Justice for Hate Crime against Lakota Sioux Elder Vernon Traversie!
  • Petitioned Eric H. Holder, Jr

This petition was delivered to:

Attorney General of the United States
Eric H. Holder, Jr
South Dakota State Attorney General
Marty J Jackley

Justice for Hate Crime against Lakota Sioux Elder Vernon Traversie!

    1. Azie Dungey
    2. Petition by

      Azie Dungey

      Washington, DC

Vernon Traversie, a member and resident of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota came home from a 14-day stay in the hospital to find he had been horribly mutilated. Three Ks can be easily seen carved or burned into his abdomen in the shocking photograph taken the day after he came home.

The victim is age 68 and completely blind. Vernon Traversie's nightmare began when he had a heart attack while at the Heart Doctors office in Rapid City last August. He was immediately sent a few blocks away to Rapid City Regional Hospital for emergency surgery. Being blind, Traversie didn’t even know what was done to him until a RCRH employee came into his room and advised him to have pictures taken of his chest and abdomen as soon as he got home. She said she could not testify on his behalf, but that her conscience got the best of her and she did not agree with what had been done to him.

The tribal police, FBI, and Traversie’s pastor all have photographs of the suspicious wounds.

Traversie is a Lakota elder, who may have been the victim of a vicious hate crime, and his case deserves investigation. Nothing is being done on his behalf by law enforcement. Traversie had retained a lawyer and waited seven months for his Rapid City attorney to take action on his behalf. He posted a video on youtube because his attorney took no action besides initial contact with hospital authorities, and had told him not to speak about his case. The lawyer has done nothing further on Traversie's behalf. Traversie has since ended his contract with said attorney and tribal officials are working to find someone to take his case.

Please sign this petition on behalf of Vernon Traversie. American Indian elders should be protected against this kinda of vicious abuse. We ask that the State Attorney General of South Dakota, Marty Jackley, investigate the hate crime against Vernon Traversie. We want racism and hate crimes against our American Indian community to end.

For more information:
http://www.facebook.com/JusticeForVern
http://www.lastrealindians.com/2012/04/25/lakota-man-accuses-hospital-of-healthcare-hate-crime/

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      Here is the latest update on Vern Traversie's situation. Chase Iron Eyes, a lawyer for Vern Traversie, filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in South Dakota against Rapid City Regional Hospital, its board of directors, physicians and TRS Surg Assist Inc. The lawsuit alleges a civil rights violation and it seeks a jury trial and damages.

      Also, in early June, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley met with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council and community members. He took testimony from anyone with information pertaining to the case, as well as other complaints about RC Regional Hospital and their treatment of Native patients. He assured the Council and attendees that an investigation is underway. Jackley has said that his office would release information in the “near future” about its investigation.

      Be reminded that 9,440 petitions, including yours, have gone to SD Attorney General Marty Jackley. These small steps are big victories toward justice for Vern!

    2. Rapid City Has a KKK Problem

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      In this very thorough article, Vern's Pastor, Reverend Ben Farrar of First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte comes forward to tell his story. Rev. Farrar visited Vern several times when he was in hospital, and listened to his many accounts of suspicious behavior and abuse at the hands of a male nurse. He also viewed his scars directly after Vern's return for Rapid City Regional Hospital.

    3. Reached 9,000 signatures
    4. Hundreds march peacefully down Fifth Street to Rapid City Regional Hospital

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      Here is an article for local news station KOTA -ABC News about yesterday's Justice for Vern Rally and March. Included in the article is the full statement from Tim Sughrue, CEO of Rapid City Regional Hospital. Leaders of the March were very please with the estimated 1500 turnout of peaceful protestors. More pictures and articles will be posted here shortly.

    5. Reached 8,000 signatures
    6. Yakama Nation Statement Against the 'KKK" Hate Crime Upon a Lakota Elder

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      The Yakama Nation (Washington State) has released a statement pledging solidarity in the fight for justice for Vern Traversie. Here is a quote from the statement:

      "We urge the United States Department of Justice and the South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office to immediately cause an investigation of this hate crime. Anything less would be a violation of the trust responsibility that the United States owes to Mr. Traversie...

      We urge Indian country to stand with us in strong, outspoken support of Mr. Traversie. Anything less would leave all Native Americans susceptible to the same sort of violent racism that has been committed upon our Lakota Brother."
      Harry Smiskin, Chairman of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation

      We are honored and thankful that the Yakama Nation is standing with us, and speaking out for Vernon. And we hope that many more Indian Nations will follow their example.

    7. Reached 7,500 signatures
    8. Justice for Vern Peace March date announced!

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      The Justice for Vern Peace March
      Monday May 21st at 11am
      Rushmore Plaza Civic Center
      Starting at the The Memorial Park (next to the Civic Center)
      N 8th between North St and Omaha St
      Speakers will be presenting issues to end racial violence. Those that have been mistreated in the past from the RC Regional Hospital are asked to come forward and share their story as well. We are asking elders, adults, children, men and women native, non-native to support the cause.
      WE ARE ALL VERNON!!

    9. First Televised News Story on Vern!

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      Vern Traversie's story had its first ever television segment on KFSY ABC Local News in South Dakota on May 1st at 10pm (Central). Here is a link to a write-up of the story, including a link to the video. Let us hope this is the first of many.

    10. Reached 7,000 signatures
    11. Justice for Vern Peace March in Rapid City

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      Justice for Vernon Peace March will be held in Rapid City during late May. Combined efforts from Cody Hall, Chase Iron Eyes, American Indian Movement (AIM) founders Dennis Banks, Russell Means, Clyde Bellecourt, Glenn Morris-Colorado, and others will present this Peace March. More information to follow soon! We hope you can make it!

    12. Reached 6,000 signatures
    13. A success story to keep us motivated

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      I wanted to share with Vern's supporters, a success story that may keep us motivated. Only a few months before this happened to Vern last year, a Native man in Farmington, NM went through a similar ordeal. He was branded with a swastika on his arm and one was also shaved into the back of his head. He was a vulnerable member of his community as he is mentally disabled. The two defendants faced state and FEDERAL hate crime charges of LIFE IN PRISON. They entered a plea to avoid trial and were sentenced to eight and a half years and five years respectively. The story really inspired me. I hope that justice can be served in Vernon's case as well. Here is the story:

      http://navajotimes.com/news/2011/0811/082511swastika.php

    14. Reached 4,000 signatures
    15. There is a great article on Indian Country Today about Vern's story.

      Azie Dungey
      Petition Organizer

      The word continues to spread through legitimate news organizations. This needs to be investigated. We are at over 2,650 signatures. Thank you all!

    16. Reached 2,500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Lynn McKinnon GANANOQUE, CANADA
      • almost 2 years ago

      I am a proud Native Algonquin and this is totally unacceptable. I hope all those involved are sued and held accountable for this travesty. We deserve respect and the hate crimes need to be stopped. We all bleed the same blood, that should mean something to those who think they are better than anyone.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • elizabeth denny WHEELER, WI
      • almost 2 years ago

      No person should be hurt because of their race or culture this is wrong!!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Bradley Troast CHICAGO, IL
      • almost 2 years ago

      I read about this in Guernica. So sad to hear about people being treated in such hateful ways.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kim Deocampo VALLEJO, CA
      • almost 2 years ago

      As a Native American, & a Hospital employee, I am appalled @ the senseless disregard for the feelings for a disabled elder. This hospital should have its license revoked.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • susan wilson QUINCY, MA
      • almost 2 years ago

      my best friend is cherokee and was bullied all her life. they would sneak up behind her and cut her beautiful hair, write hurtful things on her locker and beat her up! weve been best friends for 36 years now!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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