Letters Letter helps deal with racial assault

To the editor:

Living in Vermillion the past 15 months, I can count the number of times I have been racially assaulted. Knowing that it is not right as "Americans," it continues to be taught.

I write my letter as a way of dealing with this issue. I tried to revise the letter, but it wouldn't give an accurate account if I did.

Thinking about the best way to update a Web page, I stand in a grocery line waiting to pay for my purchases. I watch the guy ahead of me buy eight huge sacks of ice. Of course, it's Dakota Days and a lot of celebrating in Vermillion. I wonder where he plans to put all this ice: in coolers, in the tub, where? Then I overhear from behind, "?she's from a different country?" and a bit curious, I look around trying to pinpoint the person they are talking about. To my amazement, this person was talking about me.

True, I am not fair skinned as the majority race; but my features do not mold me into a foreigner. As this comment registers, I look at the person and reply "Excuse me?" and with a toothless grin, he looks away. Not knowing why comments are being made about me, I continue to look ahead.

As the guy in front of me leaves and I move forward, this person behind me says, "she doesn't understand we speak a different language here" and I was totally taken aback. I felt as if I had green skin and huge eyes bulging from the top of my head! Luckily, I did not have my son with me to hear such expletives. They seem harmless and nothing to be concerned about but when comments like those are made to anyone, a person is hit with a variety of feelings.

My first instinct was to reciprocate the abuse he had bestowed upon me but in a more physical way. However, my rationale took over and I decided to leave him be. How would it look if I stood there and berated this man in the same manner?

As time has dictated over minority races, I walked away. Knowing that I was giving in to racial oppression, I thought about the countless individuals that have been subjected to these acts since the first settlers appeared. I too have witnessed these acts in smaller towns in this same state. However, I never did anything about it.

It wasn't until I reached home and thought about the incident that I felt so terribly angry. For the past month, people have tried to figure out the reasoning of the recent terrorist attacks on Washington and New York City. Yet we tend to forget those in our own society who hate other people and we try to figure out how we can eradicate ignorance.

I don't feel these emotions very often as I try to look at everything objectively; but the anger and frustration hit me like an anvil. I wasn't prepared to face such silent attacks. True to my previous form, I was quietly going to sink into myself. But I knew if I had done so, I would become more victimized as time passed. As a step in achieving self-respect for having the courage to bring it up, I write this letter.

I pray that this kind of behavior wouldn't continue with our younger generations but it has. Although youth don't really know the values they are being taught, I hope that this letter can bring some recognition of the problems in this community.

Obviously there are some people who do not know that we Native Americans were the first "Americans." As a way to vindicate myself, I am extremely proud to mention that I am a Sicangu Lakota of the Rosebud Sioux Nation. My ancestors have lived upon this continent longer than any other race. I do not hate people for the color of their skin nor their flaws, but I do hate the behaviors of people who do. Pilamayaye (thank you).


Kusiya Inajin Win

a.k.a Janice Eagle Hawk

Vermillion is caring community

To the editor:

A big vote of thanks to the Vermillion community for supporting the Bike-a-Thon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. A total of $3,000 has now been accomplished.

It was a wonderful sight to see 35 riders, adults and children take off from Jolley School and ride to Burbank for a good cause.

Little Emily Hult, 5 years old, now afflicted with cancer, sat on her bike dressed for the ride. The ride was done in memory of all children who have had cancer and are now fully recovered.

Paige Anthony roller-bladed all the way to Burbank. Dennis Kotschevar walked the distance followed by avid bike riders. The youngest rider was Gerald Ensminger, riding with his dad, and the oldest rider was Dr. Dendinger. Sarah Rasmussen was the first biker to return from Burbank.

Carman Garcia collected $401 and was the winner of the bike donated by Tru Valu and The Index. Appreciation to the Plain Talk, the Broadcaster, and Community First, CorTrust, First National and First Dakota banks for their generous donation of bonds and silver minted coins.

Several businesses made generous donations of food and pop for the riders. Thanks to the police department and the county sheriff for making the ride a safe one for all who took part.

St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, which was founded by the late entertainer, Danny Thomas, treats approximately 200 patients every day, mostly on an out-patient basis. Research findings and information discovered at St. Jude are freely shared with doctors and scientists all over the world.

Vermillion, thank you! You are a giving and caring community.

Mary Geffre Johnson


Coordinator 2001


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