September 22, 2012

Parent calls Chippewa girls "thieves"

Racially-Charged Incident at Middle School Volleyball Tournament in Minot, ND: Turtle Mountain Chippewa Parents and Community Want Answers

By Ruth HopkinsFarrah Reopelle is the mother of Rylan Reopelle, a 13 year old girl who is part of the Turtle Mountain Community Middle School volleyball team. She spoke with Lastrealindians about the events in question. The Reopelles are Native American and live on the reservation in Belcourt, ND.

“I went to go watch my daughter's games and when I got there they were halfway finished with the first game. Once the game was over, the team came and sat in my area of the gym where their personal belongings were as well. As I sat there visiting with my daughter about her game, some girls came over to the coach and told her that a white iPod was stolen from one of the locker rooms. When the girls were leaving, they noticed one of our girls from the Belcourt team with a white iPod and immediately put the blame on her. About five minutes later a police officer and the director of the tournament came up to the coach and young girl, demanding that she give up the white iPod.”

Ms. Reopelle continues: “After the police officer inspected the iPod, he then went onto search a few of the [other] girls’ bags, continuing his search for the missing iPod. No other team was approached with this nor were any other teams’ bags inspected or searched, only Belcourt's. When the police officer was done searching the bags he left with the director of the tournament. Also, the police officer did not have the common courtesy to pull the coach aside and search bags in a separate room besides the gymnasium where a lot of other people were. It was actually pretty humiliating to witness.”

After these events, the girls on the Belcourt team were then expected to play in a game in another gym on the same campus. They lost that game. Farrah says her daughter came to her in tears afterward.

“My daughter was balling and so upset she could hardly even get the words out to speak. She said one parent from another team had come up to her and called her a "f***ing thief" and that the team members were nothing but "f***ing thieves." My sister grabbed Rylan and brought her out to the commons area to point out the parent that said this but she was nowhere in sight. We told the coach what had happened, so the coach gathered all the girls to bring them outside to wait for the bus. Upon waiting, that same parent came walking up to enter the school and started talking all kinds of filth. Saying things like, "You're all ***ing thieves," "go back to where you came from," and "we don't owe you anything," calling out my sister, and flipping us off. At this point I was on my phone trying to find the number to the police department in Minot and called dispatch. While speaking to dispatch, some of the girls from the Mandan team had come outside and were throwing grapes at myself, while I was completely oblivious as I was furious and on the phone with dispatch.”
Comment:  Assuming and declaring that Indians are thieves is stereotypical, of course. It's a variant of the savage and uncivilized Indian stereotypes.

For more racist incidents, see Poster Compares Abortion to Genocide and Legion "Joke" About Murdering Indians.

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