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January 27, 1974 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily, 1974-01-27

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page FIve

PERSPECTIVE

The aftermath of Wounded Knee

By DAVID COOK
LTHOUGH one sees no evi-
dence of it i the established
media sources, the controversy
surrounding the Wounded K n e e
occupation last year still rages.
The 'grievances that led to the
protest continue unflagged, and
those who participated in t h e
event from the Pine Ridge Re-
servation suffer constant harass-
ment, physical abuse and an un-
usually high number of deaths.
Pine Ridge Reservation Tribal
President Dick Wilson, the al-
leged main soirce of =these vio-
lations of jusgtice, has outfitted
and directed a "goon squad" of
personal police that has been ac-
cused of beatings, rape, murder,
and property destruction against
Reservation members, particular-
ly supporters of the American
Indian Movement (AIM). In ad-
dition, Wilson has been accused
in the past of graft and illegal
use of funds, unwarranted firings
of personnel for political reasons,
and illegal refusal to allow non-
Reservation members onto the
Reservation.
For too long the media has re-
mained silent in cases such as
these while the U.S. Government,
capitalist corporations, and the
American public, through its
apathy, are responsible for the
direct and indirect murder of
Native Americans, the destruc-
tion of their cultures, and the
perpetuation of the inhuman con-
ditions under which they live.
What will it take until Ameri-
cans feel that enough harm has
been done? Native Americans
daily are being denied their
rights as human beings, their
lands and their resources a r e
being stolen from them through
lies, coercion, and misrepresenta-
tion of agreements, and still the
Government refuses to provide
any but a fraction of the services
and benefits promised N,a t i v e
Americans in treaties signed by
them and ratified by Congress
and various U.S. Presidents.
This article was written in the
hopes that some people have con-
doned these deplorable events be-
cause they have not been ade-
quately informed of the realities
of present Native American life.
Perhaps a little more information
wil be enough to make people see
that the violence perpetrated
against Native Americans must
end, and thus, spur them on to
become active in trying to change
the situation. Some of you may
feel that there is little that can
be done. But any support, while
not correcting the multitde of
injustices heaped on Native
Americans, would serve to free
or even save the lives of msy
who are struggling to free thern-
selves from very real oppres-
sion.
The following are excerpts
from the Early Winter edition of
Akwesasne Notes, a publication
of the Mohawk Nation, describ-
ing some of the events in t h e
aftermath of Wounded Knee.
They all took place on the Pine
Ridge Reservation, where the
Wounded.Knee occupation occur-
red, but they are also somewhat
indicative of the way Native
Americans in general are treated
on other reservations.
* * *
"PINE RIDGE, SOUTH DA-
KOTA - Pedro Bissoette, an
Oglala leader in the occupation
of Wounded Knee, was shot and
killed by Bureau of Indian Af-
fairs policemen October 17.
Bissonette, vice-president of the
Ogala Civil Rights Organiza-
tion, was one of the top seven fac-
ing the most serious charges a-Is-

ing from the occupation.
Mrk Lane, a defense attorney
from the Wounded Knee Legal
Defense ' Offense Committee,
charged that Bissonette's death
was part' of a conspiracy by fed-
eral officials to harass, terrorize,
and destroy the American Ind-
ian Movement. 'It appears the
BIA was looking for Bissonette
and had orders to shoot to kill',
Lane said.
Pedro was 33 when he died on a
highway just east. of Pine Ridge.
Officers said they saw a car at
a roadside. Bissonette was in the
car and attempted to drive away.
He was ordered. to stop. He git
owt of the car and was )rdered
to put his hands up. He leapt back
into the car and emerged with
a 30.06 rifle. So goes the official
police story.
One officer said he attempted
to fire at Bissonette, but his gun
jammed. The other officer said
he fired a 12-gauge shotgun,
standard operating equipment for
BIA police, at close range. An
ambulance making a routine run
to the Pine Ridge Hospital pass-
ed by and was flagged down to
take Bissonette to the facilities.
But witnesses who arrived soon
afterwards noted there was a
large pool of blood about 45
feet away from where the auto
was parked. They noted too that
there was a delay of over an hour
in getting the man to the hospi-
tal, just three or so miles away.
The official police report says
Pedro was shot at 9:48, and was
brought to the hospital dead en
arrival at 10:10 p.m. Yet wit-
neses insist they had come on
the scene before 9 p.m. after
six BIA police cars had arrived,
and thatbPedro's body lay in a
pool of .blood.
Witnesses said that Bissonette
was on his way to see Lane, his
attorney. He had been pegged
by U.S. officials as a weak lirk
in the AIM command, and he hnd
been pressured to turn state's
evidence. He had refused - but
he was a key witness to prove
conspiracy by government peo-
pie against a fair trial.
Pedro's death was only one in
a series. Clarence Cross had been
shot and killed, and his brother
seriously injured. BIA police were
there too. Aloysius Long Soldier,
an AIM member from Pine
Ridge,. had died the week before
Pedro - his death was ruled
'suicide'. Another young AIM
member was found at a roadside,
his head run over several times
by an automobile. On October
22, during Pedro's wake, Agnes
Lamont, the mother of one of
the men killed during the occu-
pation, and Jenny Leading Fight-
er, another elderly woman, were
seriously injured when their car
was struck by another in which
two BIA policemen allegedly were
other shootings, rapes, beatings.
riding. And there have been
For a rural community of only
about 11,000 people, that's quite
a bit for a few months action.
Remember, these are deaths
since the occupation. On Novem-
ber 20, Allison Little Fast Horse,
age 15, was found dead in a ditch,
a bullet in his heart. All those
dead have been supporters of
the Wounded Knee occupation.
Allison was a close friend of
the grandchildren of G 1 a d y s
Bissonette, aunt of Pedro, and
herself an active participant in
the occupation.
Ten days before that, Philip
Little Crow was beaten to death.
Shots were fired at the home of
the Thunder Hawks in Porcupine
- police have made no investi-
gation, excusing the shooting as

a 'neighborhood disagreement'.
Irv Hand, who is alleged to be
part of the goon squad, has been
charged with the voluntary man-
slaughter of Little Crow. T h e
BIA investigator sent to question
him was Roy Black Lance, who
himself has a few notches on his
gun, one of them for the killing
of Clarence Cross last July.
Five days after Little C r o w
had his skuill cracked. Pat Hart,
a close friend of Pedro Bisson-
ette, was shot and badly wound-
ed. After ten hours of surgery
for stomach wounds, he was in
critical condition in the reserva-
tion hospital. Two BIA policemen
are suspected of the shooting, but
nobody has been arrested, ac-
cording to local witnesses.
'Not a single charge has been
filed against any of the oppres-
sors, the BIA police and goon
squad,' Aussell 'Means charged.
'Meanwhile, scores of Indians
who have spoken out for libera-
tion have been indicted and are
facin~g many years in jail.'
AT LEAST seven similar inci-
dents occurred earlier, be-
tween May and August.
Presently, 116 people are fac-
ing charges varying from imped-
ing a federal officer in the per-
formance of his duty during a
civil disorder to conspiracy and
assault for their particiaption in
the occupation of Wounded Knee
last year. The FBI has repeated-
ly harassed and at times inlleg-
ally detained legal defense in-
vestigators and attorneys, some-
times in violation of court orders.
The Legal Defense staff allege
that the FBI has in fact used
electronic surveillance devices
to overhear and record s o m e
conversations. 'Wounded K n e e
defendants argued that the U.S.
was more interested in 'crushing
the American Indian Movement'
than it was in obtaining justice'.
Certainly the facts in Pedro Bis-
sonette's case and others men-
tioned above tend to support
such, an allegation.
By now, you might be asking
yourself, "Dhat can I do about
all this?". Well, there are sev-
eral things that might h a v e
some effect. Become informed,
and tell others about what you've
learned. Send for a subscription
to Akwesasne Notes. They will
keep you up to date about what
is happening to Native Ameti-
cans and other non-whites in
this hemisphere. They are the
most objective and thorough
source I know for this kind of
information. They have no set
subscription rate, if you are poor
you can have the paper free, but
they certainly can use any money
you can spare. Their address is:
AKWESASNE NOTES
Mohawk Nation
Via Rooseveltown, N.Y. 13683
Another thing you can do is
to send money to various defense
fals which are trying to secure
bonds, releases, and acquittals
OPEN DAILY HURRY
12:45 ENDS
SHOWS AT 1, SUNDAY!
3, 5, 7 & 9 P.M.
231 S. State
Program lnformatin 662-6264
FRIDAY
Promptly at
7 & 9 p.m.
DIAL 668-6416

4-M
1214 South THE
University ST

for Native Americans who have
attempted to protect Indian rights
and press I n d i a n demands
through protest. One group is
greatly o.erworked and has very
limited iuAds, so even snall do-
na-tions would be appreciated.
Wounded Knee Legal Defense
Offense Committee
P. . Box 255
Sioux Falls, S. Dakota 57101
Telephone (605) 339-9805
Money, however, is not the
only way to help these groups.
In fact, it is too often only the
most convenient way to ease a
conscience. These legal groups
are often understaffed.- They
could use additional volunteer
help from legal counsels, para-
legal workers, people with typing
and short-hand experience, >and
people with news and media ex-
perience. Also, they often need
equipment such as typewriters,
copying machines, cameras, tape
recorders, TV and film making
equipment, etc. If you have extra
time, energy, or equipment,
please contact them at the above
addresses.
EVEN MOUNTING letter cam-
paigns directed at select po-
liticians may have some effect.
Although writing to politicians
may sound trite, they do have the,!
power to affect the outcomes of
presenttNative American strug-
gles. Perhaps enough irate citi-
zens can shame them into pro-
viding at least a little justice for
Native Americans. Try voicing
your protest to Sen. McGovern,
in whose state most of the Wound-
ed Knee peole are being tried.
The deaths listed above occur-
red on a reservation in h i s
state, participated in by federal
officers of the BIA. Letters might
be sent to Morris Thompson, the
new BIA Commissioner, to Rog-
ers Morton, the Secretary of the
Interior, under whose jurisdic-
tion the BIA falls to President
Nixon, if he is not too busy
fending off Watergate allegations,
or to your local Congressman or
Senator. Suggest legislation to
drop all charges against those
who participated in the Wounded
Knee occupation, and legislation
stating that the U.S. Government
wil immediately honor commit-
ments made but not fulfilled in
past treaties with Native Ameri-
cans.
The incidents described in the
excerpts from Akwesaens Notes
are continuing to this day. Na-
tive Americans are being rip-
ped-off daily in areas concern-
ing land, resources, fishing and
hunting rights, health, educ'ition.,
employment, culture, and the
right to self-determination. To
many of is this might seem ike
empty phrases, but to Native
Amerians it is a life and death
struggle. These wrongs will not
be righted until Americans be-
come vocal in demanding chang-
es. Pressure must be put on the
Government and corporatians to
end their devastating oolicies
against Native Americans. Our
complacency in the face of their
oppression is and always wIll
be the main reason for Wounded
Knees.

LSA
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January 29
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Long-Range Planning
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Office of Student Services Policy Board
U. Cellar Board of Directors
Student Organizations Board
-ALSO-
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Interviews for all of these committees will be next
Mon., Tues., and Fri. (Jan. 28, 29 and Feb.1),
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