Around 40 people were protesting Columbus Day in Reno, Nevada, when suddenly a truck revved its engine and rammed through the crowd.
At least five protesters sustained minor injuries, including an elderly woman.
The incident was caught on camera by onlookers.
An 18-year-old male driver and a 17-year-old passenger involved in the incident were questioned but no one was arrested.
However, protesters believe the two should be taken into custody because they intentionally drove into the crowd, before yelling obscenities at them.
“This is a hate crime,” Quanah Brightman, executive director of United Native Americans told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “It’s still brutal to see this kind of racism in America. That man deserves life [in prison] for what he did.”
Another video purportedly shows the two teens inside the truck arguing with protesters:
A witness claimed the pair in the truck had been “stalking the protest” earlier in the day.
“They drove by once as we were walking toward the arch, yelling obscenities,” Taylor Wayman told the Associated Press. Although Wayman is not a member of the organizing groups, he attended the rally.
“I heard the driver ask one of the protesters, ‘do you want me to kill your homies?’ and that really set everybody off,” he added.
The crowd had assembled not only to protest against Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Bahamas in 1492, which eventually led to the massacre of Indigenous and Native American communities, but also the construction of the $3.7 billion-Dakota Access Pipeline.
Hundreds of people have been protesting in North Dakota against the huge oil pipeline that will cross four states in the western United States, including Iowa, Illinois and North and South Dakota.
It will run 1,168 miles and carry around 570,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
However, a part of the project is planned under the Missouri River and locals of the nearby tribal areas fear it would contaminate their waterways and land.