Written Testimony of Corson County Commissioner

by Rubin Speidel

On May 25,1991, the McLaughlin Public School was broken into and vandalized. The damage was amazing. Fire extinguishers were discharged into the school’s computers severely damaging and destroying thousands of dollars worth of hardware and software computer equipment. Virtually all breakable items in the lab rooms were broken. The chemicals from the science labs and the fire extinguishers were extensively thrown on the ceilings and walls and circulated throughout the building in the air flow system necessitating the repainting of virtually the entire interior of the building. Four Indian male juveniles were apprehended inside the building. They ranged in age from kindergarten to sixth grade. They were turned over to the BIA police for prosecution in the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court. The damages were estimated between twenty and fifty thousand dollars.

On July 12,1991, unencumbered by any judicial restraint and because there was no prosecution, several of the same children broke into the Thorsonsen Insurance Agency in McLaughlin and again extensively vandalized the facility. The damage included ransacking the file cabinets and destroying the contents of the office files and general breakage and other damage. However, in order that there be no question about who the vandals were, the children took pictures of each other with a polaroid camera that was available and left the photos for the investigators to find. The insurance agency incident was committed by several of the same children who vandalized the school. All of this information and the photos were turned over to the BIA police for prosecution by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court. Again, there was no prosecution.

These young vandals, having successfully burglarized a school and an insurance agency and having not been prosecuted or disciplined by the tribal court system which is charged with that responsibility…struck again. On August 30, 1991, the Redeemer Lutheran Church in McLaughlin was broken into and desecrated….The vandals defecated on the floor and rubbed it in with the floor buffer. Under the portrait of Jesus Christ the vandals left a special calling card which does require explanation. The initials NWA stand for NO WHITES ALLOWED….The carpets were damaged by chemicals that were available. The copying machine chemicals were dumped in various places. The paints available for children’s sunday school were dumped everywhere and rooms were flooded thereafter. All of the fire extinguishers were discharged into the furnace system and the organ. Then, to make sure there was no question about their identities, the children took pictures with the copying machine. They took photos of each other’s faces and left those available for investigators. They also stripped naked and took pictures of their testicles and penises.

All of the photos of the children were turned over to the BIA police in the vain hope that there would be some type of prosecution and some type of justice. Again, the church to date has no word as to any prosecution. The cost of repair is not yet known but will certainly exceed $25,000. In addition, the newly appointed Lutheran minister had to receive his ordination at the Catholic Church because the Lutheran Church was unusable. This is not a case of persons stealing for food or out of need. In all three of these instances virtually nothing was taken. This is a wholesale example of destruction and desecration for no legitimate purpose.