12 Myths verses
facts of AIM.
office of history I take to be this: to prevent virtuous
actions from being forgotten,
and that evil words and deeds should
fear an infamous reputation with posterity.” —Tacitus
12 Myths versus Facts
Native American occupiers heroically defended Wounded Knee
village from trigger-happy lawmen itching to turn a peaceful
demonstration into a bloodbath; only the advice and counsel of
Justice Department negotiators and an Army Colonel averted
Fact: On the night of February 27, 1973,
Wounded Knee village fell victim to a commando-style raid by
militants who started fires, shot out the streetlights, and
began looting the store, museum and Post Office. They shot at
responding firemen and policemen and took 11 hostages, mostly
old people and children. Justice Department lawyers embarked
on a doomed strategy of appeasement and delay, while the
village was slowly destroyed from within. An Army colonel
tried but failed to handicap law enforcement professionals
with an ill-advised “shoot to wound” policy. Militants
played to the cameras during daylight hours while at night,
they opened fire on government roadblocks. The insurgents
broke virtually every ceasefire agreement, save the one that
finally ended the standoff 71 days after it began. By then,
the real victims, the village residents—most of whom were
uninsured—had lost everything they owned. Wounded Knee
village was completely destroyed and was never rebuilt.
The occupation of Wounded Knee was a spontaneous
event, a last desperate attempt to stand up for justice in
opposing a corrupt tribal government.
Fact: AIM leader Russell Means had been
planning the takeover of Wounded Knee for years. When the time
was right, he ordered his followers to take the village. The
duly elected tribal government was in the process of enacting
several service-related projects for the reservation, many of
which fell by the wayside after the village was destroyed and
a period of violence ensued.
The Occupation of Wounded Knee was a “symbolic”
demonstration by aggrieved residents of the Pine Ridge Indian
Fact: Wounded Knee was invaded by mostly
reservation outsiders. Before they could pose as aggrieved
villagers, the invaders ousted the real residents, many of
whom were their fellow Indians.
The Wounded Knee occupiers were poorly armed, poorly funded,
and posed little or no threat to law enforcement officers.
Fact: Wounded Knee militants were initially
much better armed than the handful of FBI Agents and BIA
officers who were ordered to erect makeshift roadblocks in
order to contain the violence. The militants’ initial cache
of weaponry was either stolen from local gun shops and the
Wounded Knee Trading Post, or was partly funded by grant money
from the federal government. As the standoff continued, AIM
insurgents infiltrated a porous village border and resupplied
themselves with large caliber ammunition and scoped rifles. On
several occasions, the insurgents ventured out of the village
and opened fire on government-manned roadblocks. FBI Agents,
U.S. Marshals, and BIA officers were under constant threat of
The Wounded Knee occupation consisted of peaceful
activists led by AIM leaders who just wanted to be left alone.
If the government forces had withdrawn, the standoff would
Fact: The occupation was designed to attract
media attention. AIM leaders believed television and newspaper
coverage was essential to their continued success. Without a
soapbox, the militants would have likely moved onto to a more
provocative media event as they had done countless times
before. Reporters as well as government negotiators were
fooled into believing the militants wanted to reach an accord.
Government forces overreacted to the takeover with military
tanks and aircraft and illegally employed military assets.
Fact: Government negotiators as well as the
law enforcement officers who manned the roadblocks exhibited
extraordinary patience and restraint in the face of nightly
gun attacks. Had they not shown restraint, there would have
been many more casualties than the two that resulted from
pitched gun battles in the final weeks of the standoff.
Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), not tanks, were used to
defend roadblocks and act as metal cocoons to protect FBI
Agents and U.S. Marshals. Reconnaissance aircraft took
photographs of militant bunkers (constructed from the
burned-out hulks of stolen vehicles) that would otherwise have
been too hazardous to obtain. Justice Department officials
went to great lengths to ensure compliance with the Posse
Comitatus Act (PCA), which forbade the active use of military
assets in civilian affairs. Successive federal courts found
that the PCA was not violated at Wounded Knee.
The takeover of Wounded Knee village was a “liberation.”
Fact: Once the bona fide residents were
kicked out of their homes, armed militants vied for power and
enforced heavy penalties against assumed traitors. In the
process, several people were allegedly murdered, including Ray
Robinson, the only black male occupier seen in the village.
His remains, along with the bodies of several others, are said
to be buried near the village ruins. Robinson’s friend, Al
Cooper, has publicly corroborated his near-death experience
after AIM leaders accused him of being a snitch. One woman
reported being raped, while several young, white females are
believed to be among the dead. These murders have never been
solved because the bodies, including Robinson’s, remain
AIM member Leonard Peltier was framed and railroaded into jail
for the murder of FBI Agents Ron Williams and Jack Coler.
Fact: Peltier was convicted of aiding and
abetting in the murders of the Agents based on the evidence
against him. Numerous appeals have upheld his conviction.
Peltier was exonerated by a mysterious man wearing a hood over
his head. Known only as Mr. “X”, the man with a gravelly
voice claimed on national television that he murdered the
Agents, not Peltier.
Fact: Mr. X’s creation and subsequent
appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes was later exposed as
a complete hoax dreamed up by Peltier supporters at the home
of actor Max Gail. Several Hollywood performers were fooled
into believing in Peltier’s innocence, among them Robert
Redford, Ed Asner, Harry Belefonte, Jane Fonda, Michael Moore,
Oliver Stone, and Barbara Streisand.
Peltier is innocent of murdering Agents Coler and Williams
because he has never admitted guilt and because there was no
evidence that linked him to the killings.
Fact: In front of four witnesses, Peltier
boasted of killing the Agents. As one of the men pleaded for
his life, Peltier allegedly said, “…I shot him anyway.”
Both Agents died instantly after being shot in the face at
point-blank range. Shell casings ejected from Peltier’s
weapon matched a shell casing found at the murder scene.
AIM leaders and supporters claim that hundreds of murders on
the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970s were never
investigated by the BIA or the FBI.
Fact: Every bona fide murder on the
reservation was investigated by the FBI. In May, 2001, the
Minneapolis Field Office published The Pine Ridge Report,
An Accounting for Native American Deaths, (http://minneapolis.fbi.gov/report.htm.)
Sadly, many of these deaths were alcohol-related. Very few of
them were actual murders and most of those involved AIM
members, such as the murders of Anna Mae Aquash and Jeanette
The FBI used a COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program)
against the AIM leadership and their lawyers.
Fact: FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover formally
terminated all COINTELPRO operations on April 28, 1971, long
before AIM gained a national presence. Although the FBI has
always relied on informants in investigating federal crimes,
the FBI never employed a COINTELPRO against AIM. To the
contrary, AIM leaders used their own version of a COINTELPRO
to threaten and intimidate their members into towing the line,
including pitting one member against another. In fact, AIM
leaders ordered several of their own members to be
interrogated at gunpoint. Members who collected donations to
AIM were threatened if they did not turn over all money
directly to the leaders and members who testified in court
were intimidated into committing perjury. For example, in the
trial of convicted killer Leonard Peltier, the court
determined that, “The two witnesses testified outside the
presence of the jury that after their testimony at trial, they
had been threatened by Peltier himself that if they did not
return to court and testify that their earlier testimony had
been induced by F.B.I. threats, their lives would be in
July, 1970: Dennis
Banks leads AIM members in a failed fleecing of a Lutheran
Church in Sioux Fall, South Dakota. The following year, the
same house of worship donates $45,000.
Notable Events in the History of the American Indian
July, 1968: AIM is founded by Dennis Banks,
Clyde Bellecourt and others, as an offshoot of a
government-funded anti-poverty program in Minneapolis.
November 24, 1970:
Russell Means and Dennis Banks lead a group of raucous
followers during the 350th anniversary of Plymouth Colony.
Stunned organizers dressed in Pilgrim outfits watch the
militants board a replica of the Mayflower and
proceed to vandalize it. There are no arrests.
December 16, 1970:
The Airlie Center in Warrenton, Virginia, a meeting complex,
is the site of a three-day conference on Indian affairs.
Intoxicated AIM members cause several thousand dollars worth
of damage. No arrests.
May 16, 1971: AIM
stages a sit-in at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, resulting in
injuries and arrests.
June 6, 1971:
Russell Means leads 50 Indians armed with baseball bats and
pick handles in a demonstration at Mount Rushmore, South
Dakota. A week later, AIM stages a sit-in at an abandoned U.S.
Army Nike Missile Site near Chicago, Illinois. On July 1,
protesters throw stones and Molotov cocktails, injuring three
September 22, 1971:
Russell Means leads approximately 60 rabble rousers against
the BIA building in Washington, D.C. The protesters try
unsuccessfully to place officials under citizen’s arrest.
Twenty-four persons are arrested after thirty-five to forty
AIM members scuffle with GSA Security officers.
February 20, 1972:
Raymond Yellow Thunder, a fifty-one year old Sioux from
Porcupine, is found dead in a truck in Gordon, Nebraska.
Yellow Thunder died from a head injury suffered three days
earlier while locked in the trunk of a car driven by white
out-of-town hoodlums. Three youths are later convicted of
manslaughter. AIM members, along with “big city”
reporters, descend on the small town of 2500, declare
widespread racism, administer atonement, and distort the facts
of the case.
March 9, 1972: A
year before the Wounded Knee takeover, Russell Means leads 300
Indians to the village following Raymond Yellow Thunder’s
funeral. The Trading Post is looted and an estimated $50,000
in Indian artifacts is stolen, thus setting the stage for the
larger scale operation of the following year.
April 4, 1972: AIM
seizes the BIA jail in Fort Totten, North Dakota.
June 8, 1972: AIM
members and sympathizers demonstrate against an Indian dance
being performed by Boy Scouts in Topeka, Kansas. Fist fights
break out and five AIM members are arrested.
July 2, 1972: Eight
AIM members are arrested and charged with inciting a riot and
assault after disrupting an All-Indian Pow Wow in Flagstaff,
November 1, 1972:
AIM members arrive in Washington, D.C. in an ill-fated peace
protest, known as the Trail of Broken Treaties. A few days
later, the group storms the BIA HQ building after a government
snafu is interpreted as a double-cross. AIM members destroy
priceless artifacts and Indian land deeds. Total damage is
estimated at two million dollars. Government negotiators pay
AIM leaders $67,000 as travel money to leave the city. No
arrests are made. AIM leaders return to South Dakota and
declare war on Rapid City businesses.
November 20, 1972:
AIM returns to the Pine Ridge Reservation, where Russell Means
clashes with Tribal Chairman Richard Wilson. The Tribal
Council authorizes the establishment of a forty-man team to
protect reservation buildings. The group is given the name,
January 21, 1973:
AIM member Wesley Bad Heart Bull is stabbed to death during a
fight outside a bar in Buffalo Gap, South Dakota. Bad Heart
Bull was seen beating another man with a tire chain. AIM
leaders vow a day of reckoning.
February 6, 1973: In
a filmed entry, AIM members arrive in the small town of
Custer, the County seat, to register their complaints with
town officials over the Bad Heart Bull death. A riot ensues.
Rocks and bottles are thrown and a small building is burned to
the ground. No one is seriously injured.
February 23, 1973:
Following several death threats, the U.S. Marshals Service
places Tribal Chairman Richard Wilson and his family under
protective custody and moves them to an undisclosed location.
February 27, 1973:
AIM members invade and pillage Wounded Knee village. Eleven
residents are taken hostage. The FBI and BIA establish
roadblocks around a fifteen-mile perimeter. Two days later,
Justice Department lawyers arrive to negotiate with AIM
leaders. Militants initiate almost nightly gunfire on the
government barriers. The occupation lasts 71 days.
March 11, 1973: Two
FBI Special Agents pursue a stolen U-Haul van outside the
Wounded Knee village perimeter. SA Curtis Fitzgerald is shot
by a militant who fired from the rear of the van. The incident
occurred during an agreed ceasefire. Agent Fitzgerald sustains
debilitating injury to his hand.
March 26, 1973: U.S.
Marshal Lloyd Grimm is struck in his upper right chest by
militant gunfire. Grimm is paralyzed from the waist down and
later dies from complications. Earlier that day, AIM leaders
Russell Means and Dennis Banks are seen returning to the
village after disappearing for two days.
March 27, 1973: Not
far from Wounded Knee, outspoken AIM critic Leo Wilcox is
found burned to death in his car.
