About six months ago we became aware of an annual performance that takes place in Lusk, WY (a small town about 2 hours southeast of Pine Ridge). In this performance the actors dress in regalia and red-face and "re-enact" an event they claim took place during the overland migrations of the mid-nineteenth century. This Harper's article details the annual production. Since discovering this article we have had conversations with our Lakota friends on Pine Ridge and have come to learn that many do not feel safe going through the Town of Lusk- their stories are heartbreaking but all too familiar their voices join a chorus from other People of Color across this nation.
We have met with the planning committee of the event called the "Legends of Rawhide", in a meeting attended by two Gen7 Youth Ambassadors and two adult Tribal members, and have since had conversations with the Lusk Mayor, the Anti-Defamation League and members of the American Indian Movement. We are exploring a strategy with these partners to engage in constructive and meaningful dialogue with the community of Lusk over the coming months and years. We hope that by sharing the Lakota perspective, factual historical context and facilitating courageous conversations and vulnerable conversations, the possibility for compassion and understanding can evolve and our friends from the Native American community can feel safe driving through the town of Lusk – or maybe even gain allies and friends in the process.
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