“For America to Live,
Europe Must Die”
The following speech was given by Russell Means in July 1980, before several thousand people who had assembled from all over the world for the Black Hills International Survival Gathering, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is [said to be] Russell Means’s most famous speech.
The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.So what you read here is not what I have written. It is what I have said and someone else has written down. I will allow this because it seems that the only way to communicate with the white world is through the dead, dry leaves of a book. I don’t really care whether my words reach whites or not. They have already demonstrated through their history that they cannot hear, cannot see; they can only read (of course, there are exceptions, but the exceptions only prove the rule). I’m more concerned with the American Indian people, students and others, who have begun to be absorbed into the white world through universities and other institutions. But even then it’s a marginal sort of concern. It’s very possible to grow into a red face with a white mind; and if that’s a person’s individual choice, so be it, but I have no use for them. This is part of the process of cultural genocide being waged by Europeans against American Indian peoples’ today. My concern is with those American Indians who choose to resist this genocide, but may be confused as to how to proceed.
(You notice I use the term American Indian rather than Native American or Native indigenous people or Amerindian when referring to my people.) There has been some controversy about such terms, and frankly, at this point, I find it absurd. Primarily it seems that American Indian is being rejected as European in origin – which is true. But all the above terms are European in origin; the only non-European way is to speak of Lakota – or, more precisely, of Oglala, Brule, et. – and of the Dineh, the Miccousukee, and all the rest of the several hundred correct tribal names.
(There is also some confusion about the word Indian , a mistaken belief that it refers somehow to the country, India. When Columbus washed up on the beach in the Caribbean, he was not looking for a country called India. Europeans were calling that country Hindustan in 1492. Look it up on the old maps. Columbus called the tribal people he met “Indio,” from the Italian in dio , meaning “in God.”)
It takes a strong effort on the part of each American Indian not to become Europeanized. The strength for this effort can only come from the traditional ways, the traditional values that our elders retain. It must come from the hoop, the four directions, the relations: it cannot come from the pages of a book or a thousand books. No European can ever teach a Lakota to be Lakota, a Hopi to be Hopi. A master’s degree in “Indian Studies” or in “education” or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into the traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider.
I should be clear about something here, because there seems to be some confusion about it. When I speak of Europeans or mental Europeans, I’m not allowing for false distinctions. I’m not saying that on the one hand there are the by-products of a few thousand years of genocidal, reactionary European intellectual development which is bad; and on the other hand there is some new revolutionary intellectual development which is good. I’m referring here to the so-called theories of Marxism and anarchism and “leftism” in general. I don’t believe these theories can be separated from the rest of the European intellectual tradition. It’s really just the same old song.
The process began much earlier. Newton, for example, “revolutionized” physics and the so-called natural science by reducing the physical universe to a linear mathematical equation.
Descartes did the same thing with culture. John Locke did it with politics, and Adam Smith did it with economics. Each one of these “thinkers” took a piece of the spirituality of human existence and converted it into a code, an abstraction. They picked up where Christianity ended: they “secularized” Christian religion, as the “scholars” like to say – and in doing so they made Europe more able and ready to act as an expansionist culture. Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three. Answer!.This is what has come to be termed “efficiency” in the European mind. Whatever is mechanical is perfect; whatever seems to work at the moment – that is, proves the mechanical model to be the right one – is considered correct, even when it is clearly untrue. This is why “truth” changes so fast in the European mind; the answers which result from such a process are only stopgaps, only temporary, and must be continuously discarded in favor of new stopgaps which support the mechanical models and keep them (the models) alive.
Hegel and Marx were heirs to the thinking of Newton, Descartes, Locke and Smith. Hegel finished the process of secularizing theology – and that is put in his own terms – he secularized the religious thinking through which Europe understood the universe. Then Marx put Hegel’s philosophy in terms of “materialism,” which is to say that Marx despiritualized Hegel’s work altogether. Again, this is in Marx’ own terms. And this is now seen as the future revolutionary potential of Europe. Europeans may see this as revolutionary, But American Indians see it simply as still more of that same old European conflict between being and gaining . The intellectual roots of a new Marxist form of European imperialism lie in Marx’ – and his followers’ – links to the tradition of Newton, Hegel, and the others.
Being is a spiritual proposition. Gaining is a material act. Traditionally, American Indians have always attempted to be the best people they could. Part of that spiritual process was and is to give away wealth, to discard wealth in order not to gain. Material gain is an indicator of false status among traditional people, while it is “proof that the system works” to Europeans. Clearly, there are two completely opposing views at issue here, and Marxism is very far over to the other side from the American Indian view. But lets look at a major implication of this; it is not merely an intellectual debate.
The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. And who seems most expert at dehumanizing other people? And why? Soldiers who have seen a lot of combat learn to do this to the enemy before going back into combat. Murderers do it before going out to commit murder. Nazi SS guards did it to concentration camp inmates. Cops do it. Corporation leaders do it to the workers they send into uranium mines and steel mills. Politicians do it to everyone in sight. And what the process has in common for each group doing the dehumanizing is that it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. One of the Christian commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill,” at least not humans, so the trick is to mentally convert the victims into nonhumans. Then you can proclaim violation of your own commandment as a virtue.
In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it become virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the way victory and freedom are used to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. For example, a real-estate speculator may refer to “developing” a parcel of ground by opening a gravel quarry; development here means total, permanent destruction, with the earth itself removed. But European logic has gained a few tons of gravel with which more land can be “developed” through the construction of road beds. Ultimately, the whole universe is open – in the European view – to this sort of insanity.
Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans feel no sense of loss in this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being . No, satisfaction is measured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans like to call schools.But each new piece of that “progress” ups the ante out in the real world. Take fuel for the industrial machine as an example. Little more than two centuries ago, nearly everyone used wood -a replenishable, natural item- as fuel for the very human needs of cooking and staying warm. Along came the Industrial Revolution and coal became the dominant fuel, as production became the social imperative for Europe. Pollution began to become a problem in the cities, and the earth was ripped open to provide coal whereas wood had simply been gathered or harvested at no great expense to the environment. Later, oil became the major fuel, as the technology of production was perfected through a series of scientific “revolutions.” Pollution increased dramatically, and nobody yet knows what the environmental costs of pumping all that oil out of the ground will really be in the long run. Now there’s an “energy crisis,” and uranium is becoming the dominant fuel.
Capitalists, at least, can be relied upon to develop uranium as fuel only at the rate at which they can show a good profit. That’s their ethic, and maybe that will buy some time. Marxists, on the other hand, can be relied upon to develop uranium fuel as rapidly as possible simply because it’s the most “efficient” production fuel available. That’s their ethic, and I fail to see where it’s preferable. Like I said, Marxism is right smack in the middle of the European tradition. It’s the same old song.
There’s a rule of thumb that can be applied here. You cannot judge the real nature of a revolutionary doctrine on the basis of the changes it proposed to make within the European power structure and society. You can only judge it by the effect it will have on non-European peoples. This is because every revolution in European history has served to reinforce Europe’s tendencies and abilities to export destruction to other peoples, other cultures and the environment itself. I defy anyone to point out an example where this is not true.
So now we, as American Indian people, are asked to believe that a “new” European revolutionary doctrine such as Marxism will reverse the negative effect of European history on us. European power relations are to be adjusted once again, and that’s supposed to make things better for all of us. But what does this really mean?
Right now, today, we who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation are living in what white society has designated a “National Sacrifice Area.” What this means is that we have a lot of uranium deposits here, and white culture (not us) needs this uranium as energy production material. The cheapest, most efficient way for industry to extract and deal with the processing of this uranium is to dump the waste by-products right here at the digging sites. Right here where we live. This waste is radioactive and will make the entire region uninhabitable forever. This is considered by industry, and by the white society that created this industry, to be an “acceptable” price to pay for energy resource development. Along the way they also plan to drain the water table under this part of South Dakota as part of the industrial process, so the region becomes doubly uninhabitable. The same sort of thing is happening. The same sort of thing is happening down in the land of the Navajo and Hopi, up in the land of the Northern Cheyenne and Crow, and elsewhere. Thirty percent of the coal in the West and half of the uranium deposits in the United States have been found to lie under reservation land, so there is no way this can be called a minor issue.
We are resisting being turned into a National Sacrifice Area. We are resisting being turned into a national sacrifice people. The costs of this industrial process are not acceptable to us. It is genocide to dig uranium here and draw the water table – no more, no less.
Now let’s suppose that in our resistance to extermination we begin to seek allies (we have). Let’s suppose further that we were to take revolutionary Marxism at its word: that it intends nothing less than the complete overthrow of the European capitalist order which has presented this threat to our very existence. This would seem to be a natural alliance for American Indian people to enter into. After all, as the Marxists say, it is the capitalists who set us up to be a national sacrifice. This is true as far as it goes.
But, as I’ve tried to point out, this very “truth” is deceptive. Revolutionary Marxism is committed to even further perpetuation and perfection of the very industrial process which is destroying us all. It offers only to “redistribute” the results – the money, maybe – of this industrialization to a wider section of the population. It offers to take wealth from the capitalists and pass it around; but in order to do so, Marxism must maintain the industrial system. Once again, the power relations with European society will have to be altered, but once again the effects upon American Indian peoples here and non-Europeans elsewhere will remain the same. This much the same as when power was redistributed from the church to private business during the so-called bourgeois revolution. European society changed a bit, at least superficially, but its conduct toward non-Europeans continued as before. You can see what the American Revolution of 1776 did for American Indians. It’s the same old song.
Revolutionary Marxism, like industrial society in other forms, seeks to “rationalize” all people in relation to industry – maximum industry, maximum production. It is a materialist doctrine that despises the American Indian spiritual tradition, out cultures, our lifeways. Marx himself called up “precapitalists” and “primitive.” Precapitalist simply means that, in his view, we would eventually discover capitalism and become capitalists; we have always been economically retarded in Marxist terms. The only manner in which American Indian people could participate in a Marxist revolution would be to join the industrial system, to become factory workers, or “proletarians,” as Marx called them. The man was very clear about the fact that his revolution could occur only through the struggle of the proletariat, that the existence of a massive industrial system is a precondition of a successful Marxist society.
I think there is a problem with language here. Christians, capitalists, Marxists. All of them have been revolutionary in their own minds, but none of them really means revolution. What they really mean is a continuation. They do what they do in order that European culture can continue to exist and develop according to its needs.
So, in order for us to really join forces with Marxism, we American Indians would have to accept the national sacrifice of our homeland; we would have to commit cultural suicide and become industrialized and Europeanized.
At this point, I’ve got to stop and ask myself whether I’m being too harsh. Marxism has something of a history. Does this history bear out my observations? I look to the process of industrialization in the Soviet Union since 1920 and I see that these Marxists have done what it took the English Industrial Revolution 300 years to do; and the Marxists did it in 60 years. I see that the territory of the USSR used to contain a number of tribal peoples and they have been crushed to make way for the factories. The Soviets refer to this as “the National Question,” the question of whether the tribal peoples had a right to exist as people; and they decided the tribal peoples were an acceptable sacrifice to industrial needs. I look to China and I see the same thing. I look to Vietnam and I see Marxists imposing an industrial order and rooting out the indigenous tribal mountain people.
I hear a leading Soviet scientist saying that when the uranium is exhausted, then alternatives will be found. I see the Vietnamese taking over a nuclear power plant abandoned by the U.S. military. Have they dismantled and destroyed it? No, they are using it. I see China exploding nuclear bombs, developing nuclear reactors, and preparing a space program in order to colonize and exploit the planets the same as the Europeans colonized and exploited this hemisphere. It’s the same old song, but maybe with a faster tempo this time.
The statement of the Soviet scientists is very interesting. Does he know what this alternative energy source will be? No, he simply has faith. Science will find a way. I hear revolutionary Marxists saying that the destruction of the environment, pollution, and radiation will be controlled. And I see them act on their words. Do they know how these things will be controlled? No, they simply have faith. Science will find a way. Industrialization is fine and necessary. How do they know this? Faith. Science will find a way. Faith of this sort has always been known in Europe as religion. Science has become the new European religion for both capitalists and Marxists; they are truly inseparable; they are part and parcel of the same culture. So, in both theory and practice, Marxism demands that non-European peoples give up their values, their traditions, their cultural experience altogether. We will all be industrialized science addicts in a Marxist society.
I do not believe that capitalism itself is really responsible for the situation in which American Indians have been declared a national sacrifice. No, it is the European tradition; European culture itself is responsible. Marxism is just the latest continuation of this tradition, not a solution to it. To ally with Marxism is to ally with the very same forces that declare us an acceptable cost.
There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the other American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans – the European’s arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things – can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real.
Distilled to it’s basic terms, European faith – including the new faith in science – equals a belief that man is God. Europe has always sought a Messiah, whether that be the man Jesus Christ or the man Karl Marx or the man Albert Einstein. American Indians know this to be truly absurd. Humans are the weakest of all creatures, so weak that other creatures are willing to give up their flesh that we may live. Humans are able to survive only though the exercise of rationality since they lack the abilities of other creatures to gain food through the use of fang and claw.
But rationality is a curse since it can cause human beings to forget the natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do. We pray our thanks to the deer, our relations, for allowing us their flesh to eat; Europeans simply take the flesh for granted and consider the deer inferior. After all, Europeans consider themselves godlike in their rationalism and science. God is the Supreme Being; all else must be inferior.
All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, and the abusers will be eliminated. Things will come full circle, back to where they started. That’s revolution. And that’s a prophecy of my people, of the Hopi people and of other correct peoples.
American Indians have been trying to explain this to Europeans for centuries. But, as I said earlier, Europeans have proven themselves unable to hear. The natural order will win out, and the offenders will die out, the way deer die when they offend the harmony by over-populating a given region. It’s only a matter of time until what Europeans call “a major catastrophe of global proportions” will occur. It is the role of American Indian peoples, the role of all natural beings, to survive. A part of our survival is to resist. We resist not to overthrow a government or to take political power, but because it is natural to resist extermination, to survive. We don’t want power over white institutions; we want white institutions to disappear. That’s revolution.
American Indians are still in touch with these realities – the prophecies, the traditions of our ancestors. We learn from the elders, from nature, from the powers. And when the catastrophe is over, we American Indian people will survive; harmony will be reestablished. That’s revolution.
At this point, perhaps I should be very clear about another matter, one which should already be clear as a result of what I’ve said. But confusion breeds easily these days, so I want to hammer home this point. When I use the term European , I’m not referring to a skin color or a particular genetic structure. What I’m referring to is a mind-set, a worldview that is a product of the development of European culture. Peoples are not genetically encoded to hold this outlook, they are acculturated to hold it. The same is true for American Indians or for the members of any other culture.
It is possible for an American Indian to share European values, A European worldview. We have a term for these people; we call them “apples” – red on the outside (genetics) and white on the inside (their values). Other groups have similar terms: Black have their “oreos;” Hispanos have “coconuts” and so on. And, as I said before, there are exceptions to the white norm: people who are white on the outside, but not white inside. I’m not sure what term should be applied to them other than “human beings.”
What I’m putting out here is not a racial proposition but a cultural proposition. Those who ultimately advocate and defend the realities of European culture and its industrialism are my enemies. Those who resist it, who struggle against it, are my allies, the allies of American Indian people. And I don’t give a damn what their skin color happens to be. Caucasian is the white term for the white race: European is an outlook I oppose.
The Vietnamese Communists are not exactly what you might consider genetic Caucasians, but they are now functioning as mental Europeans. The same holds true for the Chinese Communists, for Japanese capitalists or Bantu Catholics or Peter “MacDollar” down at the Navajo reservation or Dickie Wilson up here at Pine Ridge. There is no racism involved in this, just an acknowledgment of the mind and spirit that make up culture.
In Marxist terms I suppose I’m a “cultural nationalist.” I work first with my people, the traditional Lakota people, because we hold a common worldview and share an immediate struggle. Beyond this, I work with other traditional American Indian peoples, again because of a certain commonality in worldview and form of struggle. Beyond that, I work with anyone who has experience the colonial oppression of Europe and who resists its cultural and industrial totality. Obviously, this includes genetic Caucasians who struggle to resist the dominant norms of European culture. The Irish and the Basques come immediately to mind, but there are many others.
I work primarily with my own people, with my own community. Other people who hold non-European perspectives should do the same. I believe in the slogan, “Trust your brother’s vision,” although I’d like to add sisters in the bargain. I trust the community and the culturally based vision of all the races that naturally resist industrialization and human extinction. Clearly, individual whites can share in this, given only that they have reached the awareness that continuation of the industrial imperatives of Europe is not a vision, but species suicide. White is one of the sacred colors of the Lakota people – red, yellow, white and black. The four directions. The four seasons. The four period of life and aging. The four races of humanity. Mix red, yellow, white and black together and you get brown, the color of the fifth race. This is the natural order of things. It therefore seems natural to me to work with all races, each with it’s own special meaning, identity and message.
But there is a peculiar behavior among most Caucasians. As soon as I become critical of Europe and its impact on other cultures, they become defensive. They begin to defend themselves. But I am not attacking them personally; I’m attacking Europe. In personalizing my observations on Europe they are personalizing European culture, identifying themselves with it.By defending themselves in this context, they are ultimately defending the death culture. This is a confusion which must be overcome, and it must be overcome in a hurry. None of us has energy to waste in such false struggles.
Caucasians have a more positive vision to offer humanity than European culture. I believe this. But in order to attain this vision it is necessary for Caucasians to step outside European culture – alongside the rest of humanity – to see Europe for what it is and what it does.
To cling to capitalism and Marxism and all the other “isms” is simply to remain within European culture. There is no avoiding this basic fact. As a fact, this constitutes a choice. Understand that the choice is based on culture, not race. Understand that to choose European culture and industrialism is to choose to be my enemy. And understand that the choice is yours, not mine. This leads me back to address those American Indians who are drifting through the universities, the city slums, and other European institutions. If you are there to learn to resist the oppressor in accordance with your traditional ways, so be it. I don’t know how you manage to combine the two, but perhaps you will succeed. But retain your sense of reality. Beware of coming to believe the white world now offers solutions to the problems it confronts us with. Beware, too, of allowing the words of native people to be twisted to the advantage of our enemies. Europe invented the practice of turning words around on themselves. You need only look to the treaties between American Indian peoples and various European governments to know that this is true. Draw your strength from who you are.
A culture which regularly confuses revolution with continuation, which confuses science and religion, which confuses revolt with resistance, has nothing helpful to teach you and nothing to offer you as a way of life. Europeans have long since lost all touch with reality, if they ever were in touch with it. Feel sorry for them if you need to, but be comfortable with who you are as American Indians.
So, I suppose to conclude this, I would state clearly that leading anyone toward Marxism is the last thing on my mind. Marxism is as alien to my culture as capitalism and Christianity are. In fact, I can say I don’t think I’m trying to lead anyone toward anything. To some extent I tried to be a “leader,” in the sense that white media like to use that term, when the American Indian Movement was a young organization. This was a result of a confusion that I no longer have. You cannot be everything to everyone. I do not propose to be used in such a fashion by my enemies. I am not a leader. I am an Oglala Lakota patriot. This is all I want and all I need to be. And I am very comfortable with who I am.
The following report was produced by Defenders of the Black Hills:
1. World War II ended with the nuclear bomb and introduced the use of nuclear energy for the production of electricity which caused the price of uranium to rise. Uranium mining in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota began in the middle of the 1960s. As the economy of the Midwestern states depends primarily on agriculture, when uranium was discovered in the region, many get-rich-quick schemes were adopted.
Not only were large mining companies pushing off the tops of bluffs and buttes, but small individual ranchers were also digging in their pastures for the radioactive metal. Mining occurred on both public and private land, although the Great Sioux Nation still maintains a claim to the area through the Fort Laramie Treaties of 1851 and 1868, the March 3rd Act of 1871, Article VI of the US Constitution, and the 1980 Supreme Court decision on the Black Hills.
2. In northwestern South Dakota, the Cave Hills area is managed by the US Forest Service. The area currently contains 89 abandoned open-pit uranium mines. Studies by the USFS show that one mine alone has 1,400 millirems per hour (mR/hr) of exposed radiation, a level of radiation that is 120,000 times higher than normal background of 100 millirems per year (mR/yr)! In the southwestern Black Hills, the US Forest Service reported on 29 abandoned open-pit uranium mines, one of which is about 1 square mile in size.
3. It is estimated that more than 1,000 open-pit uranium mines and prospects can be found in the four state region from a map developed by the US Forest Service. The water runoff from the creeks and rivers near these abandoned uranium mines eventually empties into the Missouri River which empties into the Mississippi River.
4. The following agencies are aware of these abandoned uranium mines and prospects: US Forest Service, US Environmental Protection Agency, US Bureau of Land Management, SD Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the US Indian Health Service. Only after public concern about these mines was raised a few years ago did the USFS and the EPA pay for a study in 2006 of the off site effects caused by only 1 abandoned mine.
5. More than 4,000 exploratory holes, some large enough for a person to fall into, are found in the southwestern Black Hills with an additional 3,000 holes just 10 miles west of the town of Belle Fourche, SD near the Wyoming border. These holes go to depths of 600 feet. This exploratory process itself allows radioactive pollutants to cross contaminate underground water sources. More exploratory holes for uranium are being drilled in Wyoming and South Dakota.
6. The US Air Force also used small nuclear power plants in some of their remote radar stations. No data is available on the current status or disposal of these small nuclear power sources or of their wastes. The US Air Force is responsible for monitoring these sites although there is no stopping the radioactive pollution that could contaminate aquifers.
7. In Wyoming, hundreds of abandoned open-pit uranium mines and prospects can be found in or near the coal in the Powder River Basin, and the coal is laced with uranium ore. The coal is shipped to power plants in the Eastern part of the United States.
Radioactive dust and particles are released into the air at the coal fired power plants and often set off the warning systems at nuclear power plants. The same radioactive dust and particles are released into the air that travels across South Dakota and to the South and East in the coal strip mining process.
8. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a secret Executive Order declaring this four State region in the Upper Midwest to be a ‘National Sacrifice Area’ for the mining and production of uranium and nuclear energy.
This Fact Sheet regarding past and planned uranium and coal mining in the Upper Midwest region should give cause for alarm to all thinking people in the United States. This is the area that has been called “the Bread Basket of the World.” For more than forty years, the people of South Dakota and beyond have been subjected to radioactive polluted dust and water runoff from the hundreds of abandoned open pit uranium mines, processing sites, underground nuclear power stations, and waste dumps.
There needs to be a concerted effort to determine the extent of the radioactive pollution in the environment, and the health damage that has been and is currently being inflicted upon the people of the United States.
It is imperative that a federal bill be passed in Congress appropriating enough funds for the cleanup of ALL the abandoned uranium mines in this four State region. This harmful situation must not be placed on the end of the Superfund list of hazardous sites to be addressed in twenty years. Those responsible for this disaster must be held responsible for the consequences, but the cleanup and health concerns of the nation need to be addressed first. The health of the nation is at stake!
The cleanup of all of these mines and underground sites must begin NOW!
We hope you will consider our request for concerted actions to be taken at the national level regarding these grave concerns. This problem of radiation pollution spreading throughout the United States has been allowed to continue quietly for much too long.
********* What you can do ***********
1. Contact your Congressional Representative and Senators by phone (202) 224-3121, through the mail, and email. Ask that they consider sponsoring a bill for the cleanup of all the abandoned uranium mines and prospects, and underground nuclear sites in the Upper Midwest Region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.
2. Ask your Congressional Representatives and Senators to support the Expansion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include also those harmed by abandoned uranium mines and prospects in the Upper Midwest Region.
3. Encourage the use of alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, and geothermal. Nuclear energy is not the answer and only creates very long term problems to the entire environment.
Produced by Defenders of the Black Hills, PO Box 2003, Rapid City, SD 57709, a nonprofit corporation.
For more information check out www.defendblackhills.org
This week Russell talks to us about self-esteem and how important it is that we rebuild a strong sense of self-worth in the Children now growing up on the Reservations. We are given a first-hand glimpse of how the charitable act of one man really made the day for some kids here at the Porcupine School. He also illustrates the two-faced nature of our sicko, wacked-out USA Government by revealing how the fabulous “new school” is just a fascist coverup for what really goes on here on the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation.
Families Freezing in Nation’s Poorest County:
PUBLIC UTILITIES “CUT” ON CROW CREEK RESERVATION
(Fort Thompson, SD) Electric company caught “pulling meters” (CLICK TO VIEW THE VIDEO) in the poorest community in the nation, leaving America’s most vulnerable people without power in the dead of winter. Predatory electric companies continue to conduct these atrocious practices amid growing public outcry and damning national media scrutiny. Headlines in newspapers across the country highlight unnecessary tragedies as arctic winter months reveal the electric company’s controversial conduct of shutting off the community’s power, despite the rest of South Dakota having Seasonal Termination Protection Regulations.
CORRECTION: “Central Power Electric Cooperative, Inc” is the wholesale provider, not the retail provider that has been illegally disconnecting the meters on Crow Creek Reservation. The real culprits are at the “Central Electric Cooperative:” We apologize for any confusion caused by this error and our happy to oblige the request of Loren Noess - General Manager of CENTRAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE to post his information here for your convenience. See his e-mail request below.
Loren Noess - General Manager
Text of Mr. Noess’ e-mail with:
To Whom it may concern:
Please change the address of Central you have on your web site. Also if you do some research on this video it was played last June on Utube [sic] and we know they were at Crow Creek last March of 2008 doing taping This video we believe is a year old. Our employees are on this video. They are doing their and should not be explosed[sic].
Please refer to the attached letter that I emailed to Eric Klein yesterday and also sent by mail.
I have sent copies of this letter to all 3 Congressional Leaders in Washington and the South Dakota PUC. The 3 Offices in Washington indicated they haven’t received any calls from the Reservation about disconnects. As you’ll read in our letter we haven’t disconnected any[sic] for the months of Dec. Jan and Feb.
Any questions please give me a call.
PO Box 850
1420 North Main
Mitchell, SD 57301
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm
Toll Free in SD: 800.477.2892
PO Box 850
1420 North Main Street
Mitchell, SD 57301 USA
Plankinton Branch Office:
PO Box 130
102 South Main Street
Plankinton, SD 57301 USA
Putting LIVES on the Line:
This winter, the Crow Creek Indian Reservation is experiencing record-low temperatures reaching fifty below zero. Hundreds of families living in government housing have had their electric meters removed by Central Electric Cooperative, the local electric cooperative. When these power meters are pulled the residents are left without power; the propane heaters do not run; pipes freeze; and there is no water for cooking, drinking, bathing or flushing toilets. Many of these households have family members whose lives depend upon electronic medical equipment such as defibrillators.
Ironically these families are paying some of the highest electricity rates in the country even though they live adjacent to the Big Bend Hydro-Electric Dam on the Missouri river. These homes are poorly insulated causing electric bills in excess of $300.00 in the coldest months.
Median income in the region is approximately $5,000 a year (typical of the thirteen Lakotah (Sioux) Reservations in the “Great Sioux Nation” as defined in the Treaties of 1851 and 1868 with the US Government).
“I’ve been to disaster areas around the world including Sri Lanka after the tsunami, hurricane Katrina, and after the Iowa floods, but, I have never witnessed such blatant disregard for human life as I have here in my own country on the Crow Creek reservation,” stated Eric Klein, Founder and CEO of Compassion into Action Network – Direct Outcome Organization (CAN-DO). “Especially now, with the new administration focusing on the development of America’s infrastructure, we need to focus our energies and resources immediately to address this critical situation where such infrastructure is being blatantly misutilized.”
Appalled by the abuse and neglect, one US Marine and Crow Creek resident took action to publicize the exploitation. Using a hand-held video recorder, he documented local power companies physically cutting electricity lines and removing meters in the peak of winter.
Utilizing their proven approach to providing lasting solutions with full accountability, efficiency and results, CAN-DO is addressing the operation at the Crow Creek Indian Reservation on the local level to raise the nation’s awareness of the urgent human right abuses taking place in the South Dakota region.
“We are calling for a collaborative effort by ethical individuals, organizations, schools and political leaders to assure that this damage is reversed,” said Klein. “Together, we can contribute to real change here at home.”
LAWS OF SOUTH DAKOTA TITLE 49
PUBLIC UTILITIES AND CARRIERS
49-34A-2. Service required of utilities. Every public utility shall furnish adequate, efficient, and reasonable service.
49-34A-6. Rates to be reasonable and just – Regulation by commission. Every rate made, demanded or received by any public utility shall be just and reasonable. Every unjust or unreasonable rate shall be prohibited. The Public Utilities Commission is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to regulate all rates, fees and charges for the public utility service of all public utilities, including penalty for late payments, to the end that the public shall pay only just and reasonable rates for service rendered.
Source: SL 1975, ch 283, § 16.
THE LIE PROPAGATED BY THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe:
“Every night, the sun slips quietly away behind the bluffs of the Missouri River. These bluffs flank the western edge of the Crow Creek Reservation in central South Dakota. Located one mile south of tribal headquarters at Fort Thompson is Lake Sharpe, one of South Dakota’s Great Lakes. Water recreation abounds on the 80-mile reservoir created by the Big Bend Dam. Visitors enjoy boating, fishing and swimming as well as picnicking and camping along the water’s edge. The tribe’s wildlife department offers guided fishing and hunting trips. It also maintains a buffalo herd that often grazes north of Fort Thompson. ” http://www.travelsd.com/ourhistory/sioux/tribes/crowcreek.asp
… thousands of hectares of Indian land have been lost to dams. In North Dakota, a quarter of the Fort Berthold Reservation, shared by the Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa peoples of the upper Missouri, for example, was flooded as a result of a staircase of dams (the Missouri River Development Project (MRDP), built during the 1950s and 1960s. The land lost included the best and most valuable and productive land on the reservation – the bottom lands along the river where most people lived.105 Five different Sioux reservations also lost land. Again, the impact was quite severe: the dams destroyed nearly 90 per cent of the tribes’ timberland, 75 per cent of the wild game, and the best agricultural lands.106
Ultimately, the Missouri dams cost the indigenous nations of the Missouri Valley an estimated 142,000 hectares of their best land – including a number of burial and other sacred sites – as well as further impoverishment and severe cultural and emotional trauma. A guarantee, used to rationalise the plan in the first place, that some 87,000 hectares of Indian land would be irrigated was simply scrapped as the project neared completion. As researcher Bernard Shanks puts it: “MRDP replaced the subsistence economy of the Missouri River Indians . . . with a welfare economy . . . As a result of the project, the Indians bore a disproportionate share of the social
cost of water development, while having no share in the benefits.”.107
104 Pittja 1994:54.
105 Guerrero 1992.
106 United States v David Sohappy, Snr et al., 477 US 906 (1986), cert. denied. Cited in Guerrero 1992.
107 Guerrero 1992.
Founded by Eric Klein, CAN-DO has set a new standard for humanitarianism and is changing the face of philanthropy. It quickly has become an organization people can trust and depend upon to “get it done” fast and effectively. It is a 501c3, relief organization dedicated to working on the local level to provide lasting solutions, with full accountability, efficiency, and results.
Video footage, photographs and the web site offer documentation of the organization’s efforts at every phase. CAN-DO supporters take pride in watching their generosity directly affect the lives of those in need through the organization’s VirtualVolunteer.TV.
CAN-DO’s successful missions to bring immediate and direct relief to areas in need have captured the attention of renowned philanthropists including Oprah Winfrey and former president Bill Clinton. The organization was recently awarded the Global Compassion Award at the United Nations for its global impact, unparalleled transparency and accountability. For further information, please visit www.can-do.org or email Eric Klein at email@example.com.
About the Republic of Lakotah:
We are the freedom loving Lakotah from the Sioux Indian reservations of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana who have suffered from cultural and physical genocide in the colonial apartheid system we have been forced to live under.
We are continuing the work that we were asked to do by the traditional chiefs and treaty councils at the first Indian Treaty Council meeting at Standing Rock Sioux Indian Country in 1974.
During the week of December 17-19, 2007, we traveled to Washington DC and withdrew from the constitutionally mandated treaties to become a free and independent country. We are alerting the Family of Nations we have now reassumed our freedom and independence with the backing of Natural, International, and United States law.
We do not represent those BIA or IRA governments beholden to the colonial apartheid system, or those “hang around the fort” Indians who are unwilling to claim their freedom.
For further information, please visit www.republicoflakotah.com or call 605-867-1111.
– END –
This case is not a straight murder trial. It is a political trial where the government is trying to dredge up, sensationalize and demonize the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.). The government continues in its centuries-old unlawful and racist prosecution American Indian People.
We must put a stop to this decades-long unlawful prosecution!
PLEA FOR ATTORNEYS: Marshall’s court-appointed defense attorney, Dana Hanna, is a babe-in-the-woods when it comes to such a high-profile political case. Marshall desperately needs qualified counsel that understands the methodology of political trials.
US Government Continues to Attack Innocent American Indians by Utilizing the Now Defunct American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) to Fan the Flames of Racism in the Heart of the Republic of Lakotah (Now Known as the State of South Dakota)
Anna Mae Aquash (b. Indian Brook, Nova Scotia, Canada, March 27, 1945; d. mid-December 1975) was a Mi’kmaq activist from Nova Scotia, Canada who became one of the most active and prominent female members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) during the early 1970s.
After nearly three decades of dormancy, law enforcement attempts to “solve” the murder of Aquash recently resumed.
On February 24, 1976, Aquash was found dead by the side of State Road 73 on the far northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation, about 10 miles from Wanblee, South Dakota, close to Kadoka. Her body was found during an unusually warm spell in late February, 1976 by a rancher, Roger Amiotte.
FBI’s Initial Cover up:
At the Pine Ridge morgue, a doctor and nurse found blood on the woman’s head. However, BIA pathologist Dr. W. O. Brown, described the case as “awfully routine,” reported no blood, and concluded the woman had died from “exposure” two weeks earlier, in early February. On FBI instructions, Brown severed the victim’s hands for later identification and approved a burial.
“It was the darndest thing I ever saw,” said mortician Tom Chamberlain, “an unidentified corpse buried without a death certificate or burial permit.” On March 3, 1976, the anonymous body rested in a pauper’s grave on Pine Ridge. On that day, the FBI identified the dead woman as 30-year-old Anna Mae Aquash from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, a member of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The Bureau notified the Pictou family in Canada that Anna Mae had died “by natural causes.”
The family requested another autopsy, and AIM lawyer Bruce Ellison petitioned the FBI to exhume the body. On March 11, Dr. Garry Peterson examined the corpse, noticed “a bulge in the dead woman’s left temple and dry blood in her hair,” and revealed the actual cause of death: a .32 caliber bullet “shot at close range into the back of her head.”
FBI Blames AIM for the Murder:
The story itself raises many obvious questions, including:
- Why would an AIM “hit squad” take Aquash, in the presence of so many witnesses, from one city to another, across two states, to several apartments and a defense office (more than likely under surveillance), then execute her?
- If the FBI seriously considered the death of Aquash to have been carried out by AIM in 1976, we can be sure vast amounts of resources would have been devoted to this case at that time. Instead, the FBI attempted to cover it up!
There are many theories about who may have been behind the murder of Anna Mae. John Trudell fingers Dennis Banks, stating in both the 1976 Butler and Robideau trial and the Looking Cloud trial that Banks told him about the killing before the body had been identified. In Dennis Banks’ autobiography, Ojibwa Warrior, he states that he was informed by John Trudell that the body that had been found was Annie Mae. Banks states that he did not know until that time that Aquash had been killed.
The FBI’s version is that Aquash was taken from a house in Denver, Colorado, by Graham, Looking Cloud, and Thelda Clarke. She was then driven to various offices & apartments in Rapid City, S. Dakota. One of these included the legal offices of the Wounded Knee defense committee. From there, she was taken to houses on Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations, then executed on a desolate road near Wanbli, on or around Dec. 12, 1975 (where her body was found two months later).
According to the FBI, Aquash was suspected of being an informant and had sensitive info related to the Oglala shoot-out. Because of this, she had to be killed.
History of the Prosecution’s Grand Juries
Denver, Colorado, Detective Abe Alonzo, spent years visiting and questioning Looking Cloud about the murder. During these years, the Government, through Alonzo, gave Looking Cloud immunity and tried to turn him into prosecution witness. It was only after this immunity expired that Looking Hawk was indicted.
After 29 years, the FBI, blatantly ignoring both Trudell’s 1976 testimony, and his testimony in the Looking Cloud trial, was turned away by Grand Juries in 1976, 1983, 1994, and 1999. In the fourth Grand Jury, Russell Means testified that Vernon Bellecourt, now deceased, and a former spokesperson for his own Intergalactic American Indian Movement wherein he purportedly was the Grand Poupa of AIM, was the person who ordered the murder. Not until a fifth grand jury was convened in March, 2003 did the U.S. Attorney for South Dakota finally get indictments against Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham.
In August 2008, a sixth federal grand jury indicted a third man, Vine Richard “Dick” Marshall, with aiding and abetting the murder. It is alleged that Graham, Looking Cloud and Clark had taken Anna Mae to Marshall’s house where she was held just prior to her being driven to her death.
Looking Cloud is an Oglala Lakota and a father of two. He also has serious substance abuse problems that were exploited by Alonzo during his investigation. In March 2003, in an alleged video-taped confession, Looking Cloud admitted to being under the influence of alcohol. Alonzo then fed him leading questions, and Looking Cloud slurred contradictory answers. He allegedly confessed that he had been the unwitting accomplice in Aquash’s execution by AIM. He stated that he witnessed Graham take her to the edge of a ravine and shoot her in the back of the head.
The Looking Cloud Trial
On February 8, 2004 Arlo Looking Cloud was tried before a U.S. federal jury and five days later was found guilty. While the prosecution called 23 witnesses, his government appointed lawyer called only one, an FBI agent! NO physical evidence linking Looking Cloud to the crime was presented!
Although, a videotape was shown in which Looking Cloud admits to being at the scene of the murder but claims that he was unaware that Aquash was going to be killed. In that video, in which Looking Cloud is interviewed by Detective Abe Alonzo of the Denver Police Department and Robert Ecoffey, the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement Services, taped on March 27, 2003, he states that Graham was the trigger man. This interview granted Looking Cloud immunity for his information. When the immunity expired he was arrested!
