FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Wounds from Wounded Knee

“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.

More articles by:

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

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail