Listen: 16873345.wav

Kevin McKiernan reports on the conviction of Leonard Crowdog, Stan Holder, and Carter Camp for incidents that grew out of the Wounded Knee affair. Report contains various excerpts of interviews and comments of members involved with trial.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

Once at trial started I did everything I could to remove from my mind that these were Indians. To me, they were individuals accused of a crime and it was my decision to make a judgment on them. It but my spiritual power could not be indicted more of the Indian people will stand tomorrow and then it's not going to be a 1976. Happy birthday for the white white government today of arms are in the people that we're not that I will not see that that was not be happened. That's on nice dates is Red Fang by the white white America ripoff the whole United States that you could see now today when they forcibly disarm government agents. and point weapons at them and give reason to the agents that they they are in danger that they take personal possessions of the agents and not return them that is to me a very serious situation Cedar Rapids Iowa was going to be a good trout. We thought we had an unprejudiced judge and could pick a fair jury in Cedar Rapids is the contrary is proved to be true. We turned out to have a very racist hurry up judge you has refused to read you know, what we considered very pertinent facts, you know in our case when we made motions to dismiss and we feel that no matter what the verdict of acquittal or are guilty that we haven't received a fair trial here. We haven't been allowed to explain to the people with having Indian Country, We're totally dissatisfied with the way the judges handle this case. It's not a name that the American Indian movement aimed at specific activities such as the arm seizure of Wounded Knee that kind of activity. We want to stop we don't care what the name is it's given to the people who Engaged in the United States true to form has done everything within their power to suppress a story and to keep it out of this trial the American Indian stand today with the federal government that we could not see Justice why Yellowstone that was murdered in Clearwater was murdered murdered. Larry Lamont was murdered brothers that died and Wounded Knee was murdered by the federal government. We are sick and tired but still what happened to the orange Justice doesn't happen to us here now today in Cedar Rapids the state of Iowa and even though morally, we may not have the right to impose our law or our customs upon another group and for the sake of protection to prevent Anarchy. We really have no other choice. We don't think the government is proved the case. We don't think that at that any Fair court or jury can convict. We are convinced that the government's case should have been thrown out and we will rely on this record for reversal in the event the jury were four reasons not of the evidence but for reasons in their mind and heart, otherwise decide to find these defendants guilty. The defendants were three American Indians. They were found guilty the conviction took place in Cedar Rapids Iowa, and it came on June 5th bringing to an end. The seven so-called leadership cases arising from the 1973 Rebellion at Wounded Knee South Dakota thirty-three-year-old Carter camp in 25 year old Stanley holder both of Oklahoma and 32 year old Leonard Crow dog and Indian Medicine Man from South Dakota who served as spiritual leader to the American Indian movement were convicted of interference with and robbery out for US Postal inspectors who entered Wounded Knee early in the 10-week confrontation two years ago, the interference and robbery charges were the final complaint stemming from an original 11 County grand jury indictment indictment filed against the defendants and four other aim leaders, Dennis Banks Russell Means Clyde bellecourt and Pedro bissonnette all other government charges against the Indians have been dropped or dismissed or now. We're in the process of being withdrawn the all-white jury in Cedar Rapids took less than two hours to return the guilty verdict of verdict which carried a maximum 18 year jail term and a fine of $5,000 for each defendant evidence in the case, which was moved from South Dakota unsuccessful change of venue motions was presented through testimony from three of the four postal inspectors who have been held prisoner temporarily in Wounded Knee the inspectors testified. They were taken hostage on March 11th 1973 when they entered the occupied Trading Post Village to investigator reported the theft of the males and quote to ascertain the condition of the post office on quote. This was two weeks into the 71 de armed conflict a conflict which ultimately saw the deaths of three Indians gunshot injuries to a dozen other Indians and the wounding of two federal agents. Inspectors testified they were forcibly detained and wanted me for 2 hours robbed of a government revolver some personal possessions and then released unharmed beyond the demilitarized zone of the village evidence in the case. Only thinly connected Camp holder and Crow dog to the offense is charged. It was little indication. They had played a direct part in the capture or robbery of the Armed inspector is what government testimony suggested that the three at exercised a measure of authority in an about the Wounded Knee Museum where the captives were detained the prosecution then relied on an argument of eating at a wedding in jury instructions from federal judge Edward J. McManus dictated that guilt could be established if the defendants had knowingly and willfully Associated themselves with other Wounded Knee occupants who may have directly committed the alleged crimes in brief one inspector testified that Stanley hold her head introduced himself in the museum is quote the chief of security. Unquote another said that Crow dog had lectured them for 45 minutes on quote the evils of the white man and 1/3 told the jury that Mr. Camp had explain their release only in light of an ultimatum from the FBI surrounding the village the trial lasted 3 days the government rested after two days and the defense move for dismissal of the charges on grounds that proof of criminal action by the defendants had not been established. The motion was denied. However, the defense then insisted that the government's case was so quote internally contradictory unquote and inconsistent from one inspectors recollection to another's that it was unnecessary to present any of the nine subpoenaed defense Witnesses the failure to present a defense me, well have influence the conviction jurors interviewed following the verdict indicated. Their decision was reached without any difficulty on the very first ballot one member of the ape man for woman panel. Was Cecil Albright? Mr. Albright and 80 year old retired farmer from Cedar Rapids said he thought the Indian leaders were guilty when they failed to testify in their own defense quote. I think if they had something against me, I'd get