In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
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On a hot June morning in 1975, a shoot-out between FBI agents and American Indians erupted on a reservation near Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Two FBI agents and one Indian died. Eventually four Indians, all members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were indicted on murder charges, Twenty-two years late, one of them, Leonard Peltier, is still serving two consecutive life sentences. The story of what really happened and why Matthiessen is convinced of Peltier's innocence, forms the central narrative in this classic work of investigative reporting. But Mathiessen also reveals the larger issues behind the Pine Ridge shoot-out: systematic discrimination by the white authorities; corporate determination to exploit the uranium deposits in the Black Hills; the breaking of treaties; and FBI hostility towards the AIM, which was set up to bring just such issues to light. When this book was first published it was immediately the subject of two $25 million-dollar legal actions that attempted to suppress it permanently. After eight years of court battles, ending with a Supreme Court judgement, Mathiessen won the right to tell Peltier's and his people's story.
car.” At any rate, Marshall was arrested in Means’s conspicuous brown-and-white cowhide, which was made much of in the subsequent trials. Although it was a county police matter, the FBI pounced on this case involving two AIM leaders, and on the day after the shooting, its Minneapolis office sent out a memo re Richard Marshall that reflects the political nature of its interest: This investigation is based upon information which indicates the subject is engaged in activities which could involve a
the Peltier trial,” Hultman had decided not to call her after all; as assistant prosecutor Crooks explained to her, the trial was “going all right” without her help. To add to the confusion, Poor Bear herself, who had refused at Cedar Rapids as well as at Fargo to have anything to do with the defense attorneys, decided that she was going to change her testimony. “After she attempted to move to the defense side,” Peltier recalls, “I talked to her on a phone from the next room, and asked her why
Robideau jerked his chin at the pasture road that came down under the bluff from the Little cabin. “That’s where them agents got it,” he said, expressionless. “They come in right down there. Before we knew it, the whole area was surrounded, all along the roads and over there across the river—everywhere! There’s just no way they could have got so many guns out here so fast unless they were looking for a shoot-out in the first place.” He circled a small green shed near the east wall of the small
the red pickup and its occupants—or not, at least, in documents that have surfaced—for the good reason that no one could do so without incriminating other local people or acknowledging his or her own participation.) Reports of red cars go back to the previous March, when BIA officers visited the Pumpkinseed residence, where Judy Pumpkinseed had noticed a red International Scout after hearing shots fired in her direction. The BIA officers also noticed a red International Scout parked in the area
million acres of productive forest. As it turned out, the Klamath forests had been coveted for years by the Weyerhaeuser Timber Corporation, which had gained the sympathetic ear of an Oregon Republican named Douglas McKay, considered—until 1981—the most destructive Secretary of the Interior since Albert Fall of Teapot Dome, in the Harding administration. The Menominee, who had invited trouble by successfully suing the BIA for mismanagement of their forest resource a few years earlier, lost their