July 26, 2020

NDN Collective Responds to Brutal K9 Attack on Native Man in Rapid City

NDN Collective calls out excessive use of force by South Dakota Highway Patrol with K9 unit deployed on Native man and overall systemic violence against Indigenous people at the hands of law enforcement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 26, 2020

Rapid City, South Dakota — On Friday, a Native man in Rapid City, South Dakota was attacked by a Highway Patrol officer and K9 unit who called to the scene after a minor altercation. In a video on social media, a witness filmed the K9 unit attacking the man for over 2 minutes even after the police officer shoots him with a stun gun. In response to the horrific incident, NDN Collective President and CEO Nick Tilsen released the following statement:

“This shows exactly how Native people in Rapid City are treated by police. Regardless of the situation before the video begins, the man was unarmed and posed no threat to the officer or the K9 unit. The officer was the one who made it violent.

“An unarmed Native man taking a step forward on our own land is not an act of violence or a threat. A police officer attacking with an animal and using excessive force is an act of violence.

“Why didn’t the officer make an arrest? This is not the proper use of K9 units. Clearly the tax-paying dollars of this state are being used to create a militarized police state, when the dollars should be used to improve education, create livable wage jobs, fight the housing and homeless crisis, and combat COVID-19.

“This is a symptom of a greater systemic issue in South Dakota, where Indigenous people have our lands illegally occupied, our people jailed at unconscionable numbers, and our relatives attacked by police and animals with impunity. To make our communities safe, we must abolish policing and redirect their funds towards systems of care that allow all communities to flourish without violence and protect the rightful sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples in our lands.”

Key Facts:

  • The Black Hills of South Dakota, including the land that Rapid City, SD occupies, is all unceded Lakota territory per the Treaty of 1868 at Fort Laramie. A 1980 Supreme Court decision upheld that this land is still illegally occupied and under the rightful sovereignty of the Lakota people.
  • South Dakota leads the nation in incarceration per capita
    • Although Natives make up 8.7 percent of South Dakota’s population, they are roughly half of those booked into jails in the state. 
    • According to data from the Vera Institute of Justice, Natives between the ages of 15 and 64 are incarcerated at 10 times the rate of white people in South Dakota. 
  • A 2014 Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice report found that Native Americans were the most likely racial group to be killed by law enforcement.

###

About NDN Collective

NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.

April 2022 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.

Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

NDN Collective Launches Community Engagement Survey for Distributing Nearly $50M to Native People in SD, ND, and MN Posted 5 months ago
“We have an ambitious goal of hearing from over 20,000 Native individuals situated in the tri-state area. Our voices and lived experiences matter - and so do our visions and dreams for an abundant future.”
Meet the Collective Abundance Fund Regional Advisory Committee Posted 5 months ago
The Regional Advisory Committee will be key to building the regenerative movement while supporting reciprocal relationships that are marked by collective learning, knowledge sharing and consideration of diverse insight as part of NDN Collective’s respective areas of work and commitment.
NDN Collective Announces “Community Action Fund” for Indigenous Frontline Organizers Posted 5 months ago
Grants up to $30,000 offered to support on the ground organizers and movement builders who stand on the frontlines to defend Indigenous Peoples inherent rights to self-determination and equity for all people and the planet.
NDN Collective Calls for Boycott of Rapid City Businesses with Racist Policies Posted 5 months ago
The goal for the ongoing boycott is to discourage community members from supporting businesses with racist policies & practices, and instead encourage them to use buying power to impact change by redirecting their dollars to businesses that stand in solidarity with Indigenous people.
NDN Collective Responds to DOI Announcement of Reformed Onshore Oil and Gas Lease Sales Posted 6 months ago
“We must carry this win forward to remain steadfast in our work to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, and we must also turn our attention to reforming offshore oil and gas leasing. It is clear that the Department of Interior has been paying attention to the need for making decarbonization more accessible to Native and Indigenous homes, communities, and Tribal Nations, and we need that accessibility to extend even further."
NDN Collective Announces Regional Advisory Committee to Guide Design of $50M Collective Abundance Fund Posted 6 months ago
Native community leaders and representatives from reservation and urban areas in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota selected to support the development of the Collective Abundance Fund from a $50M Bush Foundation award to NDN Collective to support closing the racial wealth gap.
NDN Collective Responds to SD Gov. Noem's Executive Order Restricting Critical Race Theory Posted 6 months ago
“Noem’s executive order is yet another move that tragically diminishes the capacity of our young people to see difficult historical truths with empathy. We need leadership whose actions ensure all of our youth will have enriching learning opportunities that prepare them for a transformative future."
NDN Collective Response to IPCC Report Pointing to Colonialism as Climate Change Driver Posted 6 months ago
The IPCC report acknowledging colonialism as a driver of climate change reinforces what Indigenous Peoples across the globe have been declaring for decades.
NDN Collective Releases Position Paper on Palestine Posted 6 months ago
"Today on Palestinian Land Day (يوم الأرض), we uplift the sacrifices that our people have made and continue to make so that we can fight for a liberated future and a dignified present. As Palestinians living in exile on Turtle Island, we have learned so much from our siblings in struggle and are grateful for their inspiring courage in the face of so much adversity."
'The Right OF Return Is LANDBACK'

By NDN Collective's LANDBACK Team

Posted 6 months ago
Today on Palestinian Land Day, we uplift the ongoing struggle of our Palestinian relatives for liberation of their homeland and full return for all Palestinian people. We reaffirm that our solidarity as people runs deep and is both historical and ongoing.

United like never before, we rise together—arm in arm—to equip all Indigenous Peoples with the tools needed to become architects of our future. Through a holistic approach to infrastructure, funding, advocacy, movement building, and philanthropy we are fostering a world of justice and equity for all people and the planet.