[News] Four Arrested after NDN LANDBACK Campaign Mounts Upside-Down Flag From 100-Ft Grain Silo

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jul 5 13:53:55 EDT 2021


  Four Arrested after NDN LANDBACK Campaign Mounts Upside-Down Flag From
  100-Ft Grain Silo

July 5, 2021

    for immediate release: July 4, 2021

*Rapid City, SD — *Today, Indigenous climbers representing 10 different 
Nations from Turtle Island and Palestine were arrested for confronting 
the legacy of white supremacy that is commemorated every 4th of July. 
Climbers ascended the 100-ft Dakota Mills Grain silo situated on Lakota 
lands in downtown Rapid City and mounted an upside down American flag 
with “LANDBACK” written prominantly across it.

Photo Courtesy of NDN Collective.

_LANDBACK Campaign_ team released the following statement: 

“An upside-down flag represents being in distress and is a prominent 
symbol across Indian Country; we have just celebrated the Battle of 
Little Bighorn, and at that battle the three sister nations of the 
Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho defeated General Custer and the 7th 
Calvary. In that battle, they claimed the American flag from the 
defeated US army. That flag belongs to us. Today, we refute the dominant 
narrative that the American flag represents a legacy of freedom, 
democracy, and equality.

“This day is nothing to celebrate for the Indigenous Peoples here, or 
anywhere else the United States has consumed through imperialism. 
LANDBACK is not a metaphor; it is our present reality and our future 
struggle. There is no repair or justice until Indigenous Peoples reclaim 
our land. This place, the Black Hills, represents the entire cycle of 
life and deserves nothing less than Return.

“Today, we stand with our people, who are in distress, to speak the 
truth of what the 4th of July means in Mniluzahan, or so-called ‘Rapid 
City.’ The self-declared “City of Presidents” honors the legacy of past 
United States leadership on one hand, while brutalizing the original 
peoples and caretakers of the land on the other.

“Last year, on July 3rd, we saw Indigenous peoples brutalized and 
arrested by police atop our own sacred site and treaty lands, the Black 
Hills. 21 people were arrested, including NDN Collective’s President and 
CEO, Nick Tilsen, who is Oglala Lakota. Tilsen is still fighting the 
extreme charges 
filed against him over a year ago, having recently filed a motion to 
dismiss the charges based on prosecutorial misconduct and constitutional 
rights violations.

Photo Courtesy of NDN Collective.

“However, we know that the system that continues to legally persecute 
Tilsen and others demanding justice and LANDBACK for Indigenous peoples 
is fundamentally unjust.

“This legacy of white supremacy is commemorated every 4th of July and is 
built from the same tenants of colonial violence that carry out the 
brutalization, repression, and unjust incarceration of our relatives in 
Mniluzahan and beyond. The same colonial violence is why we are 
currently unearthing hundreds and thousands of our children at boarding 
schools both in the so-called United States and in so-called Canada, 
which is why orange armbands are worn in remembrance. We contend that 
this American system, the Rapid City Police Department, and its 
supporters are the perpetrators of this structure of violence and it is 
for this reason that we aim to bring a different narrative to the 
forefront today.

“Our demands go beyond recognition that Mt. Rushmore, as an effigy to 
white supremacy created by a Kloncilium member — the decision-making 
body within the KKK — is desecrating our sacred place. We demand the 
dismantling of injustice and reparations for historic and ongoing 
violence. We demand the Return of the Black Hills, dignity and haven for 
our unsheltered relatives, justice for our people who are brutalized by 
police and routinely incarcerated, and justice for our Missing and 
Murdered Indigenous Peoples. We demand reparations for our Black 
relatives whose ancestors were ___ through chattel slavery and who are 
persecuted by the American system today.

“LANDBACK is not a metaphor, it is our present reality and our future 
struggle. There is no repair or justice until Indigenous peoples reclaim 
our land. The Black Hills are not just a sacred place because it’s a 
significant cultural site, it’s a sacred place because it gives life and 
what is life-giving is sacred. We used to drink clean water here, 
harvested our medicines here, fell in love here, got married here, gave 
birth here, mourned our loved ones here. This place, the Black Hills, 
represents the entire cycle of life and deserves nothing less than Return.”

    To Donate Legal fees for Arestees, VISiT NDNLEGALFUND.ORG


*Climber Quotes: *

“I came here today to support and be of service to my community and 
relatives here and around the world. We must bring LANDBACK to the 
forefront, shout it out loud and claim it publicly so that we can unmask 
the reality that we are living across Turtle Island, something that so 
many people choose not to pay attention to. I want everyone to engage in 
what it means to demand a different reality, to undo the legacy of 
US hegemony” – *Tytianna Harris, climber*

“We are done with the false narratives and erasure of our very 
existence. On this day, we demand an acknowledgement of the origins and 
foundation of this co called country…genocide, slavery and stolen land. 
There is no repair, justice or liberation without Indigenous LANDBACK. 
Let today be a notice, that we will not stop until we reclaim our 
rightful relationship to the land. The Black Hills gives life. Anyting 
that gives and sustains life, is sacred. We must do everything within 
our power to protect all that we hold sacred.

“LANDBACK is a movement that belongs to the People. As a caretaker & 
protector of the Black Hills, I call on all the Indigneous Peoples of 
the world who have been forcefully removed from their lands – at the 
hands of militarism, imperialism, capitalism & corportarism – to stand 
and join the struggle to get our LANDBACK!” – *Krystal Two Bulls 
(Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota), NDN Collective’s LANDBACK Campaign 
Director. *

“This action marks a notch in the paradigm shift, one that has a long 
lineage, to highlight ongoing colonial violence and militarism to 
material demands tied to liberation. As the US continues to fund 
displacement and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, we highlight that the 
first frontier of the fight against US imperialism was and is here on 
Turtle Island. The fight for justice and LANDBACK is alive and well and 
it is growing. LANDBACK is the root of justice for what must come and it 
is the start of our collective demands. From Hawai’i, to Puerto Rico, to 
Guam, to the Black Hills, return all US-occupied lands and stop the 
US war machine abroad”- *Nadya Tannous, NDN Collective’s LANDBACK 
Campaign Organizer*

“Return Indigenous lands to Indigenous hands. Dismantle the systems that 
took our land in the first place. Because of these systems, Indigenous 
people are 10X more likely to be incarcerated than any white person in 
the state of South Dakota.  Indigenous people make up 9% of the 
population in the state, and somehow represent 51% of all incarcerated 
people in the state. This is ground zero for over-incarceration for 
Indigenous people. This is why here and why now, to create a different 

“I am here for Indigenous youth. The ones forcibly taken from our people 
in the name of the American flag, forced into boarding schools by the 
American flag, the ones secretly buried under the flag, the ones that 
are just now being found. I’m grateful for the ones like my maternal 
grandparents who survived these atrocities…

“I’m doing this for the Indigenous youth of today, we love you, we’re 
here for you. We’re here to push against white supremacy & racism… to 
protect you until you are ready to lead. I’m here as a son of the 
Alcatraz Occupation like many of the relatives here who are the 
descendants of Wounded Knee. I’m here to pass that on to our youth like 
my aunt and mother who stood for us before we were born.

“I do not celebrate this flag. I recognize it as the flag of our 
people’s murderers, as the flag of the enslavers, the thieves who stole 
our lands, the liars who wrote these horrors out of their history 
books.” *-Martin Aranaydo (Tohono O’Odham, Akimel O’Odham, 
MVSKOKE, Pilipino), Climber.*


/_NDN Collective_/ <https://ndncollective.org/>/ is an Indigenous-led 
organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, 
activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative 
change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms./
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