Looking Cloud’s video-taped statement reflects the FBI’s version of events, except in one important detail: according to Looking Cloud, he did not know what was occurring until moments before John Graham took her out of the car and shot her. The FBI’s version of events has always been based on rumors within AIM that Anna Mae was a suspected informant. Candy Hamilton, a friend of Aquash, reports that it was common for people to be suspected of being an informant at this time.
Over the years, many people had in fact informed or gave evidence to police. It is a common practice of police and the FBI to use informants & collaborators. In 1975, Douglas Durham was exposed as an FBI infiltrator who worked at the highest levels within AIM.
During the trial , government witnesses gave conflicting testimony, including that of an admitted informant: Kamook Banks (former wife of AIM leader Dennis Banks, current wife of B.I.A. cop Robert Ecoffey !). Under cross-examination, Kamook revealed she was paid $42,000 by the FBI to wear wiretaps & record meetings with Looking Cloud, Banks, & others.
Despite requests to change lawyers, the judge has consistently denied this basic right. Although he entered a plea of not guilty, his video-taped confession from April/03 was not challenged by his lawyer!
Graham adamantly denies any involvement in the death of Anna Mae. He claims that the U.S. government threatened to name him as the murderer of Anna Mae if he “didn’t co-operate”. Claiming that he last saw Annie Mae on a drive that took them from Denver to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where he left her at a “safe house” (in his own words, in an interview with Antoinette Nora Claypoole), Graham explains why he believes he is being charged as her murderer:
“…in the mid-80s or sometime about there. The FBI showed up at my home in the Yukon, and asked me all kinds of questions about Anna Mae and the death. They were trying to say I was there, or I knew about it, or I was aware of it. And I had to tell them I wasn’t aware, I wasn’t around there and I wasn’t involved in her killing at all. And they wanted me to name leadership that would have given the order to that effect, to kill Anna Mae. And they were trying to tell me they would put me in the witness protection program, they would change my identity, they would relocate me if I would go to testify in front of the federal Grand Jury in South Dakota against the AIM leadership. So I told them I couldn’t do that because it never happened.
I never, ever received orders of any kind like that from any of the AIM leadership. And so I wouldn’t do it; I wouldn’t cooperate with them. And they left. Then they came back a year or so later and said…. if I didn’t cooperate with them to put this information on the AIM leadership, then I would be facing all these charges myself.”
During this interrogation, Looking Cloud states that he is still under the influence of alcohol; the FBI not only continue to ask him questions, they get him to sign statements!
Looking Cloud was denied the right to choose his own lawyer. During his trial, every witness for the prosecution presented AIM in the most negative light possible, and they contradicted each other in their testimonies. Many people could have been called as defense witnesses, to testify that Aquash had been afraid of the FBI, not AIM. But the defense called only one witness—FBI Agent Price! He was questioned for 10 minutes on Aquash as to whether she was an FBI informant. If only to accentuate the obvious set-up, the prosecution didn’t even bother to cross-examine Agent Price, the sole witness for the ‘defense.’
Looking Cloud’s lawyer made few motions and did not challenge Alonzo’s manipulation of his client. Looking Cloud was not allowed to take the stand to defend himself; all that was shown was the videotaped interview that he had given.
Due to an “unfortunate accident,” Denver police claim to have lost these critical recordings; the only evidence given was hearsay based on alleged conversations with Looking Cloud over the years.
A large focus of the trial did not even concern Looking Cloud, but instead AIM & the case of Leonard Peltier. In a Feb. 7th news release, Peltier’s lawyer Barry Bachrach stated:
“Who was on trial? The majority of the testimony presented had nothing whatsoever to do with Arlo Looking Cloud, but prominent members of the American Indian Movement. There was not one iota of proof presented to support many witnesses’ “beliefs”. And for every witness presented, there are any number of other individuals who could be called to appear and who would tell very different stories.”
Arlo Looking Cloud now claims that, over the years, the FBI & police would periodically pick him up and feed him drugs & alcohol while indoctrinating him with their version of events.
On April 23, 2004 he was given a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
South Dakota in the Early 70’s
AIM first came to South Dakota when a call was made for outside help to get serious convictions against white men responsible for a racially motivated murder that took place in a Nebraska border town. A Lakota man had been publicly humiliated and later murdered by 2 white brothers. Disinterested law officials didn’t have the time of day to bother to investigate the death of an Indian. Angry Lakotas and AIM members caravaned to the Nebraska border, only miles away from Pine Ridge, and confronted the law officials.
The sight of hundreds of angry Indians, shocked law officials and they immediately caved in to their demands. A year later, a young man was murdered by a rich white businessman, who had told people that he was “gonna go kill himself an Indian.” A riot occurred at the Custer courthouse because police beat the mother of the victim. The riot lasted over an hour, and 2 cop cars were overturned, and the vacant building beside the courthouse was torched.
U.S. Government’s Motive to Grab Resources
Thirty years after the death of Aquash, the US government has renewed its war against the last remnants of AIM. As in the 1970s, this attack is only part of a larger war to gain control over Native lands and resources.
In 1975, with his control of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota secured by force, Tribal President Wilson set about ceding uranium-rich areas of the Reservation to the federal government. AIM assisted in protecting Pine Ridge’s traditional families from the constant onslaught of violence, which culminated in the AIM occupation and government siege of Wounded Knee in the Spring of 1973. From 1973 to 1976, the people of Pine Ridge lived under the “Reign of Terror”—more than 76 Natives, mainly traditional Lakotah and AIM members, were murdered, primarily by,, Wilson’s goons, a term coined by the elderly women who protested against them. Later, in a perverse play on words, the goons called themselves, “Guardians of the Oglala Nation” (GOONs). In response the Wilson and his GOONs, AIM launched a campaign to expose the injustice and protect the innocent.
On June 26, 1975—while Wilson was in Washington, DC, signing away an eighth of the reservation—the FBI launched an attack on an AIM camp at Pine Ridge. The US was dealt a humiliating blow—two FBI agents lost their lives. Although Joe Stuntz Killsright, a Lakotah defender, was killed in the shoot-out, an estimated 40 Native men, women and children escaped.
In extreme rage, the FBI violently harassed Lakota families. They drafted a list of people that they suspected were present at the shoot-out, and they blamed Leonard Peltier, Bob Robideau, Dino Butler and Jimmy Eagle for killing the agents. The four young men went on the run. Butler and Robideau were eventually arrested, tried and acquitted by an all-white jury, so the FBI targeted Peltier for the “murder” of the agents. Of course, there has never been an investigation into Stuntz Killsright’s death.
