NDN Collective Mourns the Death of Nex Benedict

Rapid City, SD – Nex Benedict, a gender expansive 16 year old with Choctaw ancestry, was brutally attacked by three older students in the girl’s bathroom at Owasso High School, and died the next day. In response to this story, which is still developing, NDN Collective released the following statement: 

“The loss of Nex is a tragic reminder that Queer Indigenous youth are not safe in the so-called United States,” said Steph Viera (he/they) Associate Producer for NDN Collective. “Nex deserved a long life of joy, community, and liberation, and the world that we live in has completely failed Nex and every single Queer Indigenous person. For this, I am filled with deep rage and saddened by the lack of care and urgency to fight for Nex’s life, because Nex had every right to be human. Let this be a reminder for anyone who calls themselves an ally to reckon with what currently stands in the way for Queer Indigenous youth to thrive unapologetically, and hear that call to pursue our justice and freedoms. Rest in Liberation, Nex.” 

“Trans justice is Indigenous justice,” said Cherry Rangel (she/they), Director of Advancement for NDN Collective. “When we create freedom and safety for trans Indigenous people, we do so for all Indigenous people. It is our collective duty to fight for a world where trans, two spirit, and queer Indigenous people – especially youth – can thrive and live full, beautiful lives. Nex deserved to know safety, belonging, and joy. Nex deserved to reach old age in the company of a family of their choosing. Nex deserved to live. This horrific violence is a direct result of the right wing war on trans people. It is more urgent than ever for Indigenous communities across Turtle Island to make tangible commitments to protect and support trans, two spirit, and queer youth.” 

Graphic Art by NDN Collective

“Nex Benedict’s death is an extreme loss to 2SLGBTQ+ community in Owasso, Oklahoma,” said Christina Wiestner (she/her), Advancement Coordinator for NDN Collective. “Nex was a child who deserved so much more than the treatment that they received in life and in death. I wish I could say that the harm that surrounds the 2SLGBTQ+ community in Oklahoma is surprising. But if you haven’t heard the hateful rhetoric from the state’s leaders, then you haven’t been listening. If you haven’t heard of the bills targeted at trying to dehumanize 2SLGBTQ+ people through the Oklahoma State Legislature, then you haven’t been listening. The continuous erasure of 2SLGBTQ+ Oklahomans is not new – and it is on us to protect Indigenous queer and trans youth. May You Rest in Power, Nex.”

“Nex was and remains a sacred member of this community – and we need not forget that in light of this senseless act of violence,” said Brandi Douglas (they/she), Creative Project Manager at NDN Collective. “Nex was owed laughter, joy, security and the right to share the unique medicine only they could offer the world, which was their birthright. Let this be a reminder that our Indigenous, queer, trans and two spirit youth must continue to be protected, uplifted and prioritized, so that they may plant and sow for years to come, consistently reminded each and every second of their rare and beautiful existence. Nex deserved the very best, and was denied that. It is our continued duty –  Indigenous Peoples and accomplices alike – to ensure dear ones such as Nex flourish.”


NDN Collective is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building, and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms. 

📲Call Dr. Margaret Coates Superintendent of Owasso Public Schools, 918-272-5367
📩Send a letter to the local police for them to open an investigation into the school handling of the fight: Dan Yancey, Chief of Police, 111 N. Main Street, Owasso OK, 74054
📩 Write a letter to the editor for Tulsa World, the local newspaper who called the death “unexpected” rather than naming the violence of the attack: Letters to the editor are encouraged. Each letter must include the author’s name, mailing address and daytime telephone number. For more information, contact Editorials Editor Ginnie Graham at ginnie.graham@tulsaworld.com. Letters have a 250-word limit.
Freedom Oklahoma is a 501c-3 providing education and advocacy as well as their Action Fund, their 501c-4 advocacy campaigns and efforts for the safety and advancement of all 2SLGBTQ+ Oklahomans.
The Oklahomans for Equality Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa has served the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) and allied community since 1995.

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