The Rapid City Rush hockey team plays in Rapid City, South Dakota . Photo: Rapid City Rush

Police investigate treatment of Oglala youth at hockey game

Police in Rapid City, South Dakota, are investigating an incident in which children from the Oglala Sioux Tribe were subjected to racial slurs and mistreatment at a hockey game.

About 50 students from the American Horse School on the Pine Ridge Reservation went to the Rapid City Rush game on Saturday night as a reward for academic achievement. They left early after being taunted by a group of men who yelled racial remarks and even threw beer on students and staff members.

“They were getting drunk and around the third quarter they were talking crap to our kids and throwing down beer on some of them, including our staff and students … telling our students to go back to the rez," Justin Poor Bear, who attended the game with his son and as a chaperone, said on Facebook after the incident.

The men were occupying a VIP suite rented by Eagle Sales, a beer distributor in South Dakota. The company president apologized to the students, their parents and chaperones for the way they were treated. He blamed the incident on some of the company's guests and said his employees weren't involved.

The Rapid City Rush also apologized. "We take this very seriously especially since there were children involved. Under no circumstances do we condone the behavior of those instigating the encounter," the team said on Facebook.

The American Horse School said it will report the incident to federal authorities. In a statement, the school board said the actions of the men at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center "fits the descriptors of a federal hate crime."

Leaders of the Oglala Sioux Tribe are meeting with Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker and other city officials today to discuss the incident.

Get the Story:
Police Probing Reports Of Students Harassed At Game (KDLT 1/28)
Oglala Sioux Tribal Officials To Have "Closed Door" Meeting With Rapid City Mayor Today (KCSR 1/28)
Meeting Planned Over Racist Comments (KELO 1/28)
Student talks about racist comments at game (AP 1/28)
American Horse School Still Not Speaking On Racism Incident From Saturday Night (KCSR 1/28)
Racism Alleged At Rush Hockey Game (South Dakota Public Radio 1/26)
Bad behavior at Rush game targeted Native Americans (KOTA 1/26)
School group reports racial harassment at Rush game (KEVN 1/26)
Oglala Lakota Nation Outraged Over Racism Incident At Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Saturday Night (KCSR 1/26)

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