Roque Duenas was of the Yaqui nation-not as well know a tribe as others but with a history of their own. They were not federally recognized as a distinct nation until 1978.
A little less than two years after Peltier’s escape from Lompoc Federal prison Roque Duenas and his nephew Henry Davis are murdered from what appears to be blows to their heads.
Davis’ body is found in 1981 along with a capsized boat they were fishing in-it isn’t until 1994 that Duenas body is discovered and identified.
A few stories have been floated about who the killer was and the motivation- one being a crazed fellow fisherman and the fact that Vernon Bellecourt considered Duenas to be an informant-another example of AIM’s musical chairs informant lottery.
It has been said that Duenas was involved with Peltier’s escape-I have no way of knowing if that has any validity or not, and it’s difficult to sift through the red herrings AIM and the Peltierites are noted for tossing out.
But a singular fact remains and stands out -Duenas had been labelled an informant by Vernon and AIM had issued a statement of giving a thirty day amnesty for any who were or suspected of being to step forward and identify themselves.
That statement was issued with a codicil that upon the expiration of the amnesty period AIM would take care it of themselves.
A bold statement issued as a death threat with no apparent legal consequence.
Interesting that Vernon made the comment on several occasions that he believed Annie and Roque to be the infamous informants known as A and B.
Another singular fact remains-Annie was also labelled an informant and likewise wound up dead.
“The Creator made ocean animals and allowed some to emerge onto land. Some evolved into a short human form: the Surem. These are the early ancestors of the Yaquis. The Surem lived in a time out of mind and were a peace-loving, gentle people who had no need for government. Life in the Sonoran desert was a harmonious perfection for the Surem until God spoke through a little tree and prophesied about new horticultural techniques, Christianity, savage invaders, and disunity. The Surem became frightened about parts of this message and transformed into taller, defensive farming people called Yaquis (Hiakim) or Yo’emem (The People)”
The People-the nations have always referred to themselves as the people, or human beings-yet since the arrival of Columbus have seldom been treated as though we are. We are The People, human beings-it is imperative we remember that act as such.