FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Women of AIM

Women in the American Indian Movement shared stories of lives lived with great courage, as federal agents stalked them and attempted to intimidate them, during the AIM International Conference.

The AIM Women’s Leadership panel brought together five AIM women to share their life stories. Anne Begay, Navajo, was among them. Begay is the mother of Kathy Peltier, the daughter of imprisoned American Indian activist Leonard Peltier.

Begay spoke of her Dine’ family, a medicine family of men and women medicine people, who provided her with a childhood of structure, rich with history and culture.

After returning from the Longest Walk in 1978, Begay took her daughter Kathy to the park one day. Her daughter was about two years old at the time.

“This gentleman sat down next to me, with shiny shoes.” He began to question her.

“Who’s her father?”

“None of your business,” Begay told him. He persisted with his questions and referred to the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.

He said, “Well, we know who you are. And if you’re smart, you’ll know what we did to Anna Mae can happen to your daughter too.” “So, for all those years, it has been terrifying,“ Begay said, “to know that they can do that to my daughter.”

Speaking on the panel, Yvonne Swan, Colville from Washington State, spoke of being under government surveillance in the 1970s, because Leonard Peltier was her friend, and Bill Kunstler was her lawyer.

Swan spoke of learning to become aware of the men “with shiny shoes,” and men in suits, parked in unmarked cars. She trained her children to watch for these men, and once her son was grabbed by one of them, but was able to get away.

During her fight against corporate mining, she also watched for those federal agents that stalked members of the American Indian Movement. “The government is merely a screen for the rich corporations,” Swan said. “They have the money to buy people off, they have the money to send people in to disrupt.

“But don’t ever underestimate the power of the people.”

Opening the panel discussion, Swan said the voices on the panel were coming from the hearts and spirits of the women.

“We’re survivors of abuse as women, as is Mother Earth, as is Grandmother Moon.”

Speaking of the importance of the American Indian Movement, Swan said she takes her actions seriously and holds herself accountable.

“We’re caretakers, we are up against the destroyers.”

“We are told to not take more than we need, because there are future generations that are coming that will be hungry.”

Swan pointed out that the Six Nations model of governance became the model for the US Bill of Rights. However, the US removed the aspects of the Six Nations governance that gave US women power and leadership. Ultimately, the US tortured and imprisoned women in the US as they fought for their right to vote.

Swan also pointed out the role of the Pope that resulted in American Indians being called “Savages.”

Madonna Thunderhawk, Lakota, said the struggles are intergenerational, the struggles for the “land, water, our people, the children.”

“The work continues, the struggle continues.”

Thunderhawk said she has continued to struggle since the 1960s in South Dakota, because this is what the movement taught her. “I learned not to just sit back and complain.”

Thunderhawk said she appreciated seeing the youths present at the conference, and that Clyde Bellecourt’s talks always fire her up.

Corine Fairbanks of Santa Barbara, Calif., AIM, spoke of watching out for personal egos and those on Facebook who pose as traditional Indians, but are actually New Agers. Fairbanks also spoke of disruptions, with people carrying out the work of federal agents by spreading negative comments.

Speaking on infiltration, Fairbanks pointed out that even small groups of peace activities are targeted for infiltration by US agents.

Morning Star Gali, Pit River, born in the AIM Oakland house, said organizing within the movement has been an honor. “For me, the movement was always grounded in a place of spirituality and love, that was the movement I was raised in.”

Morning Star spoke of bullying and abuse. She encouraged women to support one another. “We’re survivors, we’re survivors of rape, we’re survivors of abuse.” .

Watch this webcast, recorded live by Earthcycles: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/11046674

BRENDA NORRELL is publisher of Censored News, focused on Indigenous Peoples and global human rights. http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail