Students from the American Horse School were called racist names, had beer poured on them, and were told to “get their a–es back to the reservation.” The incident occurred at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.
The American Horse School is on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Lakota Nation, an hour and a half away from the sports venue. By all accounts the children were excited to see a major league hockey event and escape the drab surroundings of reservation life; instead they received a lesson in hatred. The venue has apologized to the school and the group of children. One of the parents, Justin Poor Bear, stated on his Facebook page “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 [reservation].”
Eventually the students left out of fear for their safety and Rushmore Plaza Civic Center executive director Craig Blazer said it was the first incident of this type of behavior in the five years the kids have been invited to games.
The owners of the skybox, Eagle Sales, a South Dakota-based beer distributor, released a statement earlier this week. “I would like to formally apologize to the students of American Horse School who worked so hard to get the opportunity to attend a Rush game, and to their parents and chaperones for the incident that occurred Saturday night. My company, Eagle Sales of the Black Hills, is investigating the situation and taking appropriate action,” stated company president Tom Holland.
The police have identified the perpetrators involved in the incident and have charged them with 57 counts of child abuse and assault. The names of the perpetrators have not been released by law enforcement authorities.