Nazi Amerika Murders its Natives
“My people are being slaughtered…” Leonard Peltier is in jail. The two charged with him were acquitted of murder many years ago. The FBI has admitted that it does not know who killed their agents. It has been undeniably established that Leonard was unjustly convicted and his appeal for clemency is before President Clinton.
But, somehow, I think most-those not directly involved anyway-have lost sight of what was going in the days of the Pine Ridge fire fight.
I herein post some excerpts from “Loud Hawk-The United States Versus The American Indian Movement” by Kenneth S. Stern (ISBN 0-8061-2587-X, University of Oklahoma Press) and “Indians Are Us-Culture and Genocide in Native North America” by Ward Churchill (ISBN 1-56751-020-5, Common Courage Press) specifically excerpted so as to establish a “mood.” Please forgive any typo’s. This wasn’t scanned.
Concerning Loud Hawk…taken from the jacket:
“Loud Hawk is a fascinating and gripping account of one of the most important instances of judicial repression in recent years-the thirteen years trial of Dennis Banks, a founder of the American Indian Movement. Kenneth Stern, a lawyer in the case who now works for the American Jewish Committee, tells a story of FBI misconduct and governmental vindictiveness whose importance lies precisely in the ways that it is not unique, but reflective of the ongoing problems facing American Indians in the United States…This book should be required reading in Introduction to American Political Science courses at universities, and for every lawyer and judge in the U.S.”-Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine.
Excepting for conversation, I have not used quotation marks but, note that everything below is indeed quoted from each of these books.
Excerpt start from Loud Hawk, pp. 303-306:
As we drove through the Badlands, which were serene covered in white, I dug the front tires of our rental car into the small paths blazed by a few pickup trucks an old cars that had come before. The underside of our Oldsmobile scraped snow. The car became muddy. I was glad. Only the FBI drove shiny cars on the reservation.
Sue (not her real name) and Candy Hamilton (legal worker for the Wounded Knee Legal defense Fund), both in their thirties and both with blond hair, had been living on the reservation during the mid-1970’s.
“Shit, everyone was armed back then,” Sue said, as Candy nodded in agreement. “You’d be nuts not to. The Goons [Guardians of the Oglala Nation] were getting people tight and left. Even kids were getting shot. And the FBI’s were just as bad. They didn’t do shit to stop the Goons. Especially after the two [FBI agents] got killed, they just went ape shit.”
“Maybe I should add you to our witness list?” I asked. Her message was good, and I could control her language.
“Shit,” she said, “you know the bombings after June 26?”
“Uh-huh,” I answered. “You mean the Rushmore bombing ad the bombing of the BIA headquarters in Pine Ridge?”
“Yeah,” she said, with a twang in her voice. “We had teams. The night of the BIA bombing, there were teams of us on the res. One bomb was for [Tribal Chairman and chief Goon] Dickie Wilson. We were going to blow him up in his house. But while we were getting ready to set the bomb, some woman or kid got up and was walking around. It was 3 o’clock in the morning. Wilson never knew how close he was to buying it,” she said, chuckling.
I said, “Uh-huh,” sat silent for a moment, then changed the subject, not wanting my discomfort to become obvious. As I drove I thought again about what might have been. The only people the American Indian Movement had killed were the two FBI agents, in what was clearly a firefight. A jury in Iowa had ruled that self-defense. What would the defense had been if Dick Wilson, for all his terror tactics and Goons, had been blown to pieces along with his family?
I knew what Sue would say. “Maybe Byron DeSeresa and Anna Mae would be alive.” Maybe. Or maybe Anna Mae had died from the same revolutionary rationalizations that had lead a “team” to Dick Wilson’s house with a bomb?
I felt relief after dropping Sue near the town of Porcupine. Rather than concentrate on how easily events of a decade earlier might have been different, Candy, Tom, and I searched for potential witnesses to what had really occurred. We drove to the isolated houses and knocked on doors. There were few telephones to call ahead to. Charlene was a woman in her forties, living in post-Wounded Knee prefab, decomposing housing. Nothing-inside or out- had been painted in a decade. The floor was once shoddy white linoleum squares. Now, most were either missing or broken, exposing the graying plywood below.
Charlene greeted us warily. We pounded the snow off our boots at the door, removed them inside, and walked up the half dozen stairs to the living area. She sat at her cracked formica kitchen table, having collected the four usable, mismatched, metal or wooden chairs she owned. She served Indian coffee, thick as I remembered, in old, stained, blue plastic teacups. She smiled now and then but never looked directly at us. She talked with Candy, who was gently prodding her, interspersing questions about the old days with ones about friend and their children.
Candy had told us about Charlene. She was not AIM. She was simply and Indian who wanted to live in the tradition of the old ways as fully as the demands of the new allowed. She was quiet, religious, and respectful.
Two weeks earlier, Candy had talked with Charlene and asked if she would sign an affidavit. Charlene had said yes with a yes that meant yes. But when Candy returned with a typewritten draft, Charlene said yes with a yes that meant no. This had happened with ten other witnesses. People would talk privately, wanting to help. But to sign a piece of paper dredged up old fears.
“The FBI’s will come,” Charlene had said.
Candy had replied, “We can give you a piece of paper, like in the old days, telling them that you insist on your rights and that unless they have a warrant to search or arrest, they have to leave.”
Charlene had looked down and said, apologetically, “But that won’t stop them from coming.”
Steenson and I were here to listen and to urge her to come to Portland to testify. She would do well; she was straightforward, honest, simple, soft-spoken, sincere. After an hour, she started to open up. The she stopped abruptly, looking at Candy.
“Are you sure these guys aren’t FBIs?” she asked.
Candy laughed. “If they were, we’d have found out a long time ago. They’re okay, Charlene.”
“Well, you know what it was like,” she started. “Them FBIs was every place, and they never come alone. Always three, four, five cars of ’em, all dressed like soldiers, carrying guns, running around like they owned the place.
“I got shoved around by them many times. Many times they come here, asking questions about people, pushing, threatening, pointing guns. Even at the kids. Four and five and six years old, had guns pointed at them. “One time, I was in a sweat, and them FBIs come, ripped open the lodge in the middle of a ceremony! It was cold. All we had was towels. They pointed their big guns into the sweat lodge and ordered everybody out. I don’t know if they were looking for someone or just wanted to be mean. But they had no respect for our ceremonies. They come in, pointed their guns, laughed. If they just wanted to freeze naked women in the snow, at least they should have waited until we finished praying.”
This was not the only incident of religious harassment I would hear, nor was it the only story of the FBI’s fondness for cold as a weapon. Oscar Bear Runners son had been forced to take off his T-shirt and stand, rigid, in ten degree below zero weather until he was frostbitten.
We heard more horror stories as we traveled around the reservation the following days-about the Goons shooting at old people driving down the road, about the FBI invading Oglala as if it were a battle front in Vietnam. Everyone had lived in constant fear of death. So many years later, the trauma was still fresh. Young adults pulled up their shirts and pant legs, showing us wounds they received as children-from bullets that scared their arms, legs, and chests. People as exhibits…
The following is taken from “Indians Are Us? Culture and Genocide in Native North America, pp. 198-205:
4.17.73-Frank Clearwater-AIM member killed by heavy machine gun round at Wounded Knee. No investigation.4.23.73-Between eight and twelve individuals (names unknown) packing supplies into wounded Knee were intercepted by Goons [Guardians of the Oglala Nation] and vigilantes. None were ever heard from again. Former Rosebud Tribal President Robert Burnette and U.S. Justice Department Solicitor General Kent Frizzell conducted unsuccessful search for a mass grave after Wounded Knee siege. No further investigation.
4.27.73-Buddy Lamont-AIM member hit by M16 fire at Wounded Knee, Bled to death while pinned down by fire. No investigation.
