Kevin McKiernan spent several weeks in South Dakota reporting on various events in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - including the fatal shooting of two FBI agents and an Indian at the end of June. While there, McKiernan recorded the attitudes and feelings of South Dakota residents, both white and Indian. This is an interview with Pine Ridge medicine man Selo Black Crow. Black Crow begins by relating the story of a white sheriff who leased his land to a third party for cattle grazing. Black Crow imprisoned the cattle and was threatened by the FBI with a charge of cattle rustling. Here is his account of the standoff and its resolution.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
Last year June or May 13th. Discovery School teacher name Kenworth come to this cab east of the camp with * 13 head of cattle. He brought a man in a horse trailer. Hello, and I'll pick up. and he went East of the Sundance Grand and he unload them and Men, are are are my wife and Senator Al Burruss son named Charlie address was here. and other three of us, so we watched him as he unload them and then when he started for the road we chased in but he ran from us, but we caught him at the gate when he stopped to. Can you open the gate? So when we got there, I looked at him and I don't know the boy and he don't know me so. I asked him I said, I don't know you. Or I never see you before. Seems to me. You're a good white, man. Because I didn't do anything good for you or give you anything. Indian always giveaway at Taino ceremonials I give you nothing. So what we're going to do we're going to have a feast in your honor tomorrow same time. You know for 30 for 30 will have a feast a feast with his cattle. He said or his. Then when he knew that I was serious. He said the cattle belong to the bank at Martin. So I said the banker name Hudson. Pat Martin won't know about the feast. And I said, this is Indian land in a federal trust man. So Hudson have no jurisdiction here. It's an old white men can come on this land unless if they ask me. So your cattle are safe and your Kelly's Minecraft free. So will eat your comfrey. finally he was soaking he said please can I have Michael back? I know. the school teacher save this money to buy these come and when he finally by the cab, he have to mortgage them in the bank in order to get or buy stuff you need for his family. So I know these but as he looked at me he thinks I'm dumb. With all people think that Indians are dumb. But I see his problems. I see that the white man. Oh nothing. everything they have home television They're all either financed or they're all either, you know mortgaged. So the great great white father in Washington owned. And and the life insurance company on them. So I told him I said, Ken Willard. We never have any bad words. Set to each other. So what I want you to do is I want you to give me a note that said you lease this land from Ken health. and I want you to he'll write your signature on it and household is a policeman from Kadoka. He's the town Marshal. This is about 25 miles from here right off the reservation. It's on state land 20 minutes. So he gave me the most. and at the same time to some people from wanblee pulled in. So I said look for some hungry Indians. I said, I'll tell them the good news. We're having a feast tomorrow in your honor. He looked and he noticed all the people that got out of the car if they look hungry. Sorry said please mr. Black and you write the school teacher, Ken Willard. Brought the cattle here to graze on your land thinking that he had an agreement with the sheriff who lives off the reservation. The sheriff apparently having told him that it was his land and the school teacher could bring the cattle here to graze on his the sheriff's land. What the sheriff did is another violation of 1868 treaty except it's not the bank in the East Bank of Missouri. It's a small land that he trespassed on. Revile 8216 treaty again when he lease my land out from under me. I told her school teachers. I'm going to hold the Catalyst here and it can eat the grass free, but they'll be safe. Will be guarded you told the school teacher you weren't going to have a feast with the cattle after going to take care of. But I want you to know this I told the school teacher I waited three years. That's a long time. I pray with the pipe is a great mystery. I want that policeman. This policeman at least my landlord. He raped my people. He abused my people and he use my people. So we'll release nice. Did he use my people? Is he use Indian Land? So if you think he's doing okay, then that's okay he rape and he abused and he uses Indian Land. The sheriff at least the land that was your land to the school teacher in the sheriff was making money off your land. Class A great mystery to help me because a lot of girls come to me and they said can household rape me. No, spit my head open with dinner with the blacks. Some man, listen can helsel beat me up so bad I couldn't eat for three days. He put him in a cell and he pounded all I can do is I can pray for the day. I'll have him where I want him. And I want him to answer these. answer the raping abusing and using And that day was answered. May 13th, my prayers were answered. And you had the 13 head of cattle belonging to the school teacher who thought that he was grazing them on the sheriff's land. So what did you do then? This happened on Monday and then on Wednesday the 15th. The surf himself come here to check on his car. He said does he have jurisdiction here on the reservation just fixing he thinks you have power over Indian because of the bads and he come. I always thought that the Law Officers for high-caliber people. They have little bit of Ingleside County and little bit of everything in order to talk to people whether if it's if it's a marriage dispute. Are you know about breaking the law? But this policeman here. Doesn't have any of the heel qualification to be alone. So he uses the bads and he uses the gun. Is the power? So on Wednesday, he came here and he chased him off the land. I I give him a floater. They give Indians Florida cities if they're drunk, but what he did here is worth. When I shoot him off here. I told my wife I said I taste that Vic police mentality from the bir or like I told him to get out, you know. I keep saying go on go on. See the black dog I have here when I say stop alarm go on kygo. It's like I told a policeman Quan. I keep saying that to him all the way to the VIII rule nice it. Quan so he got so mad that he unbuckled his gun. But he cool off again, you know he was wrong. So 20 minutes later. I came back down here drink coffee. I told my wife I said I'm going to the agency and tell the superintendent. I need protection out here from the Bia police. And from the FBI to guard me against this policeman can help so so you want to be FBI to come here can to protect this land. So 20 minutes later this Indian from tone. Speed it down here, and he stopped. He said get ready the FBI's state troopers and patrolmen's and VI police syrup on a road with guns. They're coming in. so I said I have no communication here. No phone no more smoke signal. How do the FBI's know that I need them here? How did the Bia police know I need them here for protection. Anavar few minutes later. There's a car coming down slow. Let's stop at the gate then they got off then they got the guns out. So we walk through from the window. They come slow towards the house. They were looking that way and that way finally they got to wear that stove is at so I open the door and I said inspector asking I said, where's the cameras? So Dave Price put his gun away and he said we come to see Cielo black. They've prices FBI agent. I said, that's me. I said all black. I see. This is Indian Land This is federal trust land. If you're going to hunt here, you have to go through binary to get a new license to hunt. Unless if I get permission to hunt you can hunt deer here. I said I understand you have guns up there. So you're not hunting deer. The deer season is off. Why conductor? Could you ask them if they had come to answer your request for protection? I was going to call George, you know, he's in charge of the FBI. I was going to call George and asking for protection out here against can helpful. the deputy policeman the Marshall in the other side of the reservation on state land. How do you know that? I need you? He looked at me and he said I didn't come to protect you like come because can't help us will call. Stay stay alert. actors heavily-armed a imkamp with Cubans troll evidently, you know Federal Fidel Castro was here, too. I said Dave Price I said there is no such a thing as and I have one man with me but he's not a Cuban. I say he's a he's Elimina. This was Senator Alvarez, son. At that time they know who you was. When they come into the house, they come right straight for him and they said what's your name and Charlie Charlie? Charlie what? My name is Charlie black crow. He's my uncle. Then they went back on they came it again. They said Charlie black roll. Your father wants me to call, Washington. They knew he was a Senator son went and called his father. And on Friday the 17th. But this time in the morning the FBI's come back and I was mixing a white paint to paint this wall. They came and they read the first day pricing Cielo. Do you know you're right. I said, yes. This is my right and this is my left. And I continue mixing the paint. So he read something to me. Then my wife buddy and and Dave Price said this is pertain to Charlie ever. Ask Sylvester Blackwell in the FBI's this is I'm reading his right for cattle rustling. They were arresting you for rustling the County arrest me. They read me my right. But that's what it was going up to but he only read part of it. Then he just cramping up in a season. Let's go for a ride. So I thought they arrest you right there. I asked him I said this cattle rustling. I see what does that mean? My uncle was in here George Rooks. He said nephew cattle rustling means you'll you know you wrestle with it. So that was okay. I thought I had done a lot of wrestling. and Dave said I don't understand this. From the beginning and I still don't understand it today. Well I said I told you to call Dennis ekis Washington DC. He's with the justice department of the Civil Rights division. And I want can also hear and I want all the people that he raped he beat up here. So they can have a hearing right here hearing about the piece of paper that you had from the school teacher about about the marshals cattle or about the school teachers cattle at the Marshall had the least this land for and the people that 10 helsel abused and used I have the shirt for I want him. This is the only way I can have the Civil Right people here to listen. Cuda sport engine for Dave Price come in with this cattle rustling. And Acting Superintendent from Pine Ridge come in and he said Cee Lo turn the cat loose. This is the hottest issue of Western, South Dakota. I said I got that man where I want him and I pray 3 years for this day then when I pray and when I sing I said great mystery you make this day a holy so I want to honor it great mystery. I'm going to honor it. I pray this way I said I want to honor this. Holy day for my people. Great mystery make this day. Holy night this day I can honor it. I got the policeman. I even cried can of the four-legged animal out there. They don't know. By having a 13 cattle you had the policeman. So what happened then did the Civil Rights people from Washington come ignore my Acting Superintendent Elijah Whirlwind horse came in. He said please he'll give the cattle. So he's parked, you know his part black men. I said Eliza remember remember this? You're part