The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (Wazí Aháŋhaŋ Oyáŋke in Lakota) is an Oglala Sioux Native American reservation in South Dakota.
The Reservation, which was originally called the Great Sioux Reservation by white settlers, was established with the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and encompassed roughly 60 million acres. However, the U.S. government violated the treaty in 1876 by opening up 7.7 million acres to homesteaders and private interests.
In 1890, the U.S. 7th Cavalry killed more than 300 men, women and children, near Wounded Knee Creek, who were trying to get to Pine Ridge. The massacre has come to be known as the Wounded Knee Massacre.
In the 1970s, the reservation was the site of a 71-day-stand-off between American Indian Movement (AIM) activists and FBI Agents and the National Guard. AIM was lead by Dennis Banks and Russell Means. Two FBI agents were killed and two Oglala Lakotas were killed.
Minnesota Public Radio’s Kevin McKiernan was inside the Pine Ridge Reservation when the firefight broke out. MPR also covered the trial of the AIM leaders and other issues surrounding the reservation.
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March 27, 1973 - A Wounded Knee update, and the situation appears to be quite confusing. Senator Abouresk says it's all over, and attributes conditions for a resolution of crisis to Aaron DeSerra, a Rosebud Sioux who claims to speak for AIM. There are three conditions necessary for a conflict resolution: audit of tribal council books (Richard Wilson's books) on Pine Ridge Reservation, especially with fund disbursement; assurance by BIA that a petition for a referendum to recall Wilson will not be turned down; investigation of Civil Rights for those still at Wounded Knee. Meetings will be held tomorrow in Rapid City and at Roadblock One. There's an unconfirmed rumor that Richard Banks and Russell Means are no longer in Wounded Knee. A light plane came in and landed at Wounded Knee, unloaded what the government says is a cache of ammo and guns. On what evidence is there that this information is correct, reporter McKiernan says It's total speculation.
April 6, 1973 - Wounded Knee situation update. A cease fire still on, but it could go off if there will be no disarmament tomorrow. Marshal Coburn plans to come in tomorrow and sweep for weapons, do daylong search for weapons, photograph and arrest those with warrants, and interview residents of Wounded Knee. Russell Means is to call tomorrow midmorning with information about whether the meetings have started, which will determine whether to continue the cease fire. People are not willing to disarm at this time. There has been federal government misinterpretation about agreement. Kevin McKiernan reports.
April 10, 1973 - Audio from tape recording of hearing about Wounded Knee disarmament process. AIM and government dispute about when disarmament agreement would be signed, before or after the meeting. Once signing took place, next step would be a preliminary meeting with the White House and about how and how to implement dispossession of arms. Speaker questions how to resolve the arms situation. Speaker is possibly Richard Helstern, Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
April 10, 1973 - Agreement between AIM leaders and the government concerning disarmament process of Wounded Knee is in dispute. At the House of Indian Affairs Subcommittee, both sides presented their cases. The government said a call would be made by AIM leader Russell Means to his comrades to tell them to disarm before the meeting. Means said he would make the call only after he had concluded a meeting with White House officials and determined they are in good faith about the agreement. The agreement has no timetable to set down arms. Richard Helstern, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, claims the AIM is reneging on the agreement.
May 11, 1973 - Wounded Knee and coming up with bail money. Bail bondsmen won't write bail for Indians, and AIM can't afford any of the bails set, which range from $125,00 for Russell Means, down to $1,000. Rumors of money coming from celebrity supporters are reported, but so far they are just rumors. AIM Will ask for change of venue for all trials. Kevin McKiernan, reports.
May 16, 1973 - Inside Wounded Knee. Kevin McKiernan, who was inside the occupied village of Wounded Knee, described his experience and plays taped actualities of fire-fights between federal marshals and those inside the village. One hears conversations between Red Arrow, the government radio, and the central command radio of Wounded Knee-Clearwater.
August 27, 1973 - Unidentified interviewee with Bob Potter verifying reports of Clyde Bellecourt allegedly being shot by AIM leader Carter Camp.
August 30, 1973 - MPR’s Kevin McKiernan reports of harassment by the FBI and federal marshalls coming out from Wounded Knee. Occupiers talk of rapes, shootings and beatings. Currently there are several harrassment suits opened against some FBI officers in Rapid City.
August 31, 1973 - MPR’s Kevin McKiernan interviews unknown speaker, most likely Vernon Bellecourt, after arrest with Russell Means at Baptist Hospital while visiting Clyde Bellecourt on Aug. 30, which immediately followed indictments handed down by the Indian grand jury in Custer.
August 31, 1973 - Vernon Bellecourt, American Indian Movement leader, is fasting until all arrested are released on reduced bond amounts.