Chronology of Oppression At Pine Ridge
Pamphlet: Victims of Progress, Early Fall 1977, p. 8-9.
Massacre of 350 women, children and men near Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, considered the last “official” massacre of Indians by U.S. forces.
Raymond Yellow Thunder, a dignified older man, was harassed, beaten, tortured and humiliated before a crowd at an American Legion Dance and finally murdered in Gordon, Nebraska.
January 21, 1973
Wesley Bad Heart Bull, knifed in chest after an earlier fight with the same man and after a bartender in Buffalo Gap put a bounty on his life. His killer was charged with second-degree manslaughter and finally acquitted.
Glen Three Stars, a known goon, and Tote (John) Richards, also a goon, assaulted Hobart Keith, member of the tribal council, active in the impeachment effort.
April 17, 1973
Frank Clearwater (47, from Cherokee, N.C.) was sitting in the church building during the Wounded Knee Liberation; he was unarmed. A bullet crashed through the wall and tore out a substantial part of his skull and brain. He died April 25th.
April 27, 1973
Buddy Lamont, forced from a bunker in Wounded Knee, coughing and choking because of CS gas, was slammed with a heavy burst of machine gun fire and killed.
Clarence Cross and his brother Vernal were shot by BIA police while they slept in a car parked by the side of the road. Clarence died, and Vernal, who was also injured, was charged with his murder. For over a year, he was followed, harassed and attacked by BIA police, goon squad and FBI.
July 29, 1973
At Manderson, Pine Ridge – Curtis Ghost struck with a club by off duty BIA policeman, Jonathan Twist. Minutes later 2 BIA policemen arrived, grabbed Ghost and put him in a car. They also knocked down and beat Leo White Hawk. Cathy Eagle Hawk (8 Months Pregnant) was maced in the face by Twist. Harassment because of their identification with AIM.
August 31, 1973
Hearing confirmed the fact that WKLD/OC had been under constant surveillance since its National Meeting Memorial weekend at the Imperial 400 Hotel in Rapid City. 48 out of a total of 54 S.D. FBI agents were in Rapid City at that time.
October 12, 1973
Jailing of James Romero and the Miguel family of Phoenix, Arizona–racist move by FBI to brainwash American public that AIM is a plot to disrupt matters in the local community.
October 17, 1973
Pedro Bisonette shot to death by BIA police at a roadblock.
October 4, 1973
Dick Wilson’s car driven into Bissonette’s property by Bill Charging (friend of Wilson’s son). Charging was intoxicated and told Mark Lane that Wilson had offered to pay him $50 for coming to the Bissonettes to see what he could provoke.
Group of Goons shooting M-16s, fired at the Little Bear house striking seven year old Mary Ann and causing her to lose her right eye.
Post-Wounded Knee 1973
Paul Herman, BIA police officer and Chris Red Elk, member of the goon squad, assaulted Helen Red Feather, a strong AIM supporter, and then arrested her. Mace was sprayed in her face repeatedly, her arm was twisted and she was kicked in the side although she told them she was four months pregnant.
Between January 22 and February 7, 1974
(Between primary and election 1974) at least eight families received threats that their homes would be firebombed and shot at.
February 7, 1974
Milo Goings, a well-known AIM member and Wounded Knee defendant, has his car sprayed with bullets and his rear windshield shot out while driving his car.
February 7, 1974
One woman activist describes election night: “There was shooting going on all over the reservation. It was just like the night Pedro Bisonette was killed.”
February 18, 1974
Verlyn Dale Bad Heart Bull is fatally shot in Allen, SD almost exactly a year after his brother was killed in Buffalo Gap.
Poker Joe Merrival, son of tribal attorney Ethel Merrival, is stabbed, and two other AIM supporters are beaten up.
The son in law of Bernice and Eugene White Hawk is taken 1/4 mile out of Manderson, and beaten while handcuffed. His thumbs are broken by the cops who stand on them in their boots.
Between the primary and election for tribal chairman, numerous threats, harassments, intimidation and shootings directed against any who oppose the re-election of Dick Wilson. On Election Day, a young boy is shot.
May 27, 1974
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights investigation of the Feb 7 election of tribal chairman Dick Wilson at Pine Ridge substantiated such things as: people submitted absentee ballots who had not previously registered.
July 5, 1974
Office of WKLD/OC in Pierre, S.D. is raided by