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

February 20, 2017
Bruce E. Levine
Humiliation Porn: Trump’s Gift to His Faithful…and Now the Blowback
Melvin Goodman
“Wag the Dog,” Revisited
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
David Smith-Ferri
Resistance and Resolve in Russia: Memorial HRC
Kenneth Surin
Global India?
Norman Pollack
Fascistization Crashing Down: Driving the Cleaver into Social Welfare
Patrick Cockburn
Trump v. the Media: a Fight to the Death
Susan Babbitt
Shooting Arrows at Heaven: Why is There Debate About Battle Imagery in Health?
Matt Peppe
New York Times Openly Promotes Formal Apartheid Regime By Israel
David Swanson
Understanding Robert E. Lee Supporters
Michael Brenner
The Narcissism of Donald Trump
Martin Billheimer
Capital of Pain
Thomas Knapp
Florida’s Shenanigans Make a Great Case for (Re-)Separation of Ballot and State
Jordan Flaherty
Best Films of 2016: Black Excellence Versus White Mediocrity
Weekend Edition
February 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Rogue Elephant Rising: The CIA as Kingslayer
Matthew Stevenson
Is Trump the Worst President Ever?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Flynn?
John Wight
Brexit and Trump: Why Right is Not the New Left
Diana Johnstone
France: Another Ghastly Presidential Election Campaign; the Deep State Rises to the Surface
Neve Gordon
Trump’s One-State Option
Roger Harris
Emperor Trump Has No Clothes: Time to Organize!
Joan Roelofs
What Else is Wrong with Globalization
Andrew Levine
Why Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban?
Mike Whitney
Blood in the Water: the Trump Revolution Ends in a Whimper
Vijay Prashad
Trump, Turmoil and Resistance
Ron Jacobs
U.S. Imperial War Personified
David Swanson
Can the Climate Survive Adherence to War and Partisanship?
Andre Vltchek
Governor of Jakarta: Get Re-elected or Die!
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Destruction of Mosul
Norman Pollack
Self-Devouring Reaction: Governmental Impasse
Steve Horn
What Do a Louisiana Pipeline Explosion and Dakota Access Pipeline Have in Common? Phillips 66
Brian Saady
Why Corporations are Too Big to Jail in the Drug War
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Peaceful Protest to Armed Uprising
Luke Meyer
The Case of Tony: Inside a Lifer Hearing
Binoy Kampmark
Adolf, The Donald and History
Robert Koehler
The Great American Awakening
Murray Dobbin
Canadians at Odds With Their Government on Israel
Fariborz Saremi
A Whole New World?
Joyce Nelson
Japan’s Abe, Trump & Illegal Leaks
Christopher Brauchli
Trump 1, Tillerson 0
Yves Engler
Is This Hate Speech?
Dan Bacher
Trump Administration Exempts Three CA Oil Fields From Water Protection Rule at Jerry Brown’s Request
Richard Klin
Solid Gold
Melissa Garriga
Anti-Abortion and Anti-Fascist Movements: More in Common Than Meets the Eye
Thomas Knapp
The Absurd Consequences of a “Right to Privacy”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail