Rapid City Journal
October 3, 2004
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark may have been welcomed by Indian tribes in this area 200 years ago, but those commemorating their journey face protests.
American Indian protesters plan to target the “signature event” scheduled in Bismarck on Oct. 22 in memory of the Lewis and Clark expedition in North Dakota.
“To us, it’s no reason to celebrate,” Deb White Plume, who lives on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, said.
Victorio Camp, also from the Pine Ridge reservation, said the protesters planning to be at the Lewis and Clark event in Bismarck from Oct. 22 to Oct. 31 are the same group that protested at Lewis and Clark events in Chamberlain and in Fort Pierre, S.D. He said they plan to protest as bicentennial events continue to Oregon.
“The organizers are welcoming anybody who has a story to tell as long as there isn’t any violence,” North Dakota tourism director Sara Otte Coleman said.
The protests are being organized by a youth group called Owe Aku, which means “bring back the way” of spirituality, language and values, Camp said. They say Lewis and Clark gave President Thomas Jefferson a blueprint for invading and stealing their land and paved the way for missionaries, settlers and pioneers.
In Chamberlain, those portraying the explorers in a re-enactment of the expedition said the protesters threatened them and damaged their boats.
The Bismarck events will focus on the warm welcome Lewis and Clark received from Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Indians during the winter of 1804-05 under the theme “Circle of Cultures.”