Letter: Honoring Larry Casuse, Navajo activist shot by police

"In 1973, there were two events that transpired that changed the course our recent history; the Siege of Wounded Knee, South Dakota and the slaying of a young Dine’ (Navajo) warrior named Larry Casuse, co-founder of Indians Against Exploitation, in Gallup, New Mexico.

In Gallup, there is the unholy trinity that still exists after the tragic events 40 years ago. The liquor establishment (that Larry fought against), “law enforcement” and the court system that are still in denial while our Dine’ people continue to suffer and die from alcohol. Gallup has 23 liquor licenses over the legal state limit.

At a former sporting goods store, the life of Larry Casuse was needlessly taken before his time in a shoot-out; Larry took the initiative to walk the then-mayor Emmett Garcia, who also owned a bar near the Navajo reservation, through the streets of Gallup to show him the aftermath of the sales of alcohol. The event was called a “kidnapping” by the media which failed to add that Garcia was a real part of the problem as well.

After killing Larry his lifeless body was dragged onto the sidewalk so police officers could have their picture taken of him as if he were a trophy kill. Most likely, the picture still hangs on the wall of the Gallup Fraternal Order of Police as a sick trophy reminder."

Get the Story:
Mervyn Tilden: Racism exists because we allow it and it will continue if we do not draw the line (The Navajo Post 2/14)

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