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Lawsuit another sign of rocky Indian-white relations

A lawsuit accusing a public school district in South Dakota of discriminating against Indian students isn't the first, and probably won't be the last, racial conflict in the state.

In 1999, a developmentally disabled Indian man died after being stuffed in a trash can by some white teens. In 2001, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe's girls basketball team was chased by white teens with a shotgun. In 2002, long-running tensions between Indians and non-Indians prompted Indians to become more active in local elections.

"If you are white, this is a nice, friendly, generally kind state," Jennifer Ring, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Dakotas, told The Sioux Falls Argus Leader. "If you are Indian, it's a day, after day, after day experience of humiliation, segregation and indifference."

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of 14 Indian families who say the Winner school district treats Indian students unfairly. A similar lawsuit filed in 1997 led to changes in the district but Indian parents say their kids are victimized at school.

Get the Story:
Towns tied by race (The Sioux Falls Argus Leader 7/17)

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Tribe, ACLU accuse school district of discrimination (6/24)
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