4 comments on “OLD BOOTS ?

  1. Providing some additional background and details:
    “Old Cowboy Boots” – Didn’t the LPDC say that the shootout at Pine Ridge was over a stolen pair of used cowboy boots?

    (Please see below for an update of the “Old Cowboy Boots” story with an interview with the victim, Jerry Schwarting: January 17, 2005)

    Yes, the LPDC said that, but that’s not really how it all started.

    The backdrop to the shooting on June 26 began on June 23 by an incident at the Orville Schwarting ranch near Batesland on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Schwartings needed some help branding cattle. Orville Schwarting’s son, Jerry, an agriculture student at the University of Nebraska, contacted Hobart Horse, a young Oglala who had worked for the Schwarting’s so often he was considered almost part of the family. Horbart Horse said he could enlist three others to help. Jerry Schwarting and Robert Dunsmore, 14 (the son of the woman married to a hired hand), were taken captive at gun point by Horse and his associates – Herman Thunder Hawk, Teddy Pourier, and Jimmy Eagle (Gladys Bissonette’s grandson), after the two had taken them back to Pouriers’ home. They were held overnight and were robbed, threatened, and beaten. Dunsmore was undressed and kept away from Schwarting. Pourier slashed Schwarting on the arm with a pocketknife and both Dunsmore and Schwarting had a gun fired repeatedly over their heads. When the two were released, Schwarting’s sister reported the incident to the Pine Ridge authorities. It was not a case of an overnight drinking session among friends that got out of hand and resulted in the theft of a pair of old cowboy boots.

    Warrants for the arrest of the four involved in the kidnapping were issued. Pourier was arrested on June 25 on charges of assault with a deadly weapon. That afternoon, Agents Coler and Williams, accompanied by BIA police officers Robert Ecoffey and Glen Little Bird, searched the White Clay area for the other suspects, especially Jimmy Eagle. The investigation led them to the Jumping Bull area and the home of Wallace “June” Little, less than a quarter of a mile from the Jumping Bull residence. They were told none of the suspects were there and a search of the house proved negative. The officers said they planned to continue the investigation in the Oglala area the next day. On the way back to Pine Ridge they questioned three youths, and took them back to Pine Ridge. None of them were among the wanted suspects and they were released that evening.
    (“In The Spirit of Crazy Horse” and “Wounded Knee”)

    (It is by no small coincidence that one of the three youths questioned by Agents’ Coler and Williams and the BIA Officers that evening was Norman Charles. From that contact, Norman Charles knew full well who Agents’ Coler and Williams were and the vehicles they drove. It was Norman Charles, along with Joe Stuntz, who accompanied Leonard Peltier in his borrowed red Chevrolet truck, that the Agents followed onto Pine Ridge the next day. It was Peltier, Stuntz and Norman Charles who first fired on the Agents.)

    (“Old Cowboy Boots” Revisited)

    An element of the folklore surrounding Leonard Peltier is the continuing theme that Agents Coler and Williams went to Pine Ridge and Jumping Bull searching for someone who stole an old pair of cowboy boots.

    A follow-up to this issue was prompted by a lengthy article in the Toronto Sun, within which the reporter stated, “On the morning June 26, 1975, Coler and agent Ron Williams drove into the Jumping Bull property, ostensibly to look for a teenager who had allegedly stolen a pair of cowboy boots.” This article also precipitated another round of threats of lawsuits between a Peltier attorney and an editor who criticized the reporter and the article. The NPPA was prompted to finally get to the bottom of this incident.

    On the evening of January 17, 2005 Mr. Jerry Schwarting was telephonically contacted and asked if he would be willing to discuss the incident which occurred on June 23, 1975. He agreed. Mr. Schwarting stated that he considered Hobart Horse a family friend and after a day of branding cattle with several other individuals agreed to provide Hobart Horse a ride to the residence of Teddy Pourier. Also at this residence were Herman Thunder Hawk and Jimmy Eagle. Accompaying them to Pourier’s residence was a younger male, Robert Dunsmore. Mr. Schwarting is white; the other individuals were Native Americans.

    While there, after some prompting and friendly dares from Hobart, Schwarting agreed to wrestle Hobart Horse for fun; he did, and beat Hobart three times. It was at that point the evening turned from an impromptu social gathering into a dangerous and criminal confrontation. Schwarting was beaten by the others, and held, along with the young teenager Dunsmore who was stripped of his clothes. They were both threatened, even with castration, and had guns repeatedly fired over their heads by the others.

    During the telephonic interview, Mr. Schwarting, on his home computer, reviewed the NPPA section (above) concerning this incident and agreed that it was an accurate summary of what had happened. Mr. Schwarting added that at one point they stole his vehicle, jacket and boots, and clarified that the boots were only two months old and cost $200. Two hundred dollars in 1975 was a good sum of money to pay for a pair of boots.

    Mr. Schwarting stated that during this episode he was put in fear for his life, was cut several times by Hobart and still carries the scars to this day.

    He recalls being interviewed by FBI Agents Coler and Willilams, providing them with the details of the incident and later being held in protective custody for a period of time.

    The final outcome of the charges in this incident is irrelevant. The fact remains that there was a violent confrontation, felony laws were violated, charges were filed, including robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, warrants issued, and on June 25th, one of the subjects, Teddy Pourier was arrested. Agents Coler and Williams were pursuing a fugitive investigation at that point and were attempting to locate and apprehend Jimmy Eagle on June 25, and at Jumping Bull on June 26.

    To claim that the “Incident at Oglala” was over a stolen pair of old cowboy boots, as Peltier and the LPDC have repeatedly suggested, would be like saying Leonard Peltier has never changed his version of what happened at Jumping Bull that fateful morning.

    • I’m sure all do, much the same as they did before the Mr.X lie was
      “officially” exposed by a Peltier attorney – it like so many other
      things that compose the myth is an inconvenient truth that if acknowledged
      threatens the entire charade.

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