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Gipp family holds angelversary for Ryan Gipp at Standing Rock Reservation

By Rhea Smykalski and Tonia Black Elk |
November 13, 2020
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North Dakota protest demands justice for Ryan Gipp.
North Dakota protest demands justice for Ryan Gipp. (Fight Back! News/staff)

Fort Yates, ND - On October 23, 2017, the Bureau of Indian Affairs murdered 35-year-old Ryan Gipp after he was pulled over outside of Fort Yates, North Dakota. Gipp and his parents were returning home from a hunting trip and stopped at a gas station. Gipp was ejecting a shell from his shotgun, when it accidentally discharged. The family began to drive home and was pulled over by BIA officers shortly after. Gipp threw the only weapon in the vehicle, his shotgun, out the window in an effort to play it safe and present himself unarmed. BIA officers Raymond Webb and Gary Sandland Jr. then tased and shot Gipp several times. The two officers were not charged and are still in their current positions, but Gipp's family continues to fight for justice.

On Saturday, November 7, organizers from Native Lives Matter, Gipp's family, and other community members and activists gathered at the site of Gipp's death alongside the highway. Gipp's brother Henry spoke about bringing awareness to the battle they are fighting against the police, the BIA and the government.

"We know this battle. We saw what happened to Breonna Taylor, and she's not getting justice either,” said Henry Gipp. "The fight has just begun. We have to stand up like our warrior ancestors did. We have to protect our women and our children. We have to show our children that we're not scared. We have to be out here, we have to speak our truth. We've got to make sure people know that Native lives matter!"

After rallying at the site of Gipp's death the group caravanned to Fort Yates and held space at the original burial site of Sitting Bull, a Native leader also murdered by police. A list of Native stolen lives was read aloud that included Billie Hughes, Paul Castaway, Jonathon Tubby, the Dakota uprising, Sitting Bull, and the Dakota 38 as activists held their fists in their air in solidarity. The crowd then marched through Fort Yates holding space at the police station and the Standing Rock BIA office. Several residents joined the march to support the Gipp family as the group marched through the community.

Gipp's family has filed lawsuits against the U.S. government and the two BIA officers who killed him. They are calling for the case to be re-opened and reviewed by an independent investigation team. They are also seeking $15 million in damages for Gipp's three children.