up and speak my piece unquote. About two hundred Indians took over Wounded Knee of tiny Hamlet on the Pine Ridge reservation in Western South Dakota on February 27th, 1973. They held out until the following made finding their action on the basis of a 106 year old agreement the Fort Laramie treaty according to terms of the 1868 treaty Congress guaranteed 8th. Teton Sioux Nation quotes undisturbed you son quotes of all lands in South Dakota west of the Missouri River in addition to territories in present-day Wyoming Montana North Dakota and Nebraska the occupants chose Wounded Knee for its symbolic significance as a notorious Massacre site in 1890 organized unit of General Armstrong Custer 7th Cavalry defeated 14 years earlier at the Battle of the Little Bighorn salut hundreds of minneconjou Sioux led by Chief big foot as well as scattered followers of the hunkpapa Sioux leader. Sitting Bull the 1973 occupation address itself to grievances with the Bureau of Indian Affairs the Bia and charged elected Oglala Sioux tribal leaders on Pine Ridge with misuse of fundings and with employing a goon squad to wager reign of terror on the reservation. There was no doubt the occupation polarize the reservation commerce was disrupted schools were closed property destroyed and family split in their loyalties in 1974 year after Wounded Knee the divisiveness was born out in the highly contested election for tribal chairman and leader Russell means in Oglala Sioux was narrowly defeated by incumbent Richard Wilson means challenge the election in federal court than on grounds of massive voter irregularities. The justice department filed a friend of the court brief supporting means a suit and then the United States Civil Rights Commission did find evidence of voter fraud and recommended a new election for the district court in South Dakota said, it had no jurisdiction in that tribal match the suit then came before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. And only last month after chairman Wilson had served almost three-quarters of his term in office. The Appellate judges overrule. District court and remanded the case to the South Dakota federal judge for review the reservation divisiveness, however, and its by-product acts of violence since Wounded Knee have play spine original state approaching Civil War since Wounded Knee almost 60 Indians have been murdered on that reservation and in June of this year one Indian and two FBI agents were slain in a blazing gun battle that through Pine Ridge into a federal Manhunt unparalleled in the States history. In all over 500 persons were arrested two years ago in connection with the 10-week occupation of Wounded Knee 185. Felony indictments were issued at this point about 175 cases have been disposed of either through plea negotiation or in federal trials trials held in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota only about 26 convictions, including a plea bargain of guilt for nine defendants in Rapid City South Dakota on the same day as the leadership conviction in Cedar Rapids have been secured by the justice department. The most celebrated wounded need leadership case was the 9 month trial of Dennis Banks and Russell means in St. Paul, Minnesota banks and means were acquitted of 11 conspiracy charges after a federal judge ruled that government misconduct in the case had Prejudice their rights to a fair trial the district court in Minnesota charge the prosecution which was headed by Rd Hurd with Deception and bad faith and the core charge federal agents with illegal wiretap at Wounded Knee. The dismissal was also based on what the court found to be illegal use of the military at Wounded Knee and FBI alteration of trial evidence following the Wounded Knee dismissal in St. Paul the government reduce the 11 charges against Carter Camp Stanley holder and Leonard Crow dog to the subject involving the postal inspectors, although until the time of the conviction Crow dog and Camp did face each one additional charge after the conviction on June 5th assistant us attorney Rd Hurd announced that the remaining counts would be dropped heard said he's also recommending that all 11 charges against team leader Clyde bellecourt be withdrawn by the justice department the 7th and dated leader of the Wounded Knee Uprising Pedro bissonnette with shotgun to death by federal agents on the Pine Ridge reservation in October. 1973 about six months after the occupation The conviction of the three Indian leaders in Cedar Rapids on June 5th came as a surprise to many quart observers, especially reporters who would follow the case the bureau chief, for example of the Des Moines Register. The Statewide paper in Iowa was visibly shaken and had tears in his eyes quote. Excuse me, he told another reporter. I'm trying to retain my objectivity quote on quote and an Associated Press writer whose Stories the national media relied upon throughout the trial was moved after the conviction verdict to make a personal contribution of $40 to the Wounded Knee legal offense defense committee the defendant some cells however did not appear as surprised as others at the outcome outside the federal courthouse Carter camp and stand holder met with the Press Camp spoke first the fact that you know, we were Tried by a fascist judge and a pack of court and we knew that before you I told you guys a new no matter what the hell is vertical. We knew what kind of Court what kind of Judge we were dealing with. It. Just don't come as any kind of a surprise at the same time. You know, I want to warn this government, you know, and this government that ruling our people that we haven't stopped yet. I'm just because they found us guilty of these charges don't mean that we're going to stop in the struggle and this is only had more fire more fuel to the fire of revolution in this country because it's going to have to come now. This is going to this again to make Indian people struggling a lot harder, you know, we can struggle in the prison just as well as we can start on the street and we're never going to quit knows nothing. Just started. You're not going to have a happy birthday in 1976 in the same guarantees that you're not going to have a happy birthday and 1976. The fighter just started and we're going to continue fighting in it. No matter what the judge does this verdict just doesn't make any difference and it's only going to encourage our people to fight harder and show that there is no justice in this system. For now on Indian people that have to go to court they're going to be listening to us. They're going to listen to the people of the American Indian movement. They're going to believe us that you can't get a fair trial in America because Indian people are not Americans We were three Indian men Tried by an all-white jury in an all-black Court this this is prove something to us that we that we've known for a long time that Indians can't receive Justice in America that it is can't receive justice under a white judicial system. I think it makes us realize that this is a time for