled from store shelf

This novelty wine holder depicting a Native American drinking from a bottle of wine was recently removed from Gold Diggers, a Rapid City retail shop, after complaints that it was racially insensitive. (Courtesy photo)

The owners of a Rapid City souvenir shop have removed a miniature statue after Native Americans complained it was offensive.

Roger and Cindy Thompson, owners of Gold Diggers on Mount Rushmore Road, said they pulled a ceramic wine holder off shelves Thursday after receiving a complaint from a Native American woman.
The statue is of a Native American man in a headdress holding a wine bottle to his open mouth.

A picture of the statue circulated late last week, and Rapid City native Robert Cook, president of the National Indian Education Association, wrote to the city to express his disappointment.

Cook could not be reached for comment Tuesday but stated in his letter that the community has moved forward with bridging the gap between Native Americans and the rest of the community, but it falls “several steps back due to the insensitivity of some of our business owners in the community.”

Cook said he was told the statue was being sold in more than one location, but the Journal could not confirm that Tuesday.

Mayor Alan Hanks responded to Cook’s complaint by sending a letter to the Gold Diggers owners Friday, requesting the statue be removed because it was “in poor taste and disrespectful.”

The mayor applauded the Thompsons for being so willing to correct a mistake.

“Cindy (Thompson) has been very good about this,” Hanks said Tuesday. “This gal is very respectful. I sent an e-mail asking that they remove the item, and she did. Quite honestly, if anything, I’m proud of her. I’m very pleased that she showed respect.

“I wish we had more folks in the community who, when something is pointed out as being offensive, were that willing to step up and do something about it.”

The owners of Gold Diggers say about 40 percent of their employees are Native American and the issue has been blown out of proportion.

“We cater to the Native American community; we admire them,” said Roger Thompson. “We don’t make fun of them, we employ them.”

Cindy Thompson said she asked her Native American employees if they thought the statue was offensive before she put it on the shelves. She said no one disapproved.

“One said, ‘No, it’s really cute,’” Cindy said, and another added, “No, it’s 2009.”

The couple issued a written apology to the woman and said they didn’t realize the wine holder would offend anyone.

Gold Diggers manager Jackie White said the holder was included in a pallet of several wine holders of the same design, which also featured cowboys, antlers, bears, moose, raccoons and horses.

She said the Native American statues will be thrown out, because they can no longer be returned to the manufacturer.

“It’s completely ridiculous. We didn’t mean anything by it.”

Roger said some may be offended that the wine holder is offensive to others.

“It’s like slapping a Native American in the face,” he said, because it assumes that all Native Americans have a problem with alcohol and can’t have a wine holder in their house. “A percentage of any population has a problem with alcohol. Many Native Americans are responsible users of alcohol.”

The Thompsons said it was never meant to be disrespectful, and their store welcomes people of all cultures and backgrounds. Cindy said Gold Diggers, which features Native American jewelry and other items, was founded on her own appreciation of the Native American culture and artwork. She lived on reservations in the Southwest for many years.

She is frustrated that her commitment to the Native American community and her works of service could be tarnished by one piece of merchandise.

“I’m embarrassed over the situation and humiliated.”

Contact Kayla Gahagan at 394-8410 or

Complaints filed

It’s not the first time Native Americans in Rapid City have pushed back against merchandise and displays. A large bronze statue in front of Prairie Edge of a Native American man with his hands tied behind his back was replaced last year after complaints. Most recently, McDonald’s fielded complaints about its Night At The Museum Kids Meal toy: Gen. Custer riding a motorcycle.


Reference : Other articles and blogs  "Rapid City, S.D Racist."

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Rapid City, SD : City of Presidents, Rapid City SD Ronald Reagan Bronze Statue

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