Brief report on American Indian Movement (AIM) rally at University of Minnesota on September 25, 1973, followed by various speeches from rally. Speakers included Allan Spear, Angela Davis and Russell Means.
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It was a large friendly and supportive audience that came last week to the University of Minnesota to attend the Wounded Knee rally sponsored by the American Indian movement numbering between three and four thousand. The audience was composed mostly of young and Indian people. Although the group cut across racial lines to include black Chicanos and whites over a. Of almost six hours the audience heard from A diversity of speakers from a state congressman a black activist with a history of political conflict to civil rights defense lawyers, Indian spokesman both from a man from the Indian studies department at the U of M and from to church officials.One of the first to speak was Minnesota legislator Allen spear. Is sometimes called the Battle of Wounded Knee don't you believe that for one minute? They're always battles when the white people when the white people kill the Indians there only Mass occurs when the Indians killed the white people. But you know what happened at Wounded Knee in 1890. Do you know why Wounded Knee has gained the kind of symbolism that it has for the Indian people. Very brief way in 1890. There was a small group of Indians. Mostly people who have been defeated in a long series of wars and what's the white people stole the Indians land and killed them a small group of people were crossing the reservation the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota and they was stopped by the calorie for water them to the song and they did this song and the Cavalry order to search for weapons and several Sue broke into a congenital Holy song. To the soldiers. This was resistance. They open fire on a group of 120 man and 230 women and they shot them down people who were totally the song. Black joke one of the few survivors of the massacre of Wounded Knee described it this way. We follow down the Dry Gulch and what we saw it was terrible dead and wounded Indian women and children little babies were scattered all along where they have been trying to run away the soldiers that followed along the gulches. They ran and murdered them in there. Sometimes they were in heaps because they had huddled together and some were scattered all along. I saw a little baby trying to suck its mother but she was bloody and Dad. This is the way it was the women and children ran into the gout turn up the West dropping all the time for the soldiers shot them as they ran their only about a hundred Warriors and Soldiers the Warriors rush to where they file their guns and knives they fought Soldiers with their hands. But after the soldiers marched away from their dirty work a heavy snow began to fall the wind came up in the night. There was a big blizzard and it grew very cold the snow drifted deep in the Crooked Gulch and it was one long grave of butchered women and children and babies that would never done any harm and we're only trying to run away that was wounded knee in 1890. How does it sound like anything familiar? What's I'm 78 years later. It was a massacre some. 10000 miles across the world at a place called me Li. And if you think that the connection is a dubious one, let me just suggest this the Indian people were the first victims of American imperialism. The Vietnamese have only been the most recent. The same kind of cultural arrogance the same kind of political arrogance the same kind of greed the same kind of believe but our way and only our way must dominate the world went to Wounded Knee also lad to me lie. After Wounded Knee the expansion of the American Empire cross the ocean LED ultimately to the Mekong it went. Why are many other routes along the way Latin American countries Birmingham Alabama brown people black people yellow people as well as red people have faced the same kind of Massacre, but those few people faced in 1890 at Wounded Knee and what the American Indian movement is doing today is the same thing that non-white people and I hope their white supporters are doing everywhere. Mark Twain, one of the Wounded Knee defense lawyers related to series of background events on the Pine Ridge reservation, which led up to the Wounded Knee occupation. He contended that was well the tribal chairman Richard Wilson worked in collusion with the United States government, and he alleged of bias in news reporting from Wounded Knee last spring. There have been many things said about Wounded Knee in the press and almost all of them are untrue almost all of them. I know the Minneapolis Tribune has been the one paper the country which has come the closest to presenting the facts about the Wounded Knee but there is almost no place you can go on this country and find anyone who is watch CBS NBC ABC or read the local paper or time and Newsweek every day every week and who has any understanding about what happened there. What happened really and Wounded Knee? Is it after years and years of Oppression and brutality and after years and years of the Indian people trying to live under the system imposed upon them by the Indian reorganization Act which folk twitchpresents to them our way of life and impose it upon the Indian people and trying to function through that system trying to bring about some redress of grievances by going when there was a someone badly beaten by the police going and raising the question, but then finally witness who raised the question was himself badly beaten by the police and finally leading up to the point where an effort was made through the system to impeach the tribal chairman Jackie Wilson whole to know if failed both know if he'll Dave long was elected as Vice chairman of the tribe at the same election, which Dickie Wilson was elected chairman and Wilson decided that he didn't like they've long cuz they've longest making some sounds which sounds like sympathy for aim for the just demands of the people on the reservation. And so Wilson said, okay you're fired. He said the vice chairman is fire. The dry ice