Police Take Native American Metalheads Off College Tour, Cattle Decapitation And Archspire Respond

Lately, there is no shortage of truly infuriating stories making the rounds, but this past weekend saw one of the most deeply off-putting. As The Denver Post reports, two Native American brothers — 19-year-old Thomas Kanewakeron Gray and 17-year-old Lloyd Skanahwati Gray — were on a tour of Colorado State University last week. They’d saved up to make the seven-hour drive from their New Mexico hometown. (Their mother has said said that Colorado State is their “dream school.”) They’d joined the tour late after getting lost on the way there. And soon after, campus police removed them from the tour. A mother who was also on the tour had called the police, reporting that they looked suspicious.

Police detained the two brothers, demanding to know why they were on campus and patting them down, only releasing them when one of them showed them an email invitation to the campus on his phone. The New York Times reports that the parent who called 911 said, “If it’s nothing, I’m sorry, but it actually made me like feel sick and I’ve never felt like that.” She added that the brothers were “definitely not” part of the tour and that their behavior was “odd.”

Part of the problem, it seems, was the kids’ clothing; in that 911 call, the mother spoke about “dark stuff” on their clothes. Thomas was wearing a shirt of the death metal band Cattle Decapitation, while Lloyd was wearing a shirt of Archspire, another death metal band. Thomas is hoping to study music, and one of the things the boys liked about Colorado State was how close it is to Denver. Thomas cites the city’s “music culture.”

Since the two brothers were removed from the tour, the university has offered an apology, offering to pay the brothers’ expenses for them to come back for a VIP tour. And maybe it’s also some consolation that they’ve been shouted out by Cattle Decapitation. The band posted a news account of the brothers’ story on Facebook, adding, “you get free guest list spots to our shows for life.”

Metal Injection reports that Thomas has commented on Cattle Decapitation’s post, writing this:

Thank you everyone for the support. We love everyone. Its really hard to come up with a proper reaction to everyones help. Its very overwhelming but nonetheless, i hope this teaches a lesson to everyone that is going through any sort of discrimination or racial acts. Keep yourself going. What happened was wrong in so many ways and we wish this on no one else.

Archspire added that the Grays are “not only deserving of but also entitled to both apology and compensation.” The band has also asked for the mother who called campus police to attend their next show in Colorado “to observe first hand just how positive, accepting and overall uplifting the ‘threatening’ lifestyle that these innocent brothers freely and publicly represent, actually is.”