strength. It's a time for us to Bill continuity continuity with the Creator. It's time for us to look back at those old Spirits Like Crazy Horse and realize that those men didn't fight for anything. It makes us realize that we have our women and children are our future look forward to and that 13 years of my life is a small price to pay for the future for my children. How do you evaluate the appeals to him? I really I really don't know. I think we have excellent grounds for appeal to once again is going to be handled by a bunch of white men and it's obvious at that. The the intent of these trials is to destroy the American Indian movement not to bring Justice if Justice was the name of the game where you walk out of here Freeman today. Well tonight I intend to go back to camp and have a spiritual ceremony talk to God talk to my people and tell him to get ready because the war still on defending Stanley holder before him defendant Carter Camp later in the day on June 5th Rd. Hurd-Wood lost the major Wounded Knee leadership case in St. Paul reacted to the guilty verdict in Cedar Rapids to jury clearly did the right thing under the evidence in the case. And I felt it to the trial was conducted in a proper manner. Were you surprised by the fact that the trial was so abbreviated? Yes, I was surprised I expected and put on some kind of case. You could you speculate on the motive of the defense and not going forward in presenting even one of the nine subpoenaed Witnesses. Well, I think they had some hard problems. They didn't make up for the jury. I think was selected to rely upon the insufficiency of the evidence. None of the witnesses that they subpoenaed would have been able to help in that regard. And in fact, it probably would have implicated the defendants moron sufficiency of the evidence. So I think they have cast their die with the idea of trying to convince the jury that the evidence was insufficient. There wasn't much else they could do. What do you think was the turning point in the case from the prosecution standpoint? I don't hate the ray was a turning point in essence. We only called three Witnesses and two of them contributed to the defendants participation. There was never any dispute that the crime occurred. It was just too close to participation. It says I told the jury when I began it was very simple case. We kept it simple. I don't think there was a particular turning point. Was there any particular reason that Visual Evidence against the defendants was not used in the same Paul trial films were available and some of these films depicted the incident of the capturing of the postal inspectors. I decided to try to keep the trial as simple as possible in terms of the evidence. I didn't want to become it. I didn't want to interject anything into the trial which would take away from the central issue of the defendants participation in a specific crime and in know when you start putting it in TV film in this type of thing, you would rather danger of broadening the issue, I decided that it was better to keep it simple. Do you feel in any way Vindicated after the dismissal up in St. Paul of the bank 2 means kids? No, I don't think so. I don't I never felt the need to be Vindicated personally or professionally and so I don't have that reaction. Do you think that the conviction here a really the first conviction in the Wounded Knee leadership cases will damage the American Indian movement? Well, I don't think it's going to damage the American Indian movement as such the I don't know exactly how active these individuals have been on a day-by-day basis in the American Indian movement. I look at it simply is three individuals who were found guilty of committing to cry. But there is a lot of sentiment to end your home state of South Dakota against the American Indian movement. And surely that's one consideration American Indian movement in a variety of places are particularly insofar as they of been found to engage in militant activities, but I have I don't feel that the conviction of any particular individual just going to damage any movement of such. I've never found that to be the case in the past conversely. Do you think it would have a monitoring effect and Advance the American Indian movement know I really don't I don't really think that conviction of these individuals on these charges are going to affect the future of the American Indian movement a great deal one way or the other I would hope. That the fact that they were prosecuted May tend to deter others from committing several similar crimes and insofar as a conviction might deter others from committing similar crimes. I suppose you could never affected any type of militant movement, but I don't think it has any particular effect upon the American Indian movement of such maybe the activities of it defense lawyers in the instant case here in Cedar Rapids might have been more effective had they tried to do what was done in st. Paul that is to present a kind of political defense to the charges. Well, it's hard to tell you know, it's hard to speculate as to what might have happened. I don't think that the charges in the instant case lent themselves very well to a political defense in the absence of a conspiracy charge which opens the door for a variety of things. I don't see how I put Eco defense could effectively be presented. I think also that it became very clear earlier in the trial that the court was going to attempt to have the issue determined that the issue of defendants killed as opposed to any other issues in the trial itself gave him a full hearing on their misconduct motion, but when it comes to the question of the issue of the defendant's guilt, I think he made it clear that that's what he want to try. This lawsuit was the reason that the US attorney and the justice department determined to pair the original 11-count indictment against Pro dog holder in Camp to only the two charges and attempt to avert or preclude that kind of political defense that was seen in St. Paul, Minnesota. Well to a certain degree probably however, essentially the 11-count indictment had been pretty well picked a way out. Anyway, we lost the bird recount. We've lost the arson cat. We lost a lot right one of the bars. He counts it civil disorder councilman thrown out by the court. It was pretty well pared down anyway, so the question why should we try them on and what would be sent you a conspiracy case or should we attempt to evolve substantiv offense? We decided to evolve substantival fences because it's the last costly method of Brady of a trial and it should shorten the trial time make it much more simpler and get to the issue of guilt for specific crime. I feel at least particularly now that the verdict is guilty that we made the right decision. How do you evaluate the allegations of Terror on the Pine Ridge reservation before and more so in the newspapers reportedly since when did me I have a strong feeling that militant movement. Sometimes go out and seek issues with your cause emotional strain on underline problems and