Showing posts from September, 2020

Public Inquest Is a Must! We Shall Persist

  In answer to the question at our Zoom event yesterday, “Why was Andy Antelope killed?” the answer was a resounding agreement with his son Anderson Antelope, Jr., who said, “It comes down to racism.” As to what we need to do now, we heard “An inquest is absolutely a necessity.”   The Saturday event was in follow-up to Monday’s Memorial Walk for the one-year anniversary in remembrance of Andy Antelope being shot in the head while being held by a Riverton police officer at the Riverton Walmart on September 21, 2019. The County Attorney, Patrick LeBrun, determined that the killing was in self-defense and refused to cooperate with the County Coroner’s request for an inquest.   Quotes from Saturday’s Zoom Event:   “What I know about alcoholics is that you have to have a plan of how you are going to deal with their resistance…I ask myself, why only one officer responded to the call from Walmart.” -            Larry Wallace, a nurse who had known Andy Antelope when Andy had been in a treatme

Provocative, Yes; Blasphemy, No

After notices about our online event for this Saturday, I received feedback about the topic being called  Andy Antelope Died for Our Sins.   The topic was named by the Justice Pod that includes two white Christian pastors, myself and others, some of whom are people of color. We intentionally said  “our” sins , meaning systemic racism which results in police killings of people of color at a three times higher rate than of white people. It takes into account that we are in the midst of movements to address racism and we must speak up strongly while people may be more likely to listen. “Our” was not intended to include people of color, but white people who have an obligation to right the wrongs that have given us privilege to the detriment of people of color.   Feedback included a statement that the title was provocative. My response to that is,  yes, it is . With it now being a year since Andy Antelope was killed with no answers and no justice, I believe we must be provocative to increas

Pity or Change - A Quest for Justice for Andy

This past week. a Northern Arapaho and a recipient of my weekly blogs wrote, “It will be interesting to see if the Andy (Antelope) events are about pity or change. If pity, no response. If change, it must be strong.” In a conversation regarding the turnout in Lander for the Black Lives Matter event after the police killing of George Floyd, a woman who had been there who lives in Fort Washakie wondered if the turnout would have been as large had the victim been a Native American. I also wonder. I know that the candlelight vigil at City Hall for Anderson “Andy” Antelope after he was killed at the Riverton Walmart by a city police officer last September was attended by only a few. I believe I was the only white person there except for a spouse of one of the family members. Native American youth were there asking, “Will I be next?”   No one has a video of the shooting of Andy Antelope, and the word from city officials to community leaders was that it was in self-defense. Many held off mak

Federal Ban on Anti-Racism Training Affects Us

Today my writing is dedicated to my friend, Lillian Zuniga. Lillian is currently the manager of the Health Equity Office of the Wyoming Department of Health. The office is primarily funded with federal dollars. She has been in that position for many years where I personally along with my peers across the state have benefited from training, data and tools provided for addressing health inequities that face people in Wyoming. We now know that social factors and the environment have much more to do with our health than personal behavior. That lesson was visited during our session on August 29 th  when we met to discuss COVID-19 and community healing. Native Americans in Wyoming have been at a much higher risk of death from COVID-19, not because of their behavior, but because racism is a major determinant of health. On Friday,the White House Office of Management and Budget announced that it has ordered federal agencies to cease from using taxpayer dollars to fund what President Trump c