6.19.73-Clarence Cross-AIM supporter shot to death in ambush by Goons. Although assailants were identified by eyewitnesses, brother Vernal Cross-wounded in ambush-was briefly charged with crime. No further investigation.
4.14.73-Priscilla White Plume-AIM supporter killed at Manderson by Goons. No investigation.
7.30.73-Julius Bad Heart Bull-AIM supporter killed at Oglala AIM supporter killed at Oglala by “person or persons unknown.” No investigation.
9.22.73-Melvin Spider-AIM member killed Porcupine, South Dakota. No investigation.
9.23.73-Philip Black Elk-AIM supporter killed when his house exploded. No investigation.
10.5.73-Aloysius Long Soldier-AIM member killed at Kyle, S.D. by Goons.No investigation.
10.10.73-Phillip Little Crow-AIM supporter beaten to death by Goons at Pine Ridge. No investigation.
10.17.73-Pedro Bissonette-Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization (OSCRO) organizer and AIM supporter assassinated by BIA Police/Goons. Body removed from Pine Ridge jurisdiction prior to autopsy by government contract coroner. No investigation.
11.20.73-Allison Fast Horse-AIM supporter shot to death near Pine Ridge by “unknown assailants.” No investigation.
1.17.74-Edward Means, Jr.-AIM member found dead in Pine Ridge alley, beaten. No investigation.
2.27.74-Edward Standing Soldier-AIM member killed near Pine Ridge by “party r parties unknown.” No investigation.
4.19.74-Roxeine Roark-AIM supporter killed at Porcupine by “unknown assailants.” Investigation open, still “pending.”
9.7.74-Dennis LeCompte-AIM member killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
9.11.74-Jackson Washinton Cutt-AIM member killed at Parmalee by “unknown individuals.” Investigation still “ongoing.”
9.16.74-Robert Reddy-AIM member killed at Kyle by gunshot. No investigation.
11.16.74-Delphine Crow Dog-sister of AIM spiritual leader Leonard Crow Dog. Beaten by BIA police and left lying in a field. Died from “exposure.” No investigation.
11.20.74-Elaine Wagner-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by “person or persons unknown.” No investigation.
12.25.75-Floyd S. Binais-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
12.28.74-Yvette Loraine Lone Hill-AIM supporter killed at Kyle by “unknown party or parties.” No investigation.
1.5.75-Leon L. Swift Bird-AIM member killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. Investigation still “ongoing.”
3.1.75-Martin Montileaux-killed in a Scenic, S.D. bar. AIM leader Richard Marshall later framed for his murder. Russell Means also charged and acquitted.
3.20.75-Stacy Cotter-shot to death in an ambush at Manderson. No investigation.
3.21.75-Edith Eagle Hawk and her two children-AIM supporter killed in an automobile accident after being run off the run by a white vigilante, Albert Coomes. Coomes was also killed in the accident. Goon Mark Clifford identified as having also been in the Coomes car, escaped. Investigation closed without questioning Clifford.
3.27.75-Jeanette Bissonette-AIM supporter killed by sniper at Pine Ridge. Unsuccessful attempt to link AIM members to murder; no other investigation.
3.30.75-Richard Eagle-grandson of AIM supporter Gladys Bissonette killed while playing with loaded gun kept in the house as protection from Goon attacks.
4.4.75-Hilda R. Good Buffalo-AIM supporter stabbed to death at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
4.4.75-Jancita Eagle Deer-AIM member beaten and run over with automobile. Last seen in the company of provocateur Douglass Durham. No investigation.
5.20.75-Ben Sitting Up-AIM member killed at Wanblee by “unknown assailants.” No investigation.
6.1.75-Kenneth Little-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. Investigation still “pending.”
6.15.75-Leah Spotted Elk-AIM supporter at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
6.26.75-Joseph Stuntz Killsright-AIM member killed by FBI sniper during Oglala firefight. No investigation.
7.12.75-James Briggs Yellow-heart attack caused by FBI air assault on his home. No investigation.
