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Chesie's Journal: Is Never Again Possible?

Three years after the killing of Andy Antelope by Riverton Police Officer James Donahue, the community still asks unanswered questions. A few weeks ago, we learned that Donahue was no longer working for the City of Riverton, but later discovered that he had moved to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and without accountability, still carrying a gun and to many Native Americans, still a threat in the community.

No public inquest, no grand jury investigation, and no public trial. No disclosure of the days leading up to the killing including Andy Antelope being a victim of a brutal sexual assault. No explanation as to why he had been prematurely released from the hospital the night before when he still needed professional care.

A letter to the editor in the Riverton Ranger suggested that we need to quit talking about this. But today we remember 9/11 that happened 21 years ago. Security steps were taken to help assure that nothing like that happens again within the borders of the United States.

Likewise, on 9/21, 10 days from now, we will remember what happened in Riverton 3 years ago. But, unlike the aftermath of 9/11, we saw no steps to help assure us that a needless police killing will not happen again in Riverton. Instead, we saw repeated coverup.

This week Kim Harjo, a member of the Northern Arapaho Business Council, submitted unanswered questions to State Rep. Lloyd Larsen, chairman of the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Committee on Tribal Relations. Rep. Larsen volunteered to answer these questions for the community. (To see the questions, click here.)

Join us outside of Riverton City Hall on September 21 at 7 pm to remember and plea “Never Again in Riverton.” Bring signs. The Northern Arapaho Eagle Drum group will open the program. We will close with a candlelight vigil as the sun sets and darkness comes. Our flames of hope can signal a new beginning that will bring answers, resolutions, and changes to help assure us that what happened to Andy Antelope 3 years ago never happens again.

Fear not. Be humble. Have faith. Be bold. Build relationships. Do justice.

Chesie Lee

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