When I read the New York Times headline: “South Dakota Tribes Speak Against ‘Riot-Boosting’ Penalties” (Feb. 12) my native Dakotan ears perked up. Gov. Kristi Noem argues that the proposed revised “riot-boosting” law is “designed to protect people’s rights to protest peacefully” and that it has nothing to do with demonstrations by South Dakota’s Native Americans against the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline across their lands.

Under terms of the proposed “Riot-Boosting” law, gatherings of three or more people judged to be “incitement to riot” would be illegal and participants would be fined. Does the Gov. have available a select panel of theologians, philosophers and legislators to preemptively determine the intent of the three or more who gather to protest or support or celebrate an action?

This rhetoric to intimidate and penalize citizens who gather to express their beliefs evokes echoes of another painful period in South Dakota history when the U.S. Army fired on Ghost Dancers of Wounded Knee in 1890 and killed 150 Native Americans.

There are many chapters in history when governments tried to suppress citizen gatherings to protest or demonstrate for a cause. King George III banned New England town meetings that weren’t approved by the royal governor. The smash hit “Hamilton” captures the moment:

“You’ll remember that I served you well

Oceans rise, empires fall

We have seen each other through it all

And when push comes to shove,

I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

One of the most consequential applications of “a riot boosting law” happened in Dublin, Ireland in 1843. The gathering planned by Daniel O’Connell to agitate for Repeal of the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland [which dissolved Ireland’s parliament] was banned by Robert Peel, Prime Minister of Britain, the architect of the punitive policy for Irish famine relief.

Derrick Marks of the Yankton Sioux Tribe cuts through the governor’s circuitous rhetoric with his question: “It could be me raising my fist. Is that considered riot boosting? Is that considered violence?” Daniel O’Connell would applaud the question.


(18) comments

Red Cloud

🏹I believe South Dakota’s immigrants have a line in their holy book that will serve well as the motto for the Undercover ‘Riot-Busting’ Police who will carry out Noem’s suppression of South Dakota’s Native Americans.

🏹“For where two or three gather, there am I with them.”


God, in his infinite wisdom, gave this land to Christians. It’s through His Generous Love that the Native Americans can live among us.

Is it too much to ask that they be grateful for His Merciful Forbearance?


Them live among us? This is one counrty not 2. We all live togather dont we? Untill people accept that there is always going to be an "US" and "THEM" situation.


It seems the people that resist a law the most are the ones most likly to be the ones breaking it. I realy dont think the vast majority of people have no problem with a "rioting law". When people can gather in a civilized way and not destoy others property to express there view they should not have any issues. But if they gather in such a way as the riots and looting in North Dakota a few years back, then we have problems. If I remember correctly the people rioting the pipeline in North Dakota left a huge enviromental mess, tresspassed on private property, blocked public rite of way, stole and ate private livestock murdered people and created a huge finacal burder for local and state agencys. Then walk away and not be heald accountable for any of there actions.They were upset about what could happen if there was a problem with the pipelin, but the enviromental disaster they left in there wake was not a very good example of how they live and beleve. I guess if this is what people feel as acceptable, then they seem to be the ones most likely to break a law. If to be considered a "native" of a country you need to be born there, correct? Well my skin isnt tan, but my family came here in 1849 so many of my family have been born and died here, that makes me just as much a "native" as the people "rioting" about the past history in which we do not live anymore. So incnclusen laws are envolked to protedt and serve the majority of the people, not the few trouble makers.


I'm sure you wholeheartedly support my next statement. I look forward to the inciters of violence protesting outside abortion clinics being held to account. It's time the pro-lifers stop with the death threats and destruction of the clinic's property.


You are so rite. I am pro life. That is not the way to get things resolved.


LOL! Ironic that a person with the screen-name of Ar223 considers him/herself prolife. Ahahahahahaha!


Becouse I enjoy fire arms and shooting that makes me a bad person and I cant be pro life if I like those things?


Your gave yourself a screenname based on a weapon that has no utility except to rip a human's organs to shreds. Yeah, buddy. You're pro-life alright.


So if I had used 30-06 or 1911 I wouldnt be a killer? Both were designed for "ripping a humans organs to shreds" and I own both of these also. One can be used for home defence and the othere is a very popular hunting caliber. You have a vast insite to firearms ? Again your point is?


Simple. An AR223 is a weapon for war and there is no reason civilians need them for hunting or self defense.

Larry Skow

Here goes the gift of maga again spouting off how fortunate someone is to live in his land of christen believes. If you fallow history you will find the native americans were here first. Christen churchs of all flavors were brutal to them. Was that any way for christens to act? But at least it wasn't burn in h#@l again. You seem to pipe up about everything but wont answer my two questions put to you. If so good an believe so hard in things I will pay your airfare into any where in the middle east so you can make peace there. Take your bible an walk around there. Feel free to write a letter an answer the two simple questions.


So what is your problem? You a fence hopper? I was born and rasied here just like my dad, grand father, and great grand father. That makes me just as much a native of this counrty as anyone else. I dont beleve in abortion at any time! Becouse I dont that makes me a target fro people such as your self?


The Springfeild 30-06 and Remington 1911 were devolped for war. So your point seems to be that becouse Colt developed the M16 for the Vietnam era that it was the only wpeon designed for killing people. You realy need to be more educated on firearms. When will you come to relize that guns dont kill people only people kill people who may use a gun. You solution must be to take all the guns from people and live in a safer place. We have a much worse problem with people killing others by using a simple cell phone. Distracted driving hurts or kills more people than guns. Lets throw Illegal drugs in there to. A form of meth was developed in the 50's and 60's and given to piolts to stay awake on long missions. So your comments on the AR223 as being only designed for war to kill people should be reconsidered as its is not the only thing to cross over from the military world and make a presance in the civilion world.


I will keep this in mind and know that you are staunchly Pro-life the next time some lunatic shoots up a school or Walmart.


You sure can. Just wait till we start getting bombings. You will never see or hear it comming. Just boom and 100 people are dead or injured. It happened once in Oaklahoma City. But atleast it wasnt a crazy with a gun, that would be terrable, someone might get killed by a wepond only designed for war. Bombs were never designed for something like that. Oh, by the way, how many abortion clinics have been bombed or fire bombed verses shot up by guns? You should be able to awnser that for me as you seem to be well informed of such violent issues.


I don't recall advocating for bombings...


If you look at areas were there is no public ownership of firearms the next thing of choice is a bomb. It would seem that is want would happen if we took all weponds of war away, my .223, as to what might happen at your abortion clinics.

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