7.25.75-Andrew Paul Stewart-nephew of AIM spiritual leader Leonard Crow Dog, killed by Goons on Pine Ridge. No investigation.
8.25.75-Randy Hunter-AIM supporter killed at Kyle by “party or parties unknown.” Investigation still “ongoing.”
9.9.75-Howard Blue Bird-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
9.10.75-Jim Little-AIM stomped to death by Goons in Oglala. No investigation.
10.26.75-Olivia Binais-AIM supporter killed in Porcupine by “person or persons unknown.” Investigation still “open.”
10.26.75-Janice Black Bear-AIM supporter killed at Manderson by Goons. No investigation.
10.27.75-Michelle Tobacco-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by “unknown persons.” No investigation.
12.6.75-Carl Plenty Arrows,Sr.-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by “unknown persons.” No investigation.
12.6.75-Frank LaPointe-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
2.76-Anna Mae Pictou Aquash-AIM organizer assassinated on Pine Ridge.. FBI involved in attempt to conceal cause of death. Ongoing attempt to establish “AIM involvement” in murder. Key FBI personnel never deposed. Coroner never deposed. [depose-to remove from power…to testify or bear witness, especially on oath in court]
1.5.76-Lydia Cut Grass-AIM member killed at Wounded Knee by Goons. No investigation.
1.30.76-Byron DeSersa-OSCRO organizer and AIM supporter assassinated by Goons in Wanblee. Arrests by local authorities resulted in two Goons-Dale Janis and Charlie Winters-serving two years of five year sentences for “manslaughter.” Charges dropped against two Goon leaders, Manny Wilson and Chuck Richards, on the basis of “self-defense” despite DeSersa having been unarmed when shot to death.
2.6.76-Lena R. Slow Bear-AIM supporter killed at Oglala by Goons. No investigation.
3.1.76-Hobart Horse-AIM member beaten, shot, and repeatedly run over with automobile at Sharp’s Corners. No investigation.
3.26.76-Cleveland Reddest-AIM member killed at Kyle by “person or persons unknown.” No investigation.
4.28.76-Betty Jo Dubray-AIM supporter beaten to death at Martin, S.D. No investigation.
5.6.76-Marvin Two Two-Aim supporter shot to death at Pine Ridge. No investigation.
5.9.76-Juia Pretty Hips-AIM supporter killed at Pine Ridge by “unknown assailants.” No investigation.
5.24.76-Sam Afraid of Bear-AIM supporter shot to death at Pine Ridge. Investigation “ongoing.”
6.4.76-Kevin Hill-AIM supporter killed at Oglala by “party or parties unknown.” Investigation “still open.”
7.3.76-Betty Means-AIM member killed at Pine Ridge by Goons. No investigation.
7.31.76-Sandra Wounded Foot-AIM supporter killed at Sharp’s Corners by “unknown assailants.” No investigation.
It should be noted that, using the preliminary figure of only 61 homicides of AIM members and supporters during the same period, researchers Bruce Johansen and Roberto Maestas, in their book “Wasichu:The Continuing Indian Wars (New York:Monthly Review Press, 1979, pp. 83-4), arrived at the following analysis of its implications: Using only documented political deaths, the yearly murder rate on Pine Ridge Reservation between 1, 1973 and March 1, 1976, was 170 per 100,000. By comparison, Detroit, the reputed murder capital of the United States, had a rate of 20.2 per 100,000…An estimated 20,000 persons were murdered in the United States during 1974. In a nation of 200 million persons, a murder rate comparable with that of Pine Ridge between 1973 and 1976 would have left 340,000 persons dead for political reasons alone in one year; 1.32 million in three…The political murder rate at Pine Ridge between March 1, 1973, and March 1, 1976, was almost equivalent to that in Chile during the three years after a military coup supported by the United States deposed and killed President Salvador Allende…Based on Chile’s population of 10 million, the estimated fifty thousand persons killed in three years of political repression in Chile (1973-1976) roughly paralleled the murder rate at Pine Ridge.