“Not trusted anymore”-that’s about as plain a language as can be employed-and I would think puts the AIM, Means, Banks, Bellecourt supporters between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
The same crowd who always go on about tradition and respect for elders-yet we see it doesn’t present a problem for them.
They will either ignore this statement or attempt to say as some have that it is meaningless -even qualify that by going so far to as to say that if the traditional, legitimate, leadership was opposed to something what has been characterized as “hard core AIM” would circumvent them by gaining approval of the AIM wannabe chiefs the Oyate reference.
Places things in a different perspective doesn’t it? And now the same wannabe chiefs attempt to portray themselves as benevolent elders seeking to guide their people to the promised land, and the same disconnected mentality that supports them remains in place.
This great observance and respect for tradition can be seen in those celebrity sponsored Sundances and ceremonies characterized as being Leonard Crow Dogs, Russell Means, Dennis Banks, or Clyde Bellecourts Sundance -as if they own them, as though affixing their tainted names to them somehow enriches the experience or value.
Russell Means, the nations version of Lon Chaney, Man of a Thousand faces, did his best to float the idea he was Crazy Horse come again, what’s left for those who remain? Will they say they have seen visions of PtesanWi in their version of Fatima, will they attempt to make Pe Sla this hemispheres Lourdes?
Make no mistake about it Pe Sla is destined to become a commercial venture as brought to you by the new and improved traditionals, it will be marketed under the guise of a spiritual embrace of all people, all about love and brotherhood, “evangelists” spreading the word and saving souls -but what it’s really about is money, the further erosion of tradition, and individuals seeking to promote themselves while enhancing the market value of their name.
What follows is the voice of the traditional leadership -which side you choose to accept defines where you are coming from and little is left that remains to be said.
This statement was issued roughly fifteen years ago, more is know now, and I can’t help but wonder what would be said if it were updated, and to what degree such an update would be ignored by those who claim to be traditionalists.
September 28, 1999
H’e Sapa Wakan Inyan
Traditional elders of the Lakota Nation have drafted a press release, in response to the recent information from the elders of the Mi’qmaw Nation about the involvement of the American Indian Movement (AIM) leadership, in collaboration with the FBI and other US governmental agencies, in the murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash in 1975 on the sacred and ancient lands of H’e Sapa (Black Hills). This is in response to a press conference in Ottawa, Canada held September 16 by the Pictou family, and sanctioned by the Assembly of First Nations.
This is a draft from the only legal and spiritual Government of the Lakota Oyate, in Alliance with the Mato Paha Okolokiciye and the Dakota/Nakota traditional Oyates, as well as the signatories of the 1851 Ft. Laramie/Dog Creek Treaty; as well as the Looking Horse family who are keeping the Canumpa Wakan, and our many humble Sundancers and Pipe-Carriers. These include the 8 district Itanscan and many tiyospayes and their leaders and spokesmen and women, who declared Independence on Mato Paha (Bear Butte), where only the truth can be told, on July 14, 1991 from the illegal colonial US-Canadian government(s).
Akicita Director Bernard Peoples read the following Statement, after extensive Counsels for a week, and Ceremonies:
“We demand that the leadership of AIM come forward and tell the full detailed story of what happened here in the 1970s, and especially the events of 1975 surrounding the firefight on the Jumping Bull property, and the events and people involved in the murder of Anna Mae, whose mutilated body was found in February, 1976.
“The time for secrecy is over. The time for the manipulations of the US oppressors on our People is over, killing us, imprisoning us, starving us, poisoning us with alcohol, and making us too afraid to talk and reveal the truth. We want to know everything Dennis Banks did on June 26, 1975, and exactly where he was that day – for we have the transcript of his Trial in Custer and he was not there that day, so he has no alibi, as he and his apologists have always claimed.
“Exactly what does Leonard Peltier know, and why does he refuse to this day to reveal the full story, even though he has been rotting in American prisons all these years? The People feel betrayed, and we do not feel it is honorable for Peltier and Banks to cover up the truth, especially when so many of our people have been killed and are still dying because of this paranoia, distrust, deceit, greed, and egotism of the AIM leaders. Their silence only looks like arrogance to us, and the elders, while they exploit our cultures and fly around the world acting like chiefs. They are the Wannabes, not the many sincere non-Natives who know and love our people and come here to help us.
“If you are innocent, Dennis, say so to the world, and give us the exact names, places, dates, and all the details of these terrible tragedies we are still suffering from. It means nothing to show up for marches at White Clay and Mobridge and Rapid City if you have lost the trust of the grassroots oyayes and tiyospayes, which you have. AIM is not trusted on our Reservations-Concentration Camps anymore, because of the deceit and double-dealing, and the many stories of your corruption with our young girls, violence to our men, millions of dollars of donations that have never trickled down to the People.
“AIM has been discredited in South Dakota for at least 20 years, and still a handful of urban Indians claim to be leaders, and talk the big talk of Warriors. No. We do not even know charlatans like Ward Churchill around here. This has nothing to do with partisanship, or whether we are pro-Minneapolis AIM or Denver AIM, Inc.
“As a Canadian elder said in a dispatch to us, ‘…when Anna Mae’s name is cleared, AIM will lose the cancer that has polluted it and tried to turn it into AIM INC.’
“We support the heroic efforts of the Mi’qmaw elders and the Pictou family, especially Robert Branscombe-Pictou, to expose these facts and document the case against the accused killers, and to provide convincing evidence. We know it was dangerous for him to go public and announce the truth, as there are still many violent and unprincipled people loose on our homelands, Native and non-Native alike, doing the dirty work of the Pigs-for-Hire. We honor you, Brother!
“We demand the accused participants in the heinous Tribunal of Anna Mae to come forward and clear their names with the facts – if they can. We know of the implications of Thelma Rios and Bruce Ellison, who still reside in Rapid City, in this case as well as the Peltier case, and their direct connection with Dennis Banks and his associates, including Kevin McKiernan who supplied Banks’ false alibi (and which was repeated stupidly by Peter Matthiessen in his deeply flawed book ‘In The Spirit of Crazy Horse’) while he was 100 miles away in Oglala taping and photographing the Firefight. He could not be in 2 places at once, Dennis. Bruce has played the tapes and bragged that he knew who the “real killers” were, but has arrogantly refused to talk all these years. Why? If you are clean, please prove it. Otherwise, you are playing into the FBI’s hands and they are surely laughing at all of us, like they laughed when they murdered women and children at Waco and Ruby Ridge and many places on Pine Ridge.
“As far as we know, only Vernon Bellecourt has issued an official denial in a Canadian newspaper. Quote: ‘We believe very strongly that the FBI and other government agencies on the periphery, were using extremist informants to set up what has been characterized as the execution death of Anna Mae Aquash.’ Unquote. Is that all, Vernon? WHO exactly are those ‘extremist informants’? Enough of the generic rhetoric.
“To John Trudell – please end your silence. We know your paranoia is awful, but you MUST tell us everything and clear yourself before the Spirits. It’s the only way.
“Wakan Inyan will forgive you, even if men do not. AIM is nothing. Truth is everything. Hau.”