November 7, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

Peter Matthiessen

Language: English

Pages: 645

ISBN: 0670836176

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


On a hot June morning in 1975, a shoot-out between FBI agents and American Indians erupted on a reservation near Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Two FBI agents and one Indian died. Eventually four Indians, all members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were indicted on murder charges, Twenty-two years late, one of them, Leonard Peltier, is still serving two consecutive life sentences. The story of what really happened and why Matthiessen is convinced of Peltier's innocence, forms the central narrative in this classic work of investigative reporting. But Mathiessen also reveals the larger issues behind the Pine Ridge shoot-out: systematic discrimination by the white authorities; corporate determination to exploit the uranium deposits in the Black Hills; the breaking of treaties; and FBI hostility towards the AIM, which was set up to bring just such issues to light. When this book was first published it was immediately the subject of two $25 million-dollar legal actions that attempted to suppress it permanently. After eight years of court battles, ending with a Supreme Court judgement, Mathiessen won the right to tell Peltier's and his people's story.

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to the case had tears in his eyes as he walked down the federal building hall.”9 The town seemed proud of this rebellious verdict by its hometown jury. A long-standing local prejudice against Indians, and against AIM especially, had been offset by fair press coverage and the good impression that the Indians had made, at least by comparison to the FBI and its crude police-state tactics; and the acquittal, in the words of the Cedar Rapids Gazette on June 19, “devastated FBI morale.” Norman

he served as informal spiritual leader during Peltier’s court appearances, starting in Vancouver; this year he would lead the memorial service for Anna Mae Aquash and Joe Stuntz to be held at Oglala on June 26. He has also been taking correspondence courses in his spare time to complete a college degree in Indian studies. Leonard, he said, had been learning the spiritual way ever since 1973, when he had joined most of the AIM leaders in their first sun dance, and he has been teaching other

Porcupine, on the Pine Ridge Reservation, but raised mostly in Oakland, California, where he was trained as an accountant. In the late 1960s, he found work in the tribal offices on the Rosebud Reservation, where the white owner of the Maverick Motel in Mission remembers the 6′1″ 185-pound Means as a “good-looking, hardworking boy” who went wrong due to overexposure to liberal thought. Means bitterly resented the loss of his culture and language, “stolen from me by the white man.” As head of

Terrorism Subcommittee was assembled by Senator Strom Thurmond (who by no coincidence was also the sponsor of new anti-Indian legislation: see note 7 to Chapter 19 of the present book), although even the Director of the FBI could “find no real evidence of Soviet-inspired terrorism within the United States.” Nevertheless, those who coveted Indian resources would damn any resistance as a scheme of “the international Communist conspiracy,” and because Indian activists maintain a natural alliance not

with his .22. Apparently, Anderson and Norman Charles were also firing at those cars. At a distance of nearly two hundred yards, the young Indians succeeded in shooting out one tire on each of them, and the cars backed up in a wild zigzagging retreat along the rain-puddled dirt road toward Highway 18, before one of them got stuck in a muddy ditch. After a long-range exchange of shots with a big white man who jumped out of this car and began shooting, Brown returned to the edge of the bluff

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