this erupt into violence in other words underlined problems on the reservation and been there for a long time. They were there before the American Indian movement came onto the scene the militancy of the American Indian movement. I think caused an interruption of violent eruption and in the ad app roasted people take to those problems. Do you feel the violence was a reaction on the part of the American Indian movement or the American Indian movement caused the violence. I'm not I would want to put the blame on any one group or any any group of people for the violence. It's there. So unfortunate our job is to prosecute Those who commit the crime and garbage weather there American Indian movement non American Indian movement. If you we don't really think of it in terms of the American Indian movement. Are you saying in effect that aim does not create problems but in these instances has exposed underlying problems. Why would I think I'm saying is this is that acts of violence in criminal acts are committed by individuals now why an individual might commit a criminal act might be because of the activity of an organization or because of underlying problems and it's awfully hard to look into individual acts of violence. Most of the violence on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation is not the organized kind. It's not a a movement type. It's not a demonstration type is not right that situation of Wounded Knee at South its individual acts of violence between individuals is awfully hard to look at those and say this is because of a particular organization or particular idea because you have to deal with them individually and I'm not familiar enough with the individual actions on the Pine Ridge reservation to make a good judgement those underlying problems and South Dakota of which we speak and respect the Indians are what racism substandard living conditions discrimination. I think that the biggest problem on the Indian reservation is the lack of opportunity and the lack of a quality way of life and I think that everybody Bears the responsibility for that the Indian and the non-indian, I'm not sure that I know what the solution is, but I think that a Indian Reservation generally is a depressing place to live with a minimum amount of opportunity and I think that kind of social condition Create a climate where buy acts of violence or app to occur that does not mean that you can look to any particular institution or any particular individual to blame for it situations on Indian reservations have not been good for many many years to share the view that the American Indian movement has brought an element of Hope through a spiritual awakening to oppressed peoples on reservations. I don't see a great deal of evidence that I think that the American Indian movement is just one one vehicle by which some people attempt to express their dissatisfaction with the status quote. I don't think that it has brought any real wakening of spiritual values. I believe most traditional Indians who follow the traditional ways in the traditional religion do not cease upon criminal activity is a method of expressing their beliefs. You would reject the the notion that the justice department of which you are a representative has in any way tried to do away with the American Indian movement or to stop it as a movement among the Indian people. Well, I certainly have no reason to believe that there has been any attempt to do away with the American Indian movement as such there has man I think an honest effort to attempt to stop militant action which endangered the lives of other people and dangerous property, but that's the only extent that there's an attempt by the part of the justice department or any other organization to stop a boom, but it's not a name that the American Indian movement aimed at specific activities such as the arm seizure of Wounded Knee that kind of activity. We want to stop we don't care what the name is it's given to the people who are engaged. Didn't you think the conviction of the three Indian leaders here today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa will further that end. You always hope that criminal convictions will have any turn to people who are thinking of attempting a similar type of crime and its really very difficult to speculate as to how good are deterred it is whether or not it really work. You always hope that it will help but there's really no way of measuring whether or not it actually does prosecutor Rd heard following the conviction in Cedar Rapids. I tried to speak with members of the jury with one exception all refused anything but abbreviated telephone interviews. The one exception was James Cole a 35 year old Cedar Rapids insurance, man, we feel that we did the right thing. We made the decision. Based on a criminal act. However, I really wonder if they realize or understand that they did commit a criminal act. For the purpose of drawing attention to their problems and for the purpose of attempting to improve the plight of their people. Even though it is a different type of situation again, it's still a criminal act and it is not our duty to make a moral judgment or take into account that their aims were something different than what I normally assault and battery would involve it was simply a criminal act and I feel that no exceptions should be made the difficult. Do you think in the minds of the jury to bring a conviction for interference with postal inspectors and the robbery of a gun from one of the federal men when no evidence in the case suggested that any of the defendants directly participated in the capture or in the actual robbery of the gun know the instructions that the judge gave us were quite clear in that eating or a bedding in a crime is just as serious as the actual perpetration of the crime by an individual and we were certain that the defendants were not even present at the original blockade. And when the postal inspectors were brought into the museum, they may have given you orders, but that was not covered in that was not a part of our decision the prosecution and the defense both agreed that the three defendants were in the museum personal property was taken from the postal inspectors. But we felt was aiding and abetting is statements. Made by the defendants such as Stanley holder saying he was chief of security. He came in and left the museum several times. He exerted a influence of authority and Edwards it was he apparently had some leadership. Going on going on there. Also Leonard Crow dog using the term prisoners-of-war and relating rights under the Geneva Convention would certainly indicate to me active participation in a criminal act. Carter Camp was was also present and at no time even though I watched and maybe One or two other personal articles was returned and no time did the three defendants. Offer to return the personal articles of the postal inspectors. Did you feel that everyone who was present in the museum at that time? And it was mentioned that there may have been as many as fifty observers. Did