cream have been elected by the voters in in the on the reservation at across long said what you don't have that Authority and went to work the next day. And that his house was burned down because children at that night. and that's the way people who have tried over the years to work through the system on the Pine Ridge reservation. I've been treated to the finally there was a motion for the impeachment of Wilson and there was sound grounds and he should have been impeached but he got his Musselman together and called off the impeachment of that was the end of it. There just is no system on the Pine Ridge reservation through which one can work. The problem is not working for the system, but trying to find it if you want to work through it and so after all of this all of these years the people of the Pine Ridge reservation and meeting after meeting, And finally one last meeting voted unanimously. That's the medicine men. And the tribal chairman and the traditional leaders of the reservation voted unanimously to ask him to join fast to leadership and members of aim to come into Wounded Knee and join with them in an effort to repossess their own land and that's the crime of wounded need for which the defendants are facing in some cases between 150 and 175 years in jail each. That's the crime. And then of course after we went to see judge Bogue early in this thing, we asked because the federal government ring the area with tanks armored personnel carriers and trade vehicles, vehicles that look just like tanks with machine guns. They used helicopters. He was M16. It was a Vietnamese Village surrounded by an American task force. That's what Mutiny became as far as the government was concerned and sometimes 20 or 30 Route 20 or 30 thousand rounds of ammunition and I fired into that little village. We're children and babies and women and men with sleeping in their own homes. And the whole idea of the encirclement was to start about the Indian people the same game the same trick. The same military method that has been used against Indians since the Cavalry first came to these Shores. The star of them to death just as they deduct of a president the United States the buffalo with asteroid because they provided food and shelter and clothing for the Indian people and here again now the same method the star of the Indian people to death. I want to see judge Bogue the federal judge and we said let the food go in. There are people living there and he said these are all criminals. We try to point out to him. Criminal someone has been convicted of a crime and no one even had been charged that point. But in addition to that that most of the people and Wounded Knee from the very beginning with the residence of Wounded Knee who are main living there and this is something which the New Media has never presented because when finally the judge signed the order and said alright for 6 days six floors could each bring a car load of food and other words 6 carloads of food could go into wounded prepared of six days while the negotiations were back to begin the first day we brought the food in the second day the Department of Justice the FBI. United States Marshals knowing they could not stop us because we had an order signed by the federal judge of South Dakota saying we could go in there the federal government arranged to have another roadblock established. Set up by Jackie Wilson and John hussman and what he Richards Group of hired goons with guns and they block that and when lawyers came the next day and legal work is try to deliver food. The food was stolen from them and they're pushed around. They were told that they don't care what the federal district judge says. Reset here is your order. We're trying to follow it that these people have set up a little Eagle Road Block with guns and it prevented the federal court order from being carried out. What are you going to do about it? And he said well, what can I do? He said the FBI is against me the Marshalls or against me. I have no power and he was practically cringing it out for the most powerful man in the state of South Dakota. The federal judge was telling us he had no power to act and you know what he finally did that day. He acted by Crossing out the provision of the order which said the food to go in for 6 days a year did the federal court in South Dakota yielded to the pressure of the Goon Squad and the Vigilantes and change the order because I could not be affected if the Goon Squad didn't want it to be affect you waited. And if the FBI in the Marshalls did not want to be effectuated. And then the Press started telling us about the Goon Squad roadblock and this up all the lies told about Wounded Knee. This was the most vicious that the members of aim had gone in had occupied the homes of the people live there who chased the people out and they destroy their homes. That was the story we got day after day from all the news in Wireless services in the national television networks. And if that time in fact there were thirty-five family is really worth 52 families and moved in at the beginning 35 families Wounded Knee or living outside of Wounded Knee. How do they get out because I'm one Saturday morning the FBI in the Marshalls and formed the people of Wounded Knee that if they could go out and go shopping that day and it would be allowed free access back to their homes. And so 35 families left to go shopping turn back the Roblox. They were told they could never get back in again. And the Press said you see the people have left a man. They don't want to return Can we discuss this with CBS and NBC ABC they all had their television crews in the giant trailers outside of the church is in in Pine Ridge one was about 10 feet from the church. There were eight families living in that church overnight because I have no place else to go to go there for a couple of weeks and no place else to go and those families were giving us a half a day. But since they've been tricked out they wanted to go back in and CBS scary stories about how every all the Indian family is. The old-time residents had deserted aim, and there they were ten feet away from the trailer and they wouldn't go in and talk to the people instead. They want to cross the street to the Bia building and listen to The Briefing sessions which represented by the federal government and its agents and that's how the news of what took place in the American people One Federal Government after another until finally a petition was circulated among the 3136 families. Amputation was circulated among the 36 families were living outside in response to the statements of the Goon Squad that we have set up this roadblock for one purpose and that is because we represent the old-time residents of Wounded Knee. 36 family sign that petition and everyone over the age of six in each of the family sign the petition and the petition said the Goon Squad is not acting on our behalf. In fact, we call upon the federal government to arrest every member of the Goon Squad. We support the aim liberation of our community. We ask for permission to go back to our homes. We asked permission. The food go in and feed us and our guest the leaders and members of aim and That Was Then proof that everything the media had said about the occupation was a lie. But it has never been published and then when the occupation ended we were there the day they said the treaty was signed and as it was being signed and before that ink was dry. The Federal Marshals kept on the FBI just kept on firing white phosphorus flares into the area surrounding moving need to burn down the grass and they always fired the the flares up win from the village so that the smoke would blow into the village and they were doing that as the agreement was being signed in the DMZ on a hill overlooking gluconate as the people resided. I looked over their heads. Then I saw the flares and the fire is on the smoke going into the village and went on this. Was it about 3 in the afternoon. There's no need for flat the light up the area was bright. And then after the one of the terms was that the people and Wounded Knee would come out on the day. Which was set in May but all the people would come out. They would be quickly process those white ID could either go back if they lived in Boone today or go back to wherever they want to go and Rapid City any place else off around the reservation those it didn't have ID would be quickly photographed and fingerprinted. I could go back or could leave and went at 7:30 in the morning up. They were taking up to the hill and they're there till 5 in the afternoon. little babies without water or milk Outdoors all day long and while they were kept up there that Marshalls in the FBI, I just went through their homes followed by the Bia police who stole everything of value in the homes. It wasn't very much there as you must know, what a camera or radio and the not content with stealing everything in the homes. They then smashed the furniture and broke the windows and kicked in the doors. And then when that was finished before the people allowed to go back to their homes CBS NBC and ABC were taken on a tour of the homes. By the Federal Marshals and FBI agents and that's where you saw the pictures on television of the broken down homes in the broken windows as the marshals and FBI agent explain to the National audience. You see what I did when they came in and destroy the people's homes. And that's how the facts about Wounded Knee got to the American people. And so when judge Bogue tells us that we are not to talk about the facts because it somehow would Prejudice the case. We feel committed to pay no attention to his rule. Angela Davis one of the featured speakers at the rally related some of the events surrounding her own recent conspiracy trial and then she reacted to the John Birch convention a meeting being held in Downtown Minneapolis at the time of her speech. The John Birch Society is really not what it presumes to be. It presumes to criticize the government indeed and they it may be true. They might think the government is too soft to conservative to not violent enough not racist enough not fascist enough. but the government needs the John Birch Society. The US government depends on the John Birch Society as a very important weapon. Remember they talked about the dirty tricks Department. The soonest is Watergate story. They uncovered the existence of his dirty tricks Department. The plumbers, you know who broke into Ellsberg psychiatrist office at in California. well I think that's objectively at least the John Birch Society fits very well into that concept of a dirty tricks Department. How do you say it's important in trying to understand the role that they play because the government couldn't very well publish a vicious racist piece of literature like this Renegade the Second Battle of Wounded Knee, but the John Birch Society can publish it. The John Birch Society can do a lot of things that the government would not dare do above board. And so that is why we have to see them as Feathering a conspiracy that is deeply rooted. In the official US government policy towards the Indian people. Of course, they use exactly the same methods as Senator Joe McCarthy used some years ago. When he was running around trying to ravage the country with his fries of communism. They use anti-communism major weapon in their Arsenal. And what they do is they first of all try to evoke in the minds of the masses of people. An image of a communist Menace which is some kind of monstrous cancer. They tried to fighting and terrorize the people. So cozy totally misrepresenting what communism is all about and if they want to talk about communist. they use communism to Define everyone Who is not racist and who is not fascist but this is John Birch Society has decided. to Launch Hey racist campaign against the American Indian movement. They are trying to whip up racist anti-communist Hysteria. but I think that the fact that they deem the American Indian movement to be such a threat, but they have to try to build this Mass campaign against him tells us something about Hey, man, what a meme is been doing that is to say I think it tells us that ain't even been taking care of business and name should be proud to be the target of a attack from people as racist and it's Fashions