For Immediate Release: May 27, 2022
Rapid City, SD — Today, during a picket line event – which NDN Collective has been leading three times a week for the last six weeks – Connie Uhre, owner of the Grand Gateway Hotel, approached the boycotters and sprayed Sunny Red Bear, director of racial equity at NDN Collective, directly in the face with a cleaning product.
“This is what we mean when we say that white supremacy is violent,” said Sunny Red Bear, racial equity director at NDN Collective. “No matter how long they lie dormant, peoples’ racist worldviews eventually come out in their actions. Connie Uhre already made her view of Native people clear when she said she’d ban all of us from her business, and when her staff followed through on that ban. Those actions alone were violent. Now that we’ve seen that she was willing to commit a physical act of violence – in public and in broad daylight – I hope that people will begin to understand and believe us when we say how dangerous and REAL racism is.”
“Connie Uhre’s behavior today was not only racist, violent and disgusting – it was also illegal. As Native people we will not sit on the sidelines while our rights are violated,” said Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and CEO. “This incident will be added to the federal civil rights lawsuit that was filed in March. We now call upon the Department of Justice to intervene and hold Connie Uhre and the Grand Gateway Hotel accountable for these racist and illegal acts against our people. It requires aggressive action to dismantle white supremacy. Everybody in this community should be outraged.”
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.