you feel that each of these men? Who in this trial was a name? Which of these men was also guilty of aiding and abetting by his presence there? I can't really say that they may have come up come up on the scene and Did not actively involve themselves in the vents, then it's difficult to say if by simply standing by and not taking any action to two. reduce the tension or to help the inspectors if this is eating her bedding, I do not know but and I I reconnected decision on that. But to me that the three defendants were more than just casual Spectators are they made statements? They did certain things which clearly indicated to me that they were more than Spectators that they were aiding and abetting in the perpetration of a crime. What about Carter Camp his only statement through the evidence that we know here in the trial was to tell the inspectors who were hostages in the Wounded Knee Museum that they were going to be released. He came into the museum and indicated that the Postal inspectors should be released because if they weren't the FBI would probably come in and get him. He led the Prospectors out of the museum in order them into the back of a pickup and you felt that his motives were not releasing the inspectors at that point. No, I did not. How did you evaluate the demeanor of the defendants during the course of the trial? they would not rise when the judge entered the courtroom Was that something that was a shock to the other jurors know? I suppose in a way we sort of expected that and we observed it. But during our deliberations other Behavior. It was was not even brought up. Did you think when the Postal Inspector said that Leonard Crow dog had told them that they were prisoners of War. when that statement came out in court, did you feel that here were two different cultures one on one side and one on the other and now here in the courtroom one culture was being subjected to the legal system of the other culture the dominant one I feel that in the United States or perhaps any other country A uniform system of laws have to be put into Force for uniform justice for all people if we make an exception for one class, then we would have to make an exception for set a precedent for every everyone else and yes in a way I suppose. We were injecting our laws Upon A group of people who do not necessarily subscribe to those laws. However. I felt that that was not a real issue. In this case that our duty was simply to determine if a criminal act had been committed and if it was clear in our minds at that these defendants were guilty Beyond a reasonable doubt. It was our duty to convict him. Do you feel that if this class the class of which you speak the American Indians in this country do not subscribe to the laws of the country. They should be forced to do so by the dominant Society. I wish. There was a another way to answer this but I'm going to have to say yes. They are going to have to subscribe to the dominant Force. in in this country and even though Morally, we may not have the right to impose our law or our customs. upon another group for the sake of of protection And to prevent Anarchy we really have no other choice you have any kind of gut reaction to the whole thing at this point. Let me just say that. I'm I'm sympathetic to the engine cause I think they have legitimate grievances. I think they are in a serious flight and they're in a very difficult situation. However, I had to remove that sympathetic feeling in the Jury Room and that I felt my duty was not to make or pass moral or ethical judgments on their motives. or their beliefs but to Simply make a decision based on a legal framework and if criminal Acts were committed and I felt that they were guilty then it was my sole responsibility to Convict them of the crime set of the charges that that were made against him or James call in a motel room after the conviction defended Leonard Crow dog shot with his wife and his son Pedro a two year old boy born inside wanted need during the Rebellion her dogs seem more surprised at the conviction then did his co-defendants Carter camp and Stanley holder and Crow dog whose second language is English first expressed is incredulity that in view of the killing of Indians at Wounded Knee by federal agents. The government would then indict occupants of The Village on such charges as those of capturing the postal inspectors Clearwater and LaMont when Clearwater was murdered when Pedro bissonnette was murdered by the federal officers and when Larry Lamont was murdered hot it is there is there any indictments on the admissions? Almont have have opportunity or have a chance to make follow indictment on the federal government. And is that is that a murdered or is that a just another Indian Indian been killed in the reservation that he's he's bad man among Indians. So from that time of my view that way I seen that this the holes I thought the 12 Jerry's will be will know the justice of our Indian people but I think by force by force by the judge and by the representative of the government, I think they misconstrue the whole they didn't see on the Indian side did in the den while investigating on the Indian side and then the postal inspectors not telling the right right through to the government or the defendant on each side. According to his testimony that have one of the inspectors you told him and told the other inspectors you are prisoners of war and Wounded Knee and you will have rights under the Geneva Convention. I do not say I do not say nothing. I do not say you are the prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention. I do not say but only thing that I know when the any government official that's going to come into the premises of Wounded Knee. Take over there must be must come come through the leaders then if they're going to inspect the post postal the post office the most do mice come come come through it represented by motion so we could meet with them then they can come in and inspect the post office, but they do not go into the post office. So on the post office, they said they could not know that the building is burned so who could know and who could pre-approve and I was not a secured to the government should under Stand in the 12 jury should understand. I'm not a I'm not a security. I was a spiritual man. Just like the the Army when the Armed Forces going into war they have to have a chaplain there. So I'm about to go on the Indian side of the spiritual man. They're inside when they need no testimony in the trial indicated that you or Carter camp or stand holder took part in the capture and you indicate that that was done by men and security The Men Who man the Indian roadblocks inmate testimony for postal inspectors were stopped at a roadblock. They were taken in by unnamed Indian individuals to the Wounded Knee Museum where they were disarmed and divest Some of their personal possessions now evidence also indicated the 50 or 60 individuals including members of the national news media may have witnessed the events in the Wounded Knee