April 4, 1973:
Assistant Attorney General Kent Frizzell, chief negotiator for
the government at Wounded Knee, reports some progress in
discussions. Frizzell learns that AIM Attorney Ramon
Roubideaux and negotiator Hank Adams are honestly seeking a
settlement, while AIM attorneys Mark Lane and Kenneth Tilsen
merely want further disruption. A tentative accord is
announced whereby Russell Means would be bonded out of jail
and flown to Washington to attend a White House conference.
Once the conference begins, Means agrees to contact his
security man at Wounded Knee, Stanley Holder, who will
commence immediate disarmament.
April 5, 1973:
Russell Means, now in Washington, reneges on the April 4
agreement. The occupation continues.
April 17, 1973:
Wounded Knee infiltrator Frank Clear is struck by a stray
bullet that had penetrated the wall of a church. He dies eight
April 21 (on or about), 1973:
Civil rights activist Ray Robinson is shot during an argument
with AIM leaders. He later bleeds to death and is buried just
outside the village. Six others are rumored to be buried near
Robinson, victims of secret murders behind the barriers.
April 26, 1973:
Russell Means gives fund-raising speech at UCLA and is again
arrested the next day in Los Angeles.
April 27, 1973:
During one of the fiercest gun battles of the occupation,
Lakota Buddy Lamont is fatally wounded by government fire.
April 29, 1973: The
Wounded Knee Trading Post burns to the ground.
May 5, 1973: The FBI
confiscates a large cache of food and supplies destined for
the village. The death of Buddy Lamont has a demoralizing
effect on the occupiers. Without power, water, or functioning
toilets, the militants agree to a truce that will end the
May 8, 1973:
Dispossession is affected. The American flag is raised after a
short ceremony near the 1890 mass grave.
February 12, 1974:
The Wounded Knee trial of Russell Means and Dennis Banks opens
in Saint Paul. Judge Fred Nichol presides over the case. Three
months before the trial began, Judge Nichol hosted defendant
Banks in his home, so that Banks could meet the judge’s
wife. This information is not made public until after the
September 12, 1974:
The Wounded Knee trial jurors are dismissed to deliberate the
case. One of the jurors falls ill and cannot continue.
September 16, 1974:
Alleging “government misconduct,” Judge Nichol dismisses
all charges against the defendants. A period of violence
engulfs the Pine Ridge Reservation.
October 10, 1974: At
an AIM encampment near Los Angeles, a taxi driver is murdered.
Two AIM members are acquitted of the crime May 24, 1978.
January 2, 1975: AIM
occupies an abandoned monastery near Gresham, Wisconsin. The
stand-off ends 34 days later. Later that year, part of the
monastery is severely damaged by fire.
March 1, 1975:
Martin Montileaux is shot in the throat following an argument
with Russell Means and Richard Marshall in a men’s room
stall at a bar in Scenic, South Dakota. Montileaux later dies
from his injury.
March 12, 1975:
After being confronted by AIM leaders, Douglas Durham
announces at a press conference that he is a paid FBI
informant. Durham witnessed Banks’s visit to Judge
Nichol’s home in Sioux Falls.
March 14, 1975:
Judge Nichol recuses himself from hearing Wounded Knee cases.
March 25, 1975:
Jeannette Bissonette is shot to death while sitting in a car
on property owned by Tribal Chairman Richard Wilson’s
brother. Royer Pfersick is attacked by Leonard Crow Dog at
Crow Dog’s home on the Rosebud Reservation. Throughout the
rest of the year, Pine Ridge and the surrounding areas are
besieged by shootings, brawls, and murders.
June 5, 1975: Carter
Camp, Stan Holder, and Leonard Crow Dog are found guilty of
abducting, confining, and beating four postal inspectors
during the Wounded Knee occupation.
June 6-18, 1975:
Anna Mae is interrogated by Leonard Peltier at gunpoint at the
AIM National Convention in Farmington, New Mexico.
June 23, 1975: On a
ranch near Batesland, South Dakota, two youths are threatened,
robbed, and beaten by four perpetrators, one of whom is Pine
Ridge resident Jimmy Eagle.
June 25, 1975: Teddy
Pourier is arrested and charged with participating in the
beating. FBI Special Agents Ron Williams and Jack Coler,
accompanied by BIA police officer Glen Little Bird and trainee
Robert Ecoffey, search the White Clay area for Eagle. After
interviewing local residents and observing several young men
near the Jumping Bull ranch, the officers decide to resume the
search the next day. Upon leaving the area, the officers
question three youths seen walking near the road. All three
give false names, and are taken into custody. None is
identified as Jimmy Eagle.
June 26, 1975:
Agents Williams and Coler resume the search for Eagle. They
return to the Jumping Bull compound where wanted fugitive
Leonard Peltier opens fire on them. Other shooters join in,
and soon, both Agents are wounded. Along with Peltier’s
cousin, Robert Robideau, and a third man, Dino Butler, Peltier
approaches the Agents and finishes them off. Peltier later
boasts of shooting Agent Williams in the face at point-blank
range. AIM member Joe Stuntz is shot and killed in the pursuit
of Peltier and his accomplices. A massive manhunt begins.
July 26, 1975: Banks
is convicted on Custer riot charges and sentenced to fifteen
years. He flees to California. There, Governor Jerry Brown
grants him sanctuary from South Dakota extradition.
August 5, 1975: Crow
Dog is sentenced to five years for his role in the Wounded
Knee postal inspector incident. He is given a suspended
sentence pending good behavior. Carter Camp and Stan Holder
fail to appear for sentencing and become fugitives.
September 2, 1975:
Crow Dog viciously assaults two Indian men and confines them
for hours at his ranch on the Rosebud Reservation.
September 5, 1975:
The FBI raids Crow Dog’s ranch. Several people are arrested,
including Anna Mae Aquash, for weapons possession. Anna Mae is
questioned about her knowledge of the Bissonette killing.
September 10, 1975:
A car carrying explosives and driven by Robert Robideau blows
up on a highway near Wichita, Kansas. The weapon used to
murder Agents Coler and Williams, an AR-15, is recovered from
November 14, 1975:
Fugitive Dennis Banks, driving a motor home, along with
fugitive Leonard Peltier, Ka-Mook Banks, and Anna Mae Aquash,
is pulled over by an Oregon State Trooper. AIM members Russell
Redner and Kenneth Loud Hawk are following the motor home in a
white station wagon carrying 350 pounds of dynamite. Banks,
still behind the wheel of the motor home, opens fire on the
officer. Banks speeds away from the scene and abandons the
vehicle a short distance away. Peltier escapes on foot.
Several illegal weapons and bomb-making materials are
recovered from the vehicles. Ka-Mook and Anna Mae, along with
Loud Hawk and Redner, are placed under arrest. Anna Mae falls
under increasing suspicion that she may have tipped off law
enforcement. AIM leaders fear she is cooperating behind bars.
December 10, 1975:
Anna Mae is taken from the Denver home of Troy Lynn Yellowwood
by John Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud and put in the back of
Theda Clark’s red Pinto hatchback. Several witnesses observe
that Anna Mae is bound and carried against her will.
December 11, 1975:
Anna Mae is taken to the offices of the Wounded Knee Legal
Defense Offense Committee in Rapid City. She is interrogated
by Lorlie DeCora-Means and Madonna Gilbert, members of the
Means clan. WKLDOC lawyer Bruce Ellison is said to be taking
part in the questioning. Ted Means, Clyde Bellecourt, Tom Poor
Bear, and legal aides Candy Hamilton, Kathy James, and Toby
and Lucky Hollander are present. Hamilton later testifies that
earlier in the day, Ellison had told Thelma Rios-Conroy that
Anna Mae was being held at the WKLDOC office. According to News
From Indian Country sources, Ellison is said to have
encouraged the idea that Anna Mae was an informant. Anna Mae
is moved to two residences owned by Thelma Rios-Conroy, where
she is allegedly raped and assaulted by John Graham.
December 12, 1975:
Anna Mae is again put in the back of the Pinto. Theda Clark,
Arlo Looking Cloud, and John Graham drive her to the Rosebud
Reservation home of Bill Means. AIM members Ted Means, David
Hill, and Clyde Bellecourt are present and confer. Russell
Means, on trial in Sioux Falls, is rumored to be staying at a
home in Wanblee, South Dakota. Anna Mae is taken to the home
of Vine Richard “Dick” and Cleo Marshall in Allen, South
Dakota. Dick Marshall, Russell Means’s friend and bodyguard,
is given a note that tells him to “take care of this
baggage.” Cleo refuses to keep Anna Mae. Dick Marshall
allegedly gives the murder weapon to Arlo. Later that night,
Clark, Looking Cloud, and Graham drive Anna Mae to a remote
part of the reservation near Wanblee. Looking Cloud and Graham
force Anna Mae out of the car and drag her to a Cliff. Graham
allegedly shoots her in the head.
December 15, 1975:
Russell Means is convicted in Sioux Falls in connection with
his role in the Custer riot but is free on bond.
January 6, 1976:
Dennis Banks is arrested for several alleged offenses and
bonds out of jail.
February 6, 1976:
Leonard Peltier is arrested in Hinton, Alberta, Canada.
February 24, 1976:
The body of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash is found by a rancher. The
coroner, Dr. O. Brown, declares the cause of death to be
exposure. Dennis Banks phones his wife, Ka-Mook, and informs
her Anna Mae has been found.
March 2, 1976: The
yet unidentified body of Anna Mae is buried at the Holy Rosary
March 3, 1976: The
FBI Latent Fingerprint Division identifies the victim as Anna
Mae Pictou Aquash.
March 8, 1976: FBI
ASAC Norman Zigrossi asks for exhumation of the body. The same
day, WKLDOC attorney Bruce Ellison also files for exhumation.
Ellison appears at the FBI office inquiring about the autopsy.
March 10, 1976: A
second autopsy reveals a bullet wound in the back of the head.
Death is ruled a homicide.
March 14, 1976: Anna
Mae is buried at an Oglala grave site. AIM leaders are
no-shows at her wake and funeral.
March 18, 1976:
First Federal Grand Jury convenes in Pierre, South Dakota.
WKLDOC attorney Bruce Ellison claims attorney/client
May 12, 1976:
Federal Judge Robert C. Belloni dismisses, with prejudice, all
charges against the Oregon defendants in the motor home
arrest. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the
“with prejudice” aspect of the dismissal. The government
later appeals, and the charges are reinstated.
May 17, 1976: WKLDOC
attorney Ken Tilsen mails Anna Mae’s wallet back to her
sisters in Nova Scotia with a letter that says the wallet came
to him “through a circuitous route.”
June 7, 1976: The
trial of Robert Robideau and Dean Butler opens in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa. The pair are charged with aiding and abetting
the murders of Agents Coler and Williams. Testimony brought
out during the trial casts doubt on the assumption that Anna
Mae Aquash was an FBI informant. On July 16, the jury returns
verdicts of not guilty.
August 6, 1976:
Russell Means is acquitted of murdering Martin Mountileaux.
Richard Marshall is convicted in April. Marshall later
confesses to the crime and serves 24 years in prison. He is
paroled in 2000.
December 16, 1976:
Under extradition to the U.S., Leonard Peltier is transferred
from Vancouver to Rapid City.
March 4, 1977:
Leonard Peltier goes on trial for the murder of Agents Coler
and William in Fargo, North Dakota.
April 18, 1977:
Peltier is found guilty of two counts of aiding and abetting
murder in the first degree and is sentenced to two consecutive
April 10, 1979:
Peltier arrives at Lompoc Prison, California, after being
transferred from Marion Federal Penitentiary in Illinois.
July 20, 1979:
Peltier escapes from Lompoc. A young inmate, 20-year-old
Dallas Thundershield, is shot and killed during the escape.
July 25, 1979:
Leonard Peltier is captured in the hills of Santa Maria,
California. Eventually, he is transferred to Leavenworth
February 4, 1980:
Leonard Peltier is sentenced to seven additional years, over
his two consecutive life terms, for escaping from prison and
carrying a weapon.
August 6, 1980:
Judge James A. Redden, ruling in favor of the government,
refuses to dismiss charges against Redner, Loud Hawk, and
Banks in the Oregon motor home stop.
June 30, 1980: The
U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Black Hills of South Dakota
were illegally taken from the Lakota people. The decision
calls for a cash settlement, an amount as of June, 2007,
exceeding three quarters of a billion dollars (with accrued
interest) in unclaimed restitution.
July 29, 1982: In a
written opinion for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Stephen Reinhardt
rejects the appeals of Banks, Loud Hawk, and Redner to have
the Oregon charges dismissed.
Early 1983: Peter
Matthiessen releases his book In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.
It is roundly proclaimed as an authentic and thoroughly
researched history of the American Indian Movement that also
vindicates Leonard Peltier.
May 21, 1983: Judge
Redden again dismisses firearms charges against the Oregon
motor home defendants. Again, the government appeals.
October 8, 1984:
Dennis Banks comes out of hiding to face arrest and
arraignment for his role in the Custer riot. Judge Redden
sentences Banks to five years non-reporting probation.
February 17, 1990:
Author Peter Matthiessen meets Peltier’s alibi, the hooded
Mr. X. Matthiessen is completely taken in by the ruse, later
exposed by Dino Butler. After prevailing in a defamation suit
by Bill Janklow and David Price, Matthiessen releases a second
edition of his book in 1991 which includes an Epilogue,
several revisions, and the interview with Mr. X.
April 18, 1991: In a
letter to Senator Daniel Inouye, Judge Gerald Heaney argues
that releasing Leonard Peltier from prison would promote a
September 22, 1991:
CBS’s 60 Minutes airs the video of Matthiessen interviewing
Mr. X, a man who, even behind a close-fitting cloth over his
face, bears a resemblance to AIM member David Hill.
November 3, 1999:
Russell Means and Ward Churchill conduct a news conference in
Denver in which they accuse the FBI of involvement in the
Aquash murder. Means admits that Aquash was taken to his
brother’s (Bill Means) house, on the night she was murdered.
February 6, 2004:
Arlo Looking Cloud is found guilty of aiding and abetting in
the first-degree murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. He is
sentenced to life in prison. In 2008, he is rumored to have
testified before a grand jury.
June 26, 2007: The
Supreme Court of British Columbia orders the extradition of
John Graham Patton to the United States to stand trial for the
murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. The trial is scheduled for
October 6, 2008 but is postponed after the indictment in ruled
insufficient. The trial is rescheduled for February 23, 2009.
August 20, 2008:
Vine Richard Marshall is indicted for aiding and abetting the
murder of Anna Mae Aquash. He is scheduled to stand trial with
Graham February 23, 2009.
Mafia Perpetrators, Facilitators, and Victims
Mae Pictou Aquash – A Mik’maq Indian from Nova
Scotia murdered by order of AIM leaders who mistakenly
believed her to be an FBI informant. Aquash was one of the few
AIM members who was alcohol and drug free, and who genuinely
held the beliefs and ideals AIM should have aspired to.
Banks – Co-founder of the American Indian Movement.
Under his direction and influence, AIM grew from a small group
of Native American advocates to a federally funded oligarchy
of special pleaders. Showdowns and shakedowns marked an
increasingly violent series of confrontations designed to
extract atonement dollars used to purchase weapons and provide
income for the AIM leadership, all to the detriment of their
Bellecourt – AIM security chief who allegedly
ordered the execution of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Along with
his brother Clyde, Vernon never stood trial for his alleged
involvement. Vernon passed away in October of 2007.
Churchill – Former Professor of Indian Studies at
the University of Colorado at Boulder, Churchill has written
several books critical of America. He caused a stir after
posting an essay on the internet in which he likened the Trade
Tower victims of September 11, 2001, to “little Eichmans”
and elevated the suicide bombers to “combat support teams”
hitting a legitimate target. More recently, the professor was
fired after being found guilty of plagiarism, falsified
scholarship, and falsified claims of Indian ancestry. Two of
his books critical of the FBI, Agents of Repression,
and The COINTELPRO Papers, have been shown to be
replete with fabrications.
Looking Cloud – Along with AIM members Theda Clark
and John Graham, Looking Cloud allegedly carried out Vernon
Bellecourt’s order to kill Aquash in December of 1975. Her
body was discovered in February of 1976 at the bottom of a
bluff near Wanblee, South Dakota. She had been shot in the
head. In February, 2004, Looking Cloud was convicted of aiding
and abetting in the murder. On June 26, 2007, the Supreme
Court of British Columbia ordered Graham’s extradition to
the United States. AIM members fear Graham will cooperate with
authorities in order to avoid a lifetime in prison.
Crow Dog – AIM medicine man and spiritual advisor
who sanctified violence by engaging in or encouraging
beatings, shootings, and murders. Crow Dog was one of the few
AIM leaders who actually served time for participating in
Wounded Knee-related beatings and assaults.
Ellison – Leonard Peltier’s long-standing lawyer
and defender. Ellison has been implicated in the murder of
Anna Mae Pictou Aquash by several AIM members who place him at
meetings where Aquash’s fate was discussed. When questioned
before grand juries, Ellison has repeatedly invoked his Fifth
Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Garment – One of President Nixon’s chief
advisors, Garment adopted a strategy of appeasement,
capitulation, and delay when dealing with AIM violence.
Garment promoted the idea that AIM members who vandalized the
BIA building in Washingon in November of 1972 should be let
off the hook and compensated for travel expenses. As one of
Nixon’s key advisors in the AIM takeover of Wounded Knee,
Garment was partly responsible for the government’s slow
response in ousting the invaders. Seventy one days later, the
village lay in ruins and several lives were lost.
Gerald Heaney – Judge Heaney of the Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals was instrumental in confirming Peltier’s
murder convictions but has since advocated freeing Peltier as
a means to promote “healing.” Judge Heaney has suggested
the law enforcement agencies overreacted to the Wounded Knee
takeover and that the government should somehow share the
blame for Peltier’s heinous crimes. The judge,
unfortunately, played right into the hands of propagandists
who use his public remarks to undermine justice and promote a
series of lies and distortions.
Matthiessen – Acclaimed author of the bestselling In
the Spirit of Crazy Horse, a falsified history of AIM and
Leonard Peltier’s claim of innocence. Matthiessen was conned
into believing, and thus writing about, Peltier’s stories of
an FBI assassination plot aimed at eliminating him while he
was in prison. Matthiessen was also fooled by Peltier’s
claim that a mysterious figure known as “Mr. X” was the
real killer of the two FBI Agents. Though filled with
countless distortions and falsehoods, In the Spirit of
Crazy Horse is considered by many to be a book
“meticulously researched.” Matthiessen cites as his main
sources Leonard Peltier, Bruce Ellison, and Robert Robideau,
Peltier’s cousin. Robideau claims to know who conspired
against Anna Mae Aquash and has implicated Bruce Ellison and
former AIM spokesman John Trudell in that ensuing
Edward McManus – Judge McManus presided over the
federal trial of Robert Robideau and Dean Butler, two men
accused of aiding and abetting in the murders for which
Peltier was convicted. Like his colleague Judge Fred Nichol,
Judge McManus allowed his courtroom to be turned into a
political forum which enabled defense lawyers to chase down a
number of government conspiracy theories. While the judge was
away during a trial hiatus, his unsequestered jury was deluged
with a pro-AIM media campaign. After being twice deadlocked,
the jury returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of
Means – Leader of the American Indian Movement
whose main contribution to the group consisted of fiery
rhetoric, escalation, and brinkmanship. Means honed his skills
as an expert showman who excelled at fooling members of the
media. Behind the scenes, he directed several violent actions,
most of which resulted in injury, loss of life, and
destruction of property.
Fred J. Nichol (deceased) – The chief federal judge
of South Dakota presided over the trial of Russell Means and
Dennis Banks following indictments over their role in the
raid, looting, and destruction of Wounded Knee village in
1973. Judge Nichol turned the trial of the two defendants into
a trial of the government by succumbing to political
pressures, unethical behavior, and a fear of being accused of
racism. In his home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Judge Nichol
held a secret meeting with Banks before the trial began. While
the jury was deliberating, he solicited an ex parte meeting
with the defense team where the group crafted a dismissal
order. Judge Nichol dismissed all eleven charges against the
defendants citing “government misconduct” and a violation
of the Posse Comitatus Act. He later recused himself from
hearing any further Wounded Knee related cases after his
meeting with Banks became public.
Peltier – AIM’s preeminent symbol of cowardice
and violence. With a reputation as “AIM muscle,” Peltier
aspired to be Dennis Banks’s bodyguard. According to several
Native Americans, Peltier interrogated Anna Mae Aquash at
gunpoint in 1975. Peltier serves two consecutive life
sentences for the brutal slayings of two FBI Special Agents in
June of 1975. Both Agents were shot in the face at point blank
range. Peltier later bragged about the killings, yet managed
to convince several politicians, authors, entertainers, world
leaders, and human rights activists of his innocence. Although
his support has begun to wane, Peltier still enjoys a
worldwide following among true believers, political
extremists, and self-anointed elites.
Ray Robinson - Noted civil rights leader murdered by
AIM members during the occupation of Wounded Knee village.
Robinson’s body is buried somewhere near the village ruins,
still waiting to be unearthed, as are the bodies of other
victims rumored to have been murdered during the occupation.
Tilsen – Former member of the American Communist
Party and founder of the Wounded Knee Legal Defense Offense
Committee. Tilsen is suspected of involvement in the murder
cover-up of Aquash after acquiring the victim’s wallet.
Tilsen, like Ellison, blames the FBI for her murder.
On a recent visit to Georgia, I
wandered into a public library in search of evidence of
academic distortion. It was easy enough to find. There, in the
juvenile reference section, I discovered a two volume set
entitled Native North American Biography (Edited by
Sharon Malinowski and Simon Glickman, UXL, Gale Research, ITP,
New York, 1996). A collage of admirable Native personalities
graced the cover; the familiar face of actor Graham Greene
appears next to the alluring poet, Louise Erdrich, shadowed by
a stern-looking Sitting Bull. Further attracting the young
reader is the assurance that this thoroughly researched
reference profiles 112 Natives, all of them notable for their
achievements in a wide range of pursuits, from civil rights to
politics to literature.
While most of the profiles are
reasonably accurate, the historical blinders are hard to miss
when the American Indian Movement is mentioned. Prominent
among the listed achievers are Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt,
Russell Means, and last but not least, Leonard Peltier. As you
might have guessed, the accolades afforded these men are
enough to make one gag with disbelief. I expect this
encyclopedic volume can be found in thousands of libraries
across America, where it waits to infect the minds of our
children with the type of indoctrination most Americans would
find shocking. I suspect the glut of errors is unintentional,
and otherwise understandable, given the blow to truthfulness
that comes from relying on the work of Peter Matthiessen, Ward
Churchill, and Ken Stern. All three authors are credited in
these questionable entries, as are several other clearly
In an effort to help the
wayward editors of this 1996 edition of history, let us
examine a few excerpts and correct their mistakes, somewhat
tongue-in-cheek, but with the serious purpose of illustrating
how perverted the historical record has become. I offer this
service free of charge, with no expectation of recognition by
the Gale Research Group of how I might be, as they advertise,
“Changing the Way the World Learns.”
For the benefit of those who
might be offended by the truth, corrective inserts are
italicized. Otherwise, the warped version of history remains
as the editors would have us read and believe. All in all,
these passages, when corrected to 100%, do an admirable job of
summarizing AIM’s true legacy, perhaps for the first time.
To enhance the learning experience of our youth, I suggest
having two students read aloud; one reads the original passage
and the other adds the italicized correction. Let us begin
with the ringleaders, or leaders, if you prefer.
J. Banks, pps. 23- 27:
“A founder and current field
director of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Dennis J.
Banks has been a tireless activist for Native rights, often in
the face of his own outright hostility and
violence... As a leader of the organization, he was at the
head of some of the major revolutionary actions of the 1970s,
such as an occupation of Alcatraz and the 1973 takeover of the
town of Wounded Knee, where under his direction and
leadership, at least seven people were rumored to have been
murdered. In trouble with the law again, this time for
his political activities, including bombings and
shootings, Banks spent several years as a fugitive before
serving more time in prison.
The fall of 1972 saw Banks...
leading the Trail of Broken Treaties march across the United
States to Washington, D.C. This symbolic march followed the
legacy of broken promises made to Indians by the American
government. Although meetings with the administration had not
been prearranged, federal officials refused to do anything
but talk with AIM leaders. Since they were also denied
appropriate housing, which had been promised them by one
of their own leaders, they went to the BIA building to
protest. When riot squads tried to evict them, they occupied
the offices for five days. Treated poorly and never given a
fair hearing in Washington, mostly because they planned
their arrival a few days before a national election when few
politicians would be in town, the group was rightly
blamed for damages to the BIA building and paid $67,000
cash as a payoff to leave town. After they left, they
became the targets of brave men and women of the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which used spy tactics,
that is to say, informants, to impede AIM’s unlawful
On February 28, or 27,
1973, the historic takeover of Wounded Knee began, where
innocent families were forcibly evicted from their homes,
never to return. ...In the occupation that followed,
2,000 Indians and various fringe groups from around the
country under the leadership of AIM withstood APCs,
which some ill-informed editors refer to as tanks, not
so heavy night-flare artillery, imaginary
helicopter strafing, and roadblocks. The siege did not end
until May 9, or May 8, if one cares about historical
accuracy. At the national convention in White Oak,
Oklahoma, that year, boycotted by most every other Indian
group in the country, Banks—widely recognized for his violence,
charisma and communication skills—was elected leader of
On February 12, 1974, an
eight-month trial began. Banks was acquitted of the ten felony
changes, (sic) lodged against him because a
corrupt judge alleged that the FBI, which some authors refer
to as the prosecution had used illegal wiretaps,
in reality a single open telephone line, installed to
facilitate negotiations with no expectation of privacy,
to listen to not very private phone conversations as
well as AIM’s falsified documents and also
unproven perjured—that is, deliberately
lying—witnesses; but as it turned out, the only liars
were the judge, the defendants, and their lawyers.
Banks urged AIM members to
discipline themselves so as not to discredit the movement, such
as by eliminating members thought to be informers. His
efforts were thwarted by the FBI, but not before an
innocent mother of two was murdered, apparently with his
knowledge and consent. Bad publicity about Banks was
deliberately instigated by Douglass Durham, an infiltrator who
consistently outsmarted the AIM leadership and who
cleverly had attached himself to an unsuspecting
Banks as his pilot and bodyguard. Durham admitted on March 5,
1975, in Des Moines, Iowa, that he was an informant for the
FBI. The leaders of the FBI, including SAC
Trimbach and his team of intrepid Agents, had worked
tirelessly to undercut AIM’s illegal and murderous
activities masquerading as Indian rights activism.
...on July 26, 1975, a South Dakota court
found Banks guilty for his involvement in the Custer
courthouse riot. Rather than serve a 15-year sentence, he fled
to California, where an easily fooled Governor Edmund
G. Brown granted him amnesty until his term expired in
Means, pp. 245-250:
“In February 1972, Means led
1,300 angry Indians into the small town of Gordon, Nebraska,
to protest the suspicious death of Raymond Yellow Thunder. The
demonstration convinced town authorities, that in order to
appease an angry mob, they needed to cave to demands to
conduct a second autopsy (examination of a body after death)
which had literally nothing to do with the case that
eventually led to the indictment of two white townsmen,
both of whom lived out of town, for manslaughter...
Violence against Indians by AIM members increased all
over the country that summer, leading to further defensiveness
among local Indian people. Many Native Americans,
especially on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, felt
they needed to arm themselves against murderous attacks from
At the annual Rosebud Sun Dance
celebration, Means helped plan a mass demonstration to occur
in Washington, D.C., during the week of the 1972 presidential
election... A series of cross-country caravans called ‘The
Trail of Broken Treaties’... reached Washington on November
Feeling that the government
officials were pushy and didn’t take the Indians seriously,
Means then led the group to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
There they successfully seized and vandalized the
offices and renamed the building the Native American Embassy.
On November 6, a U.S. District Court judge ordered that the
group be forced out. Angry and frustrated, the Indians
destroyed furniture, priceless Indian artifacts, and
equipment and removed files they felt exploited Indian people—a
theft and destruction which seriously imperiled the land
claims of thousands of Native Americans....
On February 27, 1973, Means and
a group of nearly 200 armed supporters invaded, looted,
and occupied the community of Wounded Knee... More than a
month later, Means agreed to fly to Washington, D.C., to
negotiate an agreement to end the siege, but the government
refused to negotiate until all arms were laid down. Means,
who had earlier agreed to the terms, reneged, and refused
to surrender unconditionally and left the meeting... Highly
publicized in the national media, the ten-week siege became
known as ‘Wounded Knee II’ and won the sympathy and
support of many misguided non-Indians, including
several Hollywood personalities, to the Movement’s great
detriment and loss of credibility.
Means ran against Wilson in the
1974 election for tribal council president. He was under
federal indictment (charged with committing a crime against
the national government) for actions during the Wounded Knee
occupation and this was a good reason why he lost the
His trial opened February 12,
1974, and continued until September 16, when U.S. District
Court Judge Fred Nichol, in one of the most crooked
decisions ever to be handed down from a federal bench, dismissed
In 1975 Means was indicted for
a murder in a barroom brawl, more accurately
described as premeditated murder in a men’s room stall.
His lawyer, William Kunstler, who had been one of the defense
attorneys during the Wounded Knee trial, argued that the
government had created so much fear that Indians were armed in
self-defense, such as when Means entered the courtroom
surreptitiously armed and, by his own admission, prepared to
kill every member of the jury, should they make the mistake of
finding him guilty. Thankfully, [t]he jury acquitted
Means of the murder charge on August 6, 1976. He was convicted
of riot charges relating to the 1973 Custer demonstration and
served the paltry sentence of one month in jail. After
further mischief, his sentence for causing a ruckus in April,
1974, at the Sioux Falls Courthouse (while the Wounded Knee
trial was in progress) was reinstated. Means served one year
of a four-year sentence in the South Dakota State
Leonard Peltier, pp. 274-279:
“A non-leader in the
American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s, Leonard
Peltier is serving two well-deserved consecutive life
sentences… convicted of killing two Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) agents in 1975 at the Pine Ridge
Reservation in South Dakota. Peltier claims he is innocent of
these killings, and many uninformed people consider
him a political prisoner, that is, they believe he was jailed
for his virtually non-existent political activities
rather than for the crimes of which he was convicted. With the
support of a large and diverse group of hopelessly
misguided individuals and organizations, Peltier works
for his release from prison and for a facade of
justice and improved conditions for all Native Americans. His
supporters include hundreds of tribes who should know
better, ignorant lawmakers in the United States
and Canada, the often self-serving human-rights
organization Amnesty International, religious and
hopelessly naive leaders such as South African Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and the British Archbishop of Canterbury, Nobel
Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, a Belgian princess, and a
U.S. Court of Appeals judge, Gerald Heaney, who has been
repeatedly forced to admit that Peltier’s arguments are
In February 1973, 300
traditionals (ostensibly Native Americans who wished
to retain Indian tradition and identity, but in reality
hundreds of Indian and non-Indian radicals, most of them
reservation outsiders) and AIM members, but
definitely not including (an incarcerated)
Peltier, occupied the village of Wounded Knee... A 71-day
siege opposed by the FBI, U.S. marshals (sic),
and BIA police ended after several lives were lost,
when U.S. government representatives agreed to investigate
conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation... The investigations
never took place, although Justice Department
attorneys and the FBI tried in earnest to find credible
evidence of civil rights violations. An estimated 300
unexplained murders or ‘accidents’ occurred during this
period, a figure later exposed as a wild exaggeration and
a tool for AIM’s hate-inspiring agenda. At the supposed
request of Oglala Sioux chiefs who feared for their people in
the lawlessness at Pine Ridge, Peltier and six other AIM
members returned in March 1975 to establish a so-called
spiritual camp near Oglala, where a large cache of weapons
and explosives were stockpiled to protect only the small
number of people allied with AIM, in a crazy scheme to take
over the reservation.
