March against Racism in Sisseton, SD

By Sister Patrice Colletti, SDS

Sister Patrice serves the Wahpeton Oyate who live on the Lake Traverse Reservation.

There were no marches against racism in Sisseton, South Dakota, though it’s certainly not due to a lack of racism.

I got a bit excited, in a positive way, when a colleague from my school said “Did you hear about the big march down Main Street on Tuesday?”  I immediately wished I was “plugged in” to what’s happening so I could have lent my support.

But, it turns out that what she wanted to talk about was how frightened one of the store owners renting on Main Street was that her store would be ransacked… by “those people.” You know… the ones on whose homeland the town is built…. who make up more than 70% of the population but who have one (as in 1) seat on City Council and one (yes, just one) seat on the Board of the Public Education System. Oh, and who own zero (as in none) of the stores/storefronts on our main drag and who are zero percent of the police force for Sisseton.

Yeah, systemic racism is alive and well here… but you already knew that as one of the challenges of our (Salvatorians) being here, “at the margins.”

Here are a couple of really good articles for we who are in the privileged world of Whiteness but who would like to be anti-racists and allies:

1) For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies, C. Ariel

2) How Not to Appropriate: A Guide for White People, C. Ariel

3) And for any who are into audio learning, Twelve Podcasts that Can Help Us Learn About Race and Racism in America

I hope you take a few minutes to read these…. maybe after the evening news brings marches and riots and voices desperate for structural and systemic change into your living room.

We can… we must… learn to see and understand in new ways.

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