Museum. according to the first testimony given about you Leonard Crow dog one inspector had you as a guard near the museum in the group of 50 to 60 individuals. Testimony at the trial indicated that he recognized you though from photographs after the event. He could not recognize me there. So it should be closed statement. This is Crow dog. He could have said this is cleared out of the mistake that he made remember. He said I didn't know if you was inside the courtroom when he said well, that's cool dog. Then after her one of the prosecutors datasets turn up then he said no the guy that were in the red shirt is cold out so he could not understand and he could not recognize us there immediately in the man in the red shirt. I wasn't a courtroom was Carter can't understand that. That's all false mistake in the Falls Justice. You believe that the inspector lied about the identification. Yeah, he lying. He could not understand which one we're all sitting down so I could not understand how he could not recognize us. There were also problems and identification. Once the inspectors were inside the museum testimony indicated that they were Loosely bound to a bench and during the. Of their detention. They were lectured on quote the evils of the white man, unquote one inspector said that the man who lectured them for 45 minutes was you another inspector indicated that many individuals were at least several may have done the lecturing. It wasn't my electric to them. I talk to them that you have and and inform the security of the of the Wounded need security head men are do you know, what do you have negotiated with the gum and you are the government so you should have let us know before you come in. So will we should do we should that's why we're just going to Required you your your release? What else? Did you tell him during the time in which you spoke to them? But this is how I said my name times. We don't speak English, but now we could speak English 18 1890 and 1973 and the evidence evidence of the evidence then evidence of the so many hundred Indians was murdered and slaughtered at Wounded Knee 1890 the evidence the bullets the bones could be this dog, but the the bullets of the 7th Calvary bullets will not dissolve evidence. Is there that time if we have archaeologists and phytology so we could enter we could dig up the body and we can find out there but I still bullet is still there. So not today when you be sure when he was coming and you should have you should have told us the leaders of the American Inn. Movement so we could we could deal and you could see the post office but you could you didn't go into post office. So you think the Indian Indian problem is to just a minor problem. But do you are the problem? That's why you're doing you don't know you do not respect the Indian way of life. You do not understand Indian way of life. But remember we speak a language and you don't you know, you've been with us too long, but you could not speak the language that we speak. So I told I told him we use a good ways away of our life. So this that's my statement and next next man who was blackout made his electric, but I wasn't I wasn't in there at the time. Some jurors in the case. With whom I've spoken said that they were convinced of your guilt partially by the testimony of one inspector who said he gave you the keys to his locked briefcase in the trunk of the government postal car and later found that his revolver was missing from that briefcase and robbery of a government revolver was the second of the two counts who drove the car to to the museum then From there if there's going to be a Justice who open the trunk first the trunk of the car and who open the the debate face. Keys and then who's got the gun? They should have both sides. We should have a make a stand on the both sides make our statements the government make false statement that he could not understand you could not the was inside a building and you could not testify outside. What is happening? Why is your your your inside a building and you don't know what's happening and you don't know who got the gun so it come to the brass tacks. They must you must bring the whole whole life of our Indian people are going to need where the keys to the briefcase containing a gun given to you know, In my life, I never carry a gun on never had a guns. Most of the jurors felt that the government was successful in showing that even if there was no direct evidence connecting you and Mister holder and Mister camp with the theft of the gun or with the interference with the inspectors. That is the capture. Even if there is no direct evidence that the three of you acted as if you were leaders in Wounded Knee and therefore as the judge's instructions to the jury indicated could be guilty of aiding and abetting those two crimes. So I'm the leader of the Indian tribes. That you like him say so since the bangs and means case was dropped. We are the leaders we represent the tribes. We represent the Burly sues the Sioux Nation the Sioux Tribe near other people. Representing I'm representing their tribes. And so there's no way he could not call me as a spiritual the government could not call me as a spiritual man. He said that just another Indian name Crow dog. But remember is this going to go on a news remember? It's a I'm a spiritual man. I'm a spiritual leader something like the other priests and the priests of the show this nice dates of a Christian and she lives. So a lot of people understand a lot of calls. I've been getting white corn dogs coming got to be sentence or got to be sent to Penitentiary. So you could you could understand and you will understand of our life of a are Indian people. You talked before about Christianity and you've talked before about the ten commandments. What is it you feel as a spiritual man? In your own Indian religion amendments if the 10 come in as well as well. We'll keep if the government and the Christianity people does government of the people if they keep the 10 come in my zip code. Preserve the indictments could become of 1890 but they do not keep the 10 commandments. So that's why the Indians are now not indicted all over the country what little Indian stand take out for his rights. He's got to be indicted. He's got to be sentenced to Penitentiary Reformatory are so many years pro. Probation list all the whole Western Hemisphere, they rip off the whole Western Hemisphere. The living a lie why they're living a lie, the violation of the ten commandments. So the Ten Commandments only Indians couldn't take care of the Ten Commandment. Not the federal government. Are I am sure there is a white man some place in this world that could understand Indian problem. And we are we are people that could speak we could understand we've been living here since I had Western Hemisphere quarter-by-quarter light years of Our Generation. So now we we do understand what it's the government is Miss treat us so many years now, he's been sending our generation to foster homes to mental institutions all these honest institution the