In the late morning of June 26,
1975, FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler entered the
Jumping Bull property near Oglala, not supposedly, but
lawfully, to serve a warrant for robbery and alleged
torture, on a young Oglala named Jimmy Eagle. There were
gunshots, allegedly initiated by Leonard Peltier, and
the two agents, also allegedly by Peltier’s hand,
and a young Coeur d’Alene Indian, Joe (Killsright) Stuntz,
by a BIA officer who fired in self-defense, were killed.
FBI agents, BIA police, and other law enforcement agencies
moved in, many of them hours later, and the standoff
continued for the rest of that day after the three alleged
killers emerged from hiding in a culvert. While police
and FBI agents searched for the right someone to
charge with the murder of the FBI agents (no one has yet been,
nor ever will be, charged with the justified shooting
and death of Joe Stuntz), the U.S. Civil Rights Commission was
called in to investigate the FBI’s search tactics,
whatever that means.
In November 1975, Peltier,
Jimmy Eagle, Bob Robideau, and Darrelle Dean (Dino) Butler
were indicted for the deaths of agents Williams and Coler.
Peltier had fled to Canada where he never asked for
asylum (protection from arrest) because he was trying to
avoid being arrested, figuring he had little chance of a
fair trial, if the term ‘fair’ means the guilty go
free. In February 1976, he was arrested in Alberta,
Canada, and extradition hearings soon began in Vancouver. A
Lakota woman named Myrtle Poor Bear claimed she’d seen
Peltier commit the murders. After being threatened by AIM
warriors, she later changed her story, saying that an FBI
agent had said she might meet the same violent end as AIM
member Anna Mae Aquash… who had been found murdered by
her AIM friends, shot in the head on the Pine Ridge
Reservation, strangely enough, right after
Peltier’s arrest. Aquash, in fear for her life, had
earlier told the FBI she knew nothing about the murders of the
agents and would not cooperate with them.
In the summer of 1976, Dino
Butler and Bob Robideau were shamefully acquitted of
the murders of the FBI agents on the grounds of self-defense,
and in September charges were dropped against Jimmy Eagle for
lack of evidence. That left Peltier as the clear
perpetrator, and on December 18, only partly on
the basis of Myrtle Poor Bear’s story, he was extradited to
the United States.
Peltier’s murder trial began
in Fargo, North Dakota, on March 4, 1977... The defense was
not allowed to present the majority of its case, which
dealt with historical issues of treaty violations having
nothing to do with Peltier’s murderous rampage. No one
testified in court to having seen Peltier commit the murders,
mostly because the teenage boys who witnessed the crime were
intimidated and threatened into silence...
In a complete waste of
taxpayers’ money, Peltier’s lawyers appealed his
conviction before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight
Circuit in December 1977. The appeal was denied on the grounds
of the evidence of the murder weapon... In April 1979, Peltier
was transferred to Lompoc Prison in California. Upon learning
of a clever way to fool unsuspecting sympathizers, Peltier
and friends hatched a phony plan to kill him, he and two,
not three other inmates (one of whom needlessly died
in the attempt), escaped from Lompoc... He was tried,
convicted, and given seven additional years in prison for the
escape, but one of the conviction charges, the
escape conviction, was not reversed but
rather reinstated after an en banc hearing was ordered by
the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, having bought in to
the possibility of a crazy assassin story...
Over 20 million people
worldwide, believing themselves adequately informed,
have signed petitions and written letters of support for convicted
killer Peltier. Incredibly, [t]here are some 150
support groups throughout the United States, and support
organizations also exist in Canada, Europe, Australia, and
Japan. After Peltier’s final, unsuccessful appeal, followed
by many more final, unsuccessful appeals, his lead
attorney, Ramsey Clark, who admitted privately that
Peltier is guilty as hell, submitted a formal
application for executive clemency on November 22, 1993...
In the epilogue of the 1991
edition of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the most
well-known and now thoroughly discredited account of
the events on the Pine Ridge Reservation, writer Peter
Matthiessen described meeting a hooded someone
who sounded a lot like AIM member David Hill, an
individual—‘X’—who maintains that he actually shot the
FBI agents... The story later collapsed, as did
In 1986, in a grand
effrontery to the civilized world, Peltier received
Spain’s Human Rights Award for ‘defending the historical
and cultural rights of his people against the genocide of his
race,’ thereby bringing disgrace and ridicule to all
future recipients of that award. In 1993, he was
nominated for the Nobel Peace Price, forever diminishing
the significance of this award as well. From Leavenworth
Prison, and later from the federal penitentiary in
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Peltier directs the efforts of
the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee (LPDC), established in
1985 to lobby support for his release. He is involved as
the straw man in social and charitable causes and the
Native American rights movement. He is also a painter whose
creations are owned by the likes of Jane Fonda and other
Hollywood diviners of virtue.
Yet, as Peltier has
written in the LPDC’s newsletter, Spirit of Crazy Horse,
now known as just Spirit, or perhaps more appropriately,
Spiritless, ‘I have had to stare at photographs of my
children to see them grow up, much like Jack Coler’s
children have had to stare at pictures of their murdered
father. I have had to rely on restricted telephone calls
to be linked to my mother and grandchildren. Jack
Coler’s children will never again receive a call from their
father. I miss having dinner with friends. Ron
Williams will never again have dinner with his friends. I
miss taking walks in the woods. I miss gardening. I miss
babies, I miss my freedom.’” There is justice
in this world.
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