Indian and your part black, man. If you think of yourself is Indian listen to me listen to me. Today is holy day. Today put on rent if you think of yourself as Indian, but if you think of yourself as black man, then Elijah, please leave my land and never come back. Today's holy day. That's on Earth. Don't say please to rain Don't Make Me released. Don't make me do nothing. Eliza Eliza he said Cielo don't go deep into it. Because people are listening. Don't say I'm the Indian. You're the black man. So don't go deep into it. I will help you. Keep the can and I'll help you fight. What happened then? When FBI's Read Me My Rights, it's a threat. So I ask you for legal advice. from aimp send me Mark Lane. Send me William Kunstler. Send me anybody. I want legal advice. Turn them loose. Eaton Akita I have to make three decisions. Pastor calendar I said I'm going to wait one more day. I'm going to hold them, but they will drink water until you eat. the craft serious you have to so they left again. Penny and people come in And when I don't talk to the Asian people. They were here all day and then they left. I told him I have to be alone. I took the pie. That's a great decision for the Indian people. This is not a personal gain for myself. It's for the people that he abused the sheriff is for the people that he use. It's for the people that he hurt. so the decision I made was Ken Willard School teacher school teacher a reference and his character and his life depend on those count. If I should eat them here. You know the bank rating going to loan him any money anymore. So I don't think about Ken words. Life, I'm thinking about his kids. Lord himself with his wife in South Dakota and white people don't like Indians. Kenworth is one of them. But maybe from this experience his kids will learn, Indiana. Indian think of his kid bank account I want them to learn from this. I to learn from it. I didn't make any hasty decision. I didn't say aim boys shoot them. At the season have to be wise decision this way in the future when Kenwood's kids grow up. They'll understand the Indians have big heart. They can share the land with them. So they can share. Whatever in the future the education. Education is a must for Indian kids today, but Christianity is not sharing. The European Christianity could be kept in that. European way to themself believe Christianity don't bring Christianity to my people. That's that's the greatest anime to my people. Today is Christianity. so from this cattle dispute I hope America will learn that Indian. Have big heart and we don't have any sign that says no trespassing on. Cuz we few we don't own the land the land on us. The only sign you see like that is on your pineal glands. No trespassing. No hunting. no smoking know everything so I hope from this Kenwood kids will learn. That we're not trying to destroy them. For trying to deal with the kids. I take it you let the cattle go for Kenwood kids sink. Not for Ken Willard, but for his kids. when they grow up they can say TracFone have every right to eat them because they eat the grass free. What about the sheriff does? Was the sheriff afraid that you still had the piece of paper that the school teacher gave you saying that the sheriff had given him the teacher the right to graze the cattle here from Town come and tell me that if I go to Canoga. The sheriff will pick me up. and all I am expecting if I go to Kadoka you pick me up for any excuse cuz it's off the reservation. I don't know what he'll do. Do to me in jail. Are you find an excuse to pick me up? I don't think that sheriff have any such a thing is. What you call feeling of embarrassment? You have no shame. He has nothing. Do you think of Charlie abourezk? Hadn't been here that the FBI would have arrested you I think so. the same day on the sea 17th of May I think I would have been arrested for cattle rustling. Was Charlie abourezk ever in quart himself afterwards? After the incident happened when he went to court. A Jackson County courthouse for new expired license plate off the reservation. He have a license plate from a c Virginia state. And it sucks at that time. I don't know if he's still a judge today. His name is Judge colony. And the charges is expired license plate, but that's only said to him Charlie arboresque who does see no black for sleep with. expired license He said Cielo sleep with his wife. Danny said Charlie arboresque. Who do you sleep with expired license? Charlie said I sleep alone. So that's all he said how often does Cielo Blackwell take a bath expired license when it's not personal lights. Charlie Alvarez said he take a sweat bath every evening. so Cuyahoga county is very funny town. They worried about your personal hygiene who you sleep with was the judge asking these questions because he knew the senator a Burress Son charlie stayed here and the spiritual camp with you on the reservation. Don't know what this is spiritual camp and they they they they try to they tried their utmost to you know, Monopoly. by saying this is sex can her by saying this is Chaka Khan. They tried to stop something that is going good. What did Senator ever ask son say to the judge during the hearing for expired license plates come to my camp and purify himself. So he won't be saying these things. This is one of the Deep Thoughts. Could I have talked about? deep secret thoughts about Indian they think of us as uncultivated uneducated Savages. Or maybe we have no education. No book Lies. But our our our our morale and our our spiritual life is higher. And that European Christianity and what they have the judge come here and take a sweat bath with you. Yes, I would appreciate. Please welcome any time any day. And have a long talk with me about touching people. That that would be great. Maybe we can help him. Khaleesi what's outside of the city of Cahokia? Maybe we can teach him to love.