As pointed out, my friend and fellow writer Dana Lone Hill, racism, or racist acts toward Native Americans are as alive today as it was hundreds of years ago. Being Native American herself was born and raised on “the rez,” as she puts it, Dana constantly reminds us of this very fact. Of course you won’t see any mainstream media cameras on the reservation to cover any of this. But thankfully, because of Dana and the many citizen journalists like her, we’re able to be reminded — as we should — that the fight for the indigenous people of North America continues. Speaking of which, checkout the following story which involves 68-year-old Native American, Vern Traversie; and when you do, ask yourself, whether it will make national headlines. So what’s the story, or who is Vern Traversie? Well, according to Evelyn Red Lodge at the site, Last Real Indians:
Rapid City, South Dakota – 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.
Vernon Traversie, who is completely blind, said his nightmare began when he had a heart attack while at the Heart Doctors office in Rapid City last August. He said they immediately sent him a few blocks away to Rapid City Regional Hospital for emergency surgery.
Traversie is a 68-year-old Lakota elder who told Last Real Indians, “I was supposed to have emergency surgery on my heart, but they (hospital) had scheduling problems. Every night they would prep me for surgery which went on for four or five days. Every night they would shave my chest and stomach and wouldn’t feed me.”
Being blind, Traversie said he 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. He says she told him that she could not testify for him, but that her conscience got the better of her and she didn’t agree with what they did to him.
Last Real Indians asked retired nurse, Joyce Anderson, to view the photograph of Traversie’s injuries. She was a surgical nurse for nine years and worked on the heart team at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. She said, “It appears the area under the incision was done with a scalpel for drainage of the incision. The other wounds seem to be necrotic, meaning the tissue is dead. This could indicate the wounds were burned into his skin.”
[…] The tribal police, FBI, and Traversie’s pastor all have photographs of the suspicious wounds.
Traversie said nothing is being done on his behalf by law enforcement and that the doctor who saw him at the nearby health facility said she could not make any statements about his injuries.
He explained that he has waited for seven months for his Rapid City attorney to take action on his behalf.
Traversie has posted the following video to YouTube explaining his ordeal. Calling it a hate crime committed by someone during his surgery, Traversie has decided to post his video because his attorney has been slow to act, and has also advised him to be quiet about his allegations. Recounting his post-op ordeal Traversie said, “I had a male nurse come over and tell me to shut my fucking mouth, because I asked for pain medication after my surgery.” About his treatment he also said, “I felt scared and humiliated. I couldn’t even move my arms. I felt helpless.” He also explained that he found it odd that his request for transfer to a rehabilitation hospital was denied. Unaware of the “KKK” already carved into his abdomen, Traversie said that several people kept coming to his room to look at his his stomach — he assumes that they must have known.
Check out the video: