Wednesday, August 8, 1973 THE SUMMER DAILY Page Five
Wounded Knee scars remain
By PHYLLIS MENSING began the confrontation with
Associated Press writer government marshals and FBI
WOUNDED KNEE, S.D. (P)-
Each day brings carloads of
tourists to this small village.
The license plates span the
Union; Pennsylvania, Missouri,
New Jersey, Nebraska.
For many summers, people
have come to view a cemetery
holding the remains of 146 In-
dian men, women and children
killed by U.S. cavalrymen in
1890. But there is an added rea-
son for coming this year, the
result of militant Indians' highly
publicized 71-day takeover of the
village that ended May 8.
Reminders of the occupation
are visible everywhere: a burn-
ed-out church, a flattened trad-
ing post, slogans on a museum,
carpenters carrying lumber and
Undetectable to the average
tourist, however, are scars left
on some of the people of Woun-
ed Knee and the surrounding
Pine Ridge Reservation, home of
11,000 Oglala Sioux.
"The people here are cultural-
ly closely knit by a kinship pat-
tern relationship. This sudden
episode of aggressiveness has
strained the pattern," said John-
son Holy Rock, a former Oglala
tribal chairman who now is a
member of the tribal council.
"There's an atmosphere of dis-
trust or disagreement or dissen-
sion among the people them-
selves,' 'he went on. "Some were
in favor of what happened,some
d i s a g r e e d. Consequently, it
brought people into conflict. In-
ternal family structures have
been disrupted because brothers
and sisters, aunts and uncles
have started taking sides on po-
sitions of the people involved.
On Feb. 27, a group led by the
American I n d i a n Movement
(AIM) swept into the village,
took over the trading post and
agents who set up roadblocks
around the hamlet.
The stage went on and on. Be-
fore it ended with an agreement
on May 8, two Indians and two
federal agents were wounded and
two occupiers-Frank Clearwat-
er, identified later as a white
named Frank Clear, and Law-
rence Lamont, an Oglala Sioux-
were shot dead.
Now, nearly three months lat-
.er, a key issue raised by AIM
continues to divide the Oglala
AIM leaders Russell Means
and Dennis Banks demanded that
tribal Chairman Richard Wilson
be ousted and new elections be
held. They also called for the re-
moval of Bureau of Indian Af-
fairs Supt. Stanley Lyman.
Wilson, who calls AIM mem-
bers hoodlums and extortionists,
said in a recent interview that
he expects to seek re-election in
January, despite several im-
peachment attempts during his
13 months in office.
"The AIM have a whole lot of
grievances but no solutions,"
said Wilson. "I think only the
elected constitution] officers can
have the solutions.
"AIM didn't help us one bit,"
he added. "If there's been any
change since the occupation, its
been for the worse."
"At election time, the atmos-
phere is going to be real tense,
depending on what happens with
the tribal legislative system,"
said Holy Rock. "I think those
who are opposed to constitutional
government are going to make an
aggressive bid to take charge
of tribal government and prac-
tice the traditional form."
But he said the traditional form
of government, advocated by
some pro-AIM people, is almost
An Indian on horseback scans the countryside near Wounded Knee, S.D. last May as another has rifle
ready for action. The scars of the protest, both physical and mental, remain today.
"Some practice a loose form of
traditional government, for ex-
ample, following the hereditary
line of chiefs. But they are mere-
ly going through the motions.
Those that want traditional gov-
ernment are trying to reach back
and grasp something about as il-
lusive as a fish that one tries to
catch by the hand. It all adds
to the confusion."
One of the terms of the settle-
ment was thjat White House re-
presentatives come to the reser-
vation to discuss creation of a
presidential commission to study
the 1869 treaty-granting the Sioux
all land in South Dakota west
of the Missouri River.
That group met late in May
with Frank Fools Crow and other
tribal elders near Kyle, north-
east of Wounded Knee. Fools
Crow and the others urged the
White House to abolish the Ind-
ian Reorganization Act t h at
provides for elected tribal gov-
ernments, and to let the Indians
returnrto older ways.
Nothing major has come from
Another issue raised by AIM
was the reform of the Bureau of
Indian Affairs and changes in
federal Indian relationships. Sev-
eral congressional hearings have
been held, but no major chang-
es have been implemented.
Holy Rock, who was part of a
task force that studied the is-
sue, said the group concluded
that although it had faults, the
BIA was necessary to the future
of the Indian.
"We have a lot of problems
with our young people," H o ly
Rock said. "They have a lot of
energy and things they observed
at Wounded Knee fit into their at-
titudes. They see an avenue for
that energy and whether it is
right or wrong, it is appealing.
"The takeover seems to have
brought an increase in an at-
titude adverse to law enforce-
ment and the judicial system as
practiced by the tribe under
But a teacher at Pine Ridge
said students appeared to be
more excited about AIM a year
ago. "AIM sort of wore out its
welcome," he said.
While the debate goes on so
does the rebuilding of damaged
property and for some it is a
particularly bitter experience.
Eva and Paul Red Star a r e
among several displaced Wound-
ed Knee families living in tem-
porary trailer homes in P i n e
Ridge. New houses being built in
Wounded Knee are expected to
be finished this fall.
"We're going back. It's our
homestead," said Mrs. Red Starr.
"The government forced us
out. They took our food because
they thought it would be given to
AIM," her husband added. "In-
stead of going to the store, where
the AIM forces were, they went
to the homes of the residents and
forced them to leave."
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