Report from Great Plains Visit to Pine Ridge and Participation in Vern Traversie Protest
This past weekend, Deep Green Resistance Great Plains (and Alex from Deep Green Resistance Colorado) went to Pine Ridge to meet with our Lakota allies there about the upcoming action in Whiteclay, NE and to participate in and support a March for Justice for Vern Traversie.
Saturday afternoon we hosted a showing of End:Civ at the library in Rapid City. About 20 people attended, many of them friends from Pine Ridge. After the screening, we had a discussion about the film and the need for unity and resistance. All were in agreement that we need to work together to make the resistance movement in the Great Plains stronger so that we can start to win.
The next morning, we drove the remaining couple of hours down to Pine Ridge, where we met with allies and members of AIM. We were invited to a meeting about the March for Vern Traversy, where we were asked to help be a part of the march security team.
Vern Traversie is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and was at Rapid City Regional Hospital several months ago for heart surgery. While he was unconscious, the letters “KKK” were carved into his stomach. In the words of Dennis Banks, who marched with us and spoke at the rally, this is at Regional Hospital. The march was a call, a demand, for justice and an end to racism in Rapid City and Regional Hospital.
The next day, we awoke and joined our allies in Pine Ridge, where a caravan assembled before leaving for Rapid City and the March for Vern. We stopped outside of Rapid City for a ceremony and to rendezvous with others who joined the caravan. There were more than 20 cars, honking horns and waving AIM flags out the windows as we drove through Rapid City, drawing as much attention as we could to ourselves and the fact that racism and crimes like that against Vern would not go unanswered.
After a short rally at Memorial Park, about 700 of us marched 3 miles to Rapid City Regional Hospital, where many people got a chance to speak out about racism and their own experiences. After the march, we said goodbye to our friends (and some new ones) and drove back to Jefferson.
It was a great trip, both fun as well as being a productive and meaningful time spent with our allies, building relationships and supporting on going work. We look forward to having more people with us for the action in June, and to seeing our comrades in Pine Ridge again soon.