is a John Birch Society because it says it ain't Miss where the struggle is at 8 a.m. Is leading the people that is why the John Birch Society has to attack a man such an all-out Mana. Russell Means a zoo from Pine Ridge describe the American Indian movement first as a spiritual force and then as a political movement he described as well the Indian treaty under which aim based its occupation of Wounded Knee earlier this year and he compared Indian treaties with treaties America has made with Germany Vietnam and other powers Senator, Sam Ervin dick knowledge senatorial expert on constitutional law stood up and specifically He stated that treaties made by the United States of America and ratified by the Congress. Our aunt is on par and equal to the Constitution of the United States the law of the land there for those treaties supersede executive decisions legislation laws of the federal government and of state governments. And that is our defense is the 1868 suit treaty ratified and declared April 29th. 1869. Now the 1868 treaty was made at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. It was made after. The Teton Lakota the Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho military Lee defeated the United States of America. We close close to Bozeman Trail. Do the Montana gold fields and force them to remove five forts from our country. So the United States of America sued for peace. With the Lakota people the Northern Cheyenne and the Arapahoe and the result was the 1868 to Trudy, but you see we come from a different culture. And because we were the victors. We believe in generosity to the vanquished so we gave the United States of America, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. and our generosity I believe it is time along with my fellow members in the American Indian movement that it is time. For Mr. Redman to enter into the International Community. and if I become president Are the independent Oglala Nation? Right now it's known as the Oglala Sioux Tribe. the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation what we will do it will take the first steps. To eradicate the United States of America's influence. from within our land deep the methods of course depend on the cooperation of various countries that we are in the process of already talking to various countries around the world who will recognize our sovereignty under the 1868 treaty. And deal with us on a sovereign basis. deal with us as International partners If there are, their cooperation is a short. Then when I become president, I will abolish that office. I will abolish the tribal council the tribal Constitution the Indian reorganization Act the Bureau of Indian Affairs the Public Health Service. the white ranchers and the white farmers of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation Then we will sit down and diplomatic negotiations with the United States of America to settle up. for the Western half of South Dakota retroactive to 1868 Because I know as I said. That we are the ancestors. Are those yet Unborn? And I prefer to die fighting than to submit to the slavery of the United States. I will leave you. with what Chief Seattle said when he was beaten But Not Conquered when he was being forced to move off his father land into a concentration camp Chief Seattle in the state of Washington. In Seattle said to his two is Victor zsasz does generals? Is a nation follows Nation? And tribe follows tribe it is like the waves of the sea it is the order of Nature and regret is useless for even the white man's God who walked and talked with him as friend with friend could not escape the common destiny. We may be brothers after all we shall see. The common emphasis in all the speeches at the U of M rally was the need to focus support for the defendants in the upcoming Wounded Knee trials trials quite likely to take place in Minneapolis is federal court the appearance of Angela Davis speaking on behalf of the Wounded Knee defendants, May signal a new political strategy not only with respect to those trials and their preparation, but also a new strategy attempting to revitalize Community groups Across the Nation and to rejoin the money which died or splintered off in the late 1960s. Perhaps the most notable attempt of its kind to create a single power Base by bringing together diverse groups was Reverend Ralph Abernathy Poor People's campaign several years ago in Washington DC Abernathy failed perhaps because infighting within specific groups precluded the emergence of an overall Unity of purpose from the larger campaign today in late 1973 some years later. Another major attempt is being made to coalesce many smaller movements into a larger one. In between the rally speeches at the University of Minnesota appeals were made for Farm Workers. And for Cesar Chavez is La Raza as well as for many other related causes. In addition and which has been firstly separatist and much of its five-year history asked for and received the support of the National Alliance to combat racism and political oppression and organization claiming the membership of / 250 groups across America. Whether a strong central multi-racial Civil Rights Movement will now emerge is speculative at this point Abernathy's Coalition attempts May well have failed because they did not appeal to the Equitable self-interest of all community-based movements which were solicited. The central issue then was poverty the context was economics, but the group leaders could not seem to muster the necessary support of the respective constituencies. If not, I'll with the rise of the American Indian movement in the attention of the upcoming Wounded Knee trials Indian. People are to become the focal point for a new Poor People's movement. Several questions will have to be asked how large is the support for the American Indian movement spokesman among Indian people. What effect will the game strategy of offensive treaty litigation have on poor people who are non-indian and finally can a strong and effective Coalition of poor whites Chicanos blacks and Indians emerge which will reflect mutual benefits to all parties concerned. This is Kevin McKiernan.