FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Wounds from Wounded Knee

by JACK RANDOM

“The reason Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham were indicted for the murder of Anna Mae was because someone who was investigating her murder was getting too close to the truth aboutFBI complicity in her killing.”

From “The Place Where Spirits are Eaten” for Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, by Antoinette Nora Claypoole.

In 1868, the Fort Laramie Treaty promised that the sacred Black Hills would forever be reserved to the “absolute and undisturbed use and occupation” of the Lakota Nation. In 1874, gold was discovered and the white man’s words were discarded like pulp fiction.

In the ensuing years, the Lakota Nation was divided between the “friendly” Indians and the “renegades,” including Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. When the renegades embraced the Ghost Dance toward the end of the 1880s, federal troops were called in to crush the “uprising.” In 1890, their efforts were crowned by the Wounded Knee Massacre.

By 1900, the US Census estimated the indigenous population at just over 237,000, down from an estimated ten million before the Europeans set foot on American soil. The North American Indians were at the edge of extinction.

In the 1970s, uranium was discovered in the Black Hills and the Lakota Nation was once again divided. On one side was the established order of friendly Indians in the Pine Ridge tribal council; on the other were the new renegades of the American Indian Movement (AIM). Alarmed by the new activism, federal agents were summoned to crush the AIM “uprising.” A series of arrests, beatings, shootings and terrorism culminated in the Wounded Knee siege of 1974. While media attention may have prevented a second massacre on those hallowed grounds, the aftermath of that event has never allowed closure.

In 1977, on the strength of falsified evidence and coerced testimony (a matter of public record), Leonard Peltier was convicted and imprisoned for the murder of two FBI agents. There was great hope that Bill Clinton would find the courage to free Peltier in the waning days of his presidency but a public demonstration by over 500 agents (never before or since has any federal agency taken to the streets in protest) precluded that possibility.

Today, the wounds of Wounded Knee are open once again. David Graham is being extradited from Canada to face charges in the 1976 murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. As seems to be the case with all matters concerning Wounded Knee, there is no shortage of controversy within or without the Lakota community in regard to this case. The facts are disputed and the truth may forever be obscured.

What is not in dispute is that this nation has never settled the account with its native peoples. It is no longer disputed that the Bureau of Indian Affairs stole literally billions of dollars from indigenous tribes while consistently proclaiming that the Indians were incapable of managing their own affairs. What should not be disputed is that, under the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the Black Hills remains the property of the Lakota Nation, as did all the gold, silver, copper and uranium extracted from them. Indeed, the faces of the Great White Fathers carved into the sacred mountains, within a few miles from where the Crazy Horse Monument is slowly reaching completion, belong to the Lakota.

Before we send our troops to foreign lands, ostensibly to fight for the liberation of indigenous peoples, let us turn our attention to our own back yard. While we can never return to the Indian people what is rightfully theirs, we can return to the table of negotiations with an honest and open heart. We can make real and just reparations. We can return sacred lands to the people who spilled their blood defending them.

Until we do so, all our claims to the crowning glory of the world’s liberator will be as empty as the promises we gave to the indigenous nations. Until we settle the account, we will bear the mark of hypocrisy in all that we do.

Free Leonard Peltier and let the wounds of Wounded Knee finally begin to heal.

JACK RANDOM is the author of the Jazzman Chronicles, the War Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press). He can be reached through his website: www.jackrandom.com.

Jack Random is the author of Jazzman Chronicles (Crow Dog Press) and Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press.)

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 23, 2017
John Wight
Trump’s Inauguration: Hail Caesar!
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Trump and Isis Have More in Common Than You Might Think
Binoy Kampmark
Ignored Ironies: Women, Protest and Donald Trump
Gregory Barrett
Flag, Cap and Screen: Hollywood’s Propaganda Machine
Gareth Porter
US Intervention in Syria? Not Under Trump
L. Ali Khan
Trump’s Holy War against Islam
Gary Leupp
An Al-Qaeda Attack in Mali:  Just Another Ripple of the Endless, Bogus “War on Terror”
Norman Pollack
America: Banana Republic? Far Worse
Bob Fitrakis - Harvey Wasserman
We Mourn, But We March!
Kim Nicolini
Trump Dump: One Woman March and Personal Shit as Political
William Hawes
We Are on Our Own Now
Martin Billheimer
Last Tango in Moscow
Colin Todhunter
Development and India: Why GM Mustard Really Matters
Mel Gurtov
Trump’s America—and Ours
David Mattson
Fog of Science II: Apples, Oranges and Grizzly Bear Numbers
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail