South Dakota High School rodeo club facing backlash for fundraiser name

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The Faith High School Rodeo club is planning a “Slave/Branding Auction” on April 26th to raise money for their program.

The idea behind the fundraiser is that members of the club will work for someone for a day in exchange for a donation to their group.

The concept may seem innocent, but calling the fundraiser a “Slave/Branding Auction” is causing quite the stir.

Faith High School and the Rodeo Club are now facing a large amount of backlash on social media and from around the state.

“This is a term that is so demeaning of black culture and humanity,” says Augustana Dean of students Mark Blackburn. “So to have it still represented in some of our schools is very disheartening and disappointing. People are irate that this is still happening.”

Members of the school district have stated that the rodeo club is not school-sanctioned and therefore is not attached to the Faith School District. However, the event does show up on the school’s events page on their website.

Sioux Falls resident and community activist Julian Beaudion said “This rodeo slave auction was on their official school calendar, so even though it’s not a school district sanctioned event someone played a role in promoting this into what it is.”

Many South Dakotans are upset about this event, saying that it is a step back during a year in which racial equality has been talked about more than ever.

Others state that the school promoting the event on their website is almost as bad as the auction itself.

“I think it’s important that school stake accountability for some of these things and remove some of these actions as soon as possible,” says Blackburn.

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