government that put you in this Western hemisphere what he's trying to do. He's trying to send me off where I could stay and where I could be be civilized but already been civilized. I will not go to hell whether whether they put me into Penitentiary or Reformatory ready. Institution I'm not going to go to hell all my sins if they say if if I had sends the government will carry my sins with it if he said I had sins but remember I will not go to hell why we don't have hell we live in hell and who are the hell is the government? defended Leonard Crow dog at the time of conviction US District Judge Edward J. McManus took under advisement several motions from the defense which could have influenced or even nullified the Indian leaders conviction. They were dismissal motions in the most significant of the Motions was filed during a week-long evidentiary hearing prior to the start of the postal charges trial packs of affidavits accompanied numerous testimony introduced to the defense motion contending the prosecutor herds office had deceived the court and had engaged in selective law enforcement on the Pine Ridge reservation, the alleged deception involved the failure to notify the court that at least one FBI agent penetrated the defendant's legal camp and sat in on meetings involving trial strategy. Among exhibits introduced as evidence in another part of the motion evidence of selective prosecution by the government. We're statistics comparing the overall criminal conviction rates nationally with those in Wounded Knee cases adjudicated until that point these statistics indicated that convictions of pain from Wounded Knee indictments were only 7.7% while on the other hand a government summary of criminal cases over the past few years in federal courts showed a conviction rate of 78% defense lawyers argued that this discrepancy coupled with court disclose justice department documents revealing that numerous on prosecutable Wounded Knee cases were none the less prosecuted by the government showed evidence that the American Indian movement had been subjected to a misuse of the judicial process. One of the many witnesses in the evidentiary hearing was Kent Frizzell the solicitor-general for the Interior Department Mister for Zell told the court that he was assaulted in April of 1973 at a quote goonzquad roadblock on quote near wounded me a roadblock Man by supporters of tribal chairman Richard Wilson, and opponent of the occupation Frizzell was then the assistant us attorney general and the chief government negotiator with Indian occupants inside Wounded Knee for sale testified that an armed man pointed a gun at his head as he Frizzell try to drive his car through the roadblock. The incident was resolved when Wayne Colburn the director of the United States Marshals service and a passenger in Frizzell car at the time level the loaded carbine at the assailant and threatened his life if he fired upon mr. Frizzle Although the assault was witnessed by these two top law enforcement officials and by an FBI agent Mr. Frizzell testified that the man at the roadblock was never identified investigate or arrested the defense in Cedar Rapids subpoenaed Kent Frizzell in an attempt to show that a double standard of Justice exists in South Dakota for Indians and the government brought prosecution's against only the American Indian movement members for activities during the 1973. Take over at Wounded Knee the defense dismissal motion also charged that the government had used false and perjured testimony in several Wounded Knee prosecution's that the prosecution had willfully violated court orders that the government had it legally employed electronic surveillance, and I'm covered up the role of the Pentagon in the Wounded Knee Siege. Assistant us attorney already heard denied the charges of government misconduct federal judge McManus term the dismissal motion itself. That is at the time of conviction to be quote serious and non-frivolous unquote, but later he ruled against all the dismissal motions indicating at one point in his ruling that the government had not engaged in such a degree of misconduct quote which would irreparably Prejudice the defendant's right to a fair trial on quote. On August 5th of this year 2 months after their conviction in Cedar Rapids Pro dog camp and holder were scheduled for sentencing back in Cedar Rapids. Only Crow dog appeared the Sioux medicine man was given three years on interference with postal inspectors and eight years on the charge of theft of a government revolver. The prison terms to run concurrently, but judge McManus suspended Crow dogs Penitentiary time and place them on 5 years probation in doing so McManus condemn the Takeover of Wounded Knee declaring that he knew of no quote satyr incident in our recent Life as a society on quote, but the judge noted the crow dog had no significant criminal record, and he said that the corded receive letters requesting leniency for the medicine man from as far away as France and the Netherlands most of the letters came from the United States. They came from Educators Publishers and social scientists, but one letter came from television personality Dick Cavett Cabot's letter provided detailed praise for Crow dogs leadership among Indians and four other achievements the letter ended with some advice for the judge quote. There are a lot of bad people around Leonard Crow dog is not one of them on quote after sentencing Crow dog judge McManus ordered the Wounded Knee bonds of Carter camp and stand holder forfeited to the court and then issued fugitive arrest warrants for the pair. After the sentencing of crow dog and later in the day outside the federal courthouse prosecutor Rd Hurd reacted to the probationary sentence given the defendant. I thought it was appropriate at the time of sentencing as a matter of sentencing is entirely a matter within the cord and I don't think it would be appropriate for me to criticize the court system crushing. Did you expect it? I'm not surprised. I believe weary much would I said that that this was a case that deserve time but that's not my function. That's the Court's function and he's exercise to do you feel that because Crow dog was seen by many people that were mentioned in the judge's account of the recommendations that were given on behalf of the defendant that he was a spiritual leader of the two people that this was a mitigating had a mitigating effect on the penitentiary time there was suspended but that was the intent. I am sure I can't speak as to what effect. I actually had on the core. I wouldn't attempt to prosecutor Rd Hurd defense attorney Kent Olson had sharp words for her during the courtroom sentencing tilsit maintained that the assistant us attorney had failed to comply with court orders to turn over photographs used in the trial against the defendants Tilson first reacted though to the suspended sentence welive, please. Obviously I think that there that was appropriate to Grant probation, but I'm disappointed in the Court's rulings on the motion. I'm convinced