FBI’s Counter-intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) Directly Targets AIM and Its Members
September 24, 2006
“REP. McKINNEY INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO RE-OPEN CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS INTO COINTELPRO PAST AND PRESENT
(Washington, DC) Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA 4^th ) has introduced legislation calling for a re-opening of the investigations of the 1970’s by the United States Select Committee to Study Government Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities chaired by Senator Frank Church which led to startling revelations concerning federal, state and local intelligence and law enforcement agency violations of Constitutional rights of privacy, limits on search and seizure, surveillance, wiretapping and disruption of dissent and protected activities, and massive collection of dossiers by FBI, CIA, NSA, Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agencies and other local agencies, targeting the civil rights, Native American and anti-war movements of the period and “neutralizing” their leadership and discrediting the efforts for social change over decades.
The most infamous of these abuses was the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations, or counter intelligence program…, Following the attacks on September 11, 2001, there were immediate calls to renew COINTELPRO-style surveillance, go to Continuity of Government, release intelligence agencies from the restrictions of the Church Committee era laws (which included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court to pre-approve Presidential surveillance programs), calls to end the principle of Posse Comitatus, which separates police and military functions, and renewed surveillance and disruption by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Transportation Security Agency (TSA), Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and by certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT…”
The US made its first violent attack against AIM in 1972, in what became known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Takeover. Indians had been conducting a peaceful protest outside the BIA headquarters in Washington, DC, when they were attacked by riot police. In response, the Indians barricaded themselves inside the building, smashed up offices and took top-secret documents. These documents proved that the government was illegally handing out Reservation land, water and mineral rights to corporations.
At this time, Aquash was “snitch-jacketed” by the FBI. This tactic of the FBI’s Counter-intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) undermined valuable members of a group by casting them in suspicious situations. Wherever Aquash went, arrests would follow. She’d be released, while other AIM members were slapped with charges and high bail. In September 1975, FBI Agent David Price attempted to force her to sign an affidavit implicating Peltier for the murder of the two FBI agents. She refused to cooperate, and Price promised her that she wouldn’t live to see the year’s end.
Aquash went underground, turning to AIM for protection and putting her fears of the FBI in writing. In late February, her body was found outside of Wanbli, on Pine Ridge. Four FBI agents joined the “investigation,” including Price. They cut off her hands for “fingerprint analysis,” and despite the visible bullet hole in the back of her head, they determined that the cause of her death was exposure. They quickly arranged for her to be buried as a Jane Doe. After this cover-up came to light, the FBI released a statement announcing that Aquash was not a government informant. As intended, this statement insinuated that AIM might have believed Aquash to be an informant and murdered her.
Through Dickie Wilson, the corrupt Tribal President of Pine Ridge, the FBI established a paramilitary group made up of local boys who called themselves the Guardians of Oglala Nation (goons).
The FBI trained and supplied the goons with bullets, guns and intelligence on AIM. Indians began to arm themselves for protection against the onslaught of assaults, torched houses, and hit and runs, and drive-by shootings. Only years later, did it become clear to Indians why the FBI reacted so brutally to the bold assertions Lakotas were making in the districts of Pine Ridge.
Unknown at that time, the US had an eye on developing uranium mining on a portion of the sacred Black Hills, and an area known as Sheep Mountain. This area has proven to be one of the richest in uranium deposits in the US. The FBI implemented their counterintellegence operation in Pine Ridge in order to weaken and destroy the urban Indian movement, and to subjugate the traditional Lakotas once and for all. The FBI Counterintellegence Program (COINTELPRO), targets political groups that are viewed as a threat to national security.
Often these groups were fighting oppression, systemic racism, and were attempting to make things better for their people. This program discredits organizations, and its’ members through media smears. Infiltrators staged many scandals that put AIM in a bad light to weaken their popularity and wide-support.
COINTELPRO has lethal consequences, as any means necessary can be used to thwart the enemy. This is why so many AIM members have been criminalized, imprisoned, or outright murdered as a result of this FBI program. Also the once powerful and effective movement became riddled with FBI informers, and infiltrators. As the violence escalated, the paranoia and suspicion grew. The FBI put trustworthy AIM leaders in situations that made them look suspicious, which the FBI call snitch jacketing, or bad jacketing. Soon, it was hard for people to tell the difference between whom they could trust, and who was working with the feds.
The FBI officially and publicly ended its COINTELPRO operations on April 28, 1971. But FBI documents obtained by NFIC from the FBI Reading Room in the capital indicate that in November of 1973 the FBI continued “COINTEL measures to further disrupt AIM leadership” which it had employed in its discredited former counterintelligence program. There is also ample evidence that many of the actions by the FBI in the 1970’s across the country where grossly illegal!
Trial Scheduled for February 24, 2009
By Heidi Bell Gease, Journal staff | Tuesday, January 13, 2009
“The attorney for Richard “Dickie” Marshall, one of two men charged with killing American Indian Movement activist Annie Mae Aquash in 1975, has asked that the trial be moved back two months.
Marshall, 57, and John Graham, 52, are to go on trial Feb. 24 in U.S. District Court in Rapid City. Both men are charged with first-degree murder.
On Monday, Marshall’s defense attorney, Dana Hanna, filed a motion for continuance, saying he needs more time to prepare for the trial.
Hanna said he had read more than 5,000 pages of case background information provided by the federal government but has not reviewed those documents with his client. He also said he needs but has not received copies of the more than 100 audio cassette tapes produced during the investigation.
Hanna’s motion also states that the government has refused to provide records or information concerning other AIM-related events during the 1970s that could come into play during the trial.
“I require more time to locate and interview witnesses, gather records, subpoena evidence, research legal issues and to investigate the case,” Hanna wrote.
Marshall was indicted last August, more than 32 years after Aquash’s body was found on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in February 1976. She had been shot in the head.
Marshall and Graham would face life in prison if convicted. A third man charged in the case, Arlo Looking Cloud, was convicted of murder after a 2004 trial and is serving a life sentence.”
We must put a stop to this decades-long unlawful prosecution. As in previous cases, the prosecution will try this case before an all-white jury using racial bias and fabricated evidence to further it’s centuries-old campaign to wipe out every trace of the once great Lakotah people:
- Wounded Knee trial of Russell Means and Dennis Banks where all charges were dismissed by Judge Nichol due to “gross misconduct” by the F.B.I. and U.S. Attorneys.
- Over 200 trials of Wounded Knee defendants have been held and ALL have either been dismissed or found not guilty.
- Over a five-year period, Russell Means endured twelve criminal trials as a sole defendant. Again all charges were dismissed or returned with not guilty verdicts.