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American Indians Ask Lewis & Clark Re-enactors To Go Home

American Indians ask Lewis, Clark
re-enactors to go home

Published Tuesday, September 21, 2004

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lewis and Clark re-enactors say they want to learn more about American Indian concerns after a delegation from South Dakota asked the expedition to return home.

Jon Ruybalid, a spokesman for the re-enactors, said yesterday that the group expected more dialogue with the American Indians they met Saturday near Chamberlain, S.D.

"It wasn’t easy listening," Ruybalid told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "What they said was filled with a lot of pain. We are being educated, and in the process, we are a platform for people to express their concerns."

Members of the American Indian delegation confronted the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles with signs, including one suggesting the original expedition of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led to genocide of their people and destruction of their culture. The re-enactors were asked to go back home.

"I went as a peaceful emissary and asked in a kind way if they would leave," said Alex White Plume, a Lakota from Pine Ridge, S.D., who led the protest. "They should go home and rethink what they did to the native population."

Ruybalid said members of several South Dakota tribes planned to take part in events this weekend near Pierre, S.D. White Plume said he was "saddened that some tribes welcome them with open arms."

Larry McClain, the expedition’s executive director, said last week that the group has had positive experiences with native people throughout the journey. "We’re kind of a platform for education on a lot of issues," he said. "We obviously would like to help them have a voice and a platform for education."

The Discovery Expedition left St. Charles on May 23 on its planned journey along the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-06. It is heading up the Missouri River in a keelboat and two pirogues.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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