Native Sun News: Bernie Sanders stages rallies in Lakota country

Sen. Bernie Sanders stirs up the crowd at Rapid City’s Memorial Park. Photo by James Giago Davies

Sanders stages two rallies in Lakota country
By James Giago Davies
Native Sun News Correspondent

RAPID CITY –– Mother Nature provided the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign with perfect weather to stage their two Lakota country rallies last Thursday. The first rally drew an indoor crowd of 800 to the Pine Ridge high school gymnasium, and later that afternoon, a second rally beside the Memorial Park reflecting pond in Rapid City, drew over 2,000 supporters.

Security was tight at both venues, a combination of local law enforcement, secret service detail, and the Sanders campaign security staff. There were t-shirt and campaign button vendors lining both sides of Fifth Street. The only protesters were three young people with a Trump sign, across the street from the rally, and a peaceable protester ejected from the Rapid City rally for displaying an “Everybody Sucks 2016” sign.

Sanders spent much time on Lakota issues at the Pine Ridge rally, but he also gave them lots of attention at the Rapid City rally. Troy Heinert, a Sicangu Lakota politician, introduced Sanders to the enthusiastic crowd, and the Sanders speech wasted no time getting to Lakota concerns: “A great nation is judged on how we treat the least amongst us...and this campaign is listening to the Native American people. Wherever I go I try to talk to tribal leaders.”

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