that the real criminal sat on the other side of the console table that mr. Heard is in fact the real criminal live. In fact, mr. Bird knows that mr. Crow dog is innocent. I'm somewhat surprised at the offhand way in which the disclosure that Mr. Heard lied to the court was simply passed over his failure to deliver critical pictures as he was ordered to his Statement under a table to the court that he didn't have the pictures I think are critical to the case and I think that mr. Heard has been exposed for what we've all known him to be a dishonest man in what ways did he receive the court said he didn't have the pictures that the postal inspectors looked at. We now know he did have them in does have them and he said that he gave us all the pictures. He had been we know that's not true. How would this have fit into the case for the defense would have been very important because the postal inspectors said that they never had an opportunity to identify the defendants after the event in that the first opportunity several of them had was just before trial almost two years after the event it now appears that they looked at pictures of mr. Crow dog what you can't mr. Holder on March 11th, when the event was pressuring their mine probably looked at dozens of pictures of them and did not identify them as the people Did these events do you feel that this would have changed the defense strategy and tactics and not putting on a Case? Well, it would have changed the entire trial. I don't know whether it would have changed that strategy and tactics with respect to that. I feel it there just wasn't any case. I still feel there wasn't any case and I feel reasonably confident. The court of appeals will agree with me on what grounds do you intend to appeal the case on the ground several do it? First of all and foremost that there was not sufficient evidence to convict it. Secondly that the prosecutor was guilty of misconduct and in the disclosures he made in the disclosures. He failed to make third on a failure to Grant a new trial because of the new evidence of the new pictures. Finally. I think it we will raise the question of the basic bad face and discriminatory prosecution the electronic surveillance to which there is never been an adequate response by the government. The denial of a speedy trial in which the clock just denied this morning and there are probably several others that I'm not commenting on right now ruling for probation. Now what reason do you feel that there is a need for a field cuz he's innocent definitely innocent. Why shouldn't he appear? He should be acquitted. The charges should be thrown out. I attributed to are failing to recognize just How Deeply the racism pervades the average juror and how much the jurors were willing to accept and how much evidence they were willing to accept from their knowledge of the general events at Wounded Knee without any evidence being presented in the courtroom. I have to essentially to the fact that the record contains nothing on which the jury could can victim and the jury then convicted him out of what was in their own hat namely their knowledge that something bad took place at Wounded Knee and that these are strange and exotic and weird people these Indians and their for their guilty. I regret a lot about the trial that this very much that we would do different whether we would do that different. I can't say I regret that we had a trial at all in this country when they basic government theme of the trial was dishonest. I regret that anybody and especially my clients have to stand trial under these circumstances. I'm not sure that it would have made any difference if the defendants took the stand or not. If this is the kind of jury in view of the kind of jury that we alternate Lee turned out that we had I feel particularly bad that we had this major loss down here, but it was totally unexpected. We're convinced that it will be reversed defense attorney Kent Olson tilson's contention of government misconduct in the trial was denied by prosecutor heard. Following the sentencing defendant Leonard Crow dog met with the press and Crow dog adamantly insisted that he was innocent of the charges and gun inside Wounded Knee only only what I have is my peace pipe in my sacred medicine bundle. Why is I do not I do not make no sense. When the when the Joey's was making the conviction of me or that I was a girl to that's why that you didn't take any steps to personal defense in your only have what do you feel you will do now do you feel at this probation of five years will have a limiting effect on your life. The American Indians are we are already on probation since since the time time of the first government was instituted of the Western Hemisphere. So you don't think this probation will be any different from the one that your people have been under for a long time. No, I will not but it will make me teach my Indian people more of the Indian way of life. You feel that you will do that. Now as you returned to the rosebud reservation the day I get back to my own Indian tribes and I will teach my five nine tribes that were Pizza Leonard Crow dog during the annual Sioux Indian Sundance religious rights, which took place in South Dakota a few days before the sentencing in Iowa Pro dog resigned as a.m. Spiritual leader following an apparent dispute with other movement leaders Crow dog, now faces five years of government supervised probation unless his conviction is overturned as for Carter camp and Stanley holder. They are being sought throughout the country as fugitives has is a meter Dennis Banks who coincidentally was scheduled for sentencing on August 5th as well. But on state charges in Custer South Dakota stemming from a protest which predated Wounded Knee. He too has gone Underground. Other Wounded Knee leaders, Pedro bissonnette is dead Russell Means. Well means faces between 6 and 9 felony trials for actions since Wounded Knee. Of the seven Indian leaders charged by the government at Wounded Knee only Clyde bellecourt remains in the public eye with a relatively open and free future before him and yet it's impossible to predict the future of the overall American Indian movement or of other activists movements in America that conviction in Cedar Rapids is a case in point the government May regard the conviction as an example, perhaps a deterrent to Future actions similar to Wounded Knee, but many citizens who have witnessed the phenomenon of Indian activism over the past few years are not persuaded by the deterrence Theory Cedar Rapids juror, James Cole. No, I don't I don't think so. I think in fact I may just go the other way. They they may just put forth their aims more strongly in the future even though they're going to have to be subject to Our laws they themselves really don't. Comprehend or don't really believe in our system anyway, so I don't think it will have any bearing up on them at all. James Cole and with a look at the conviction in Cedar Rapids. This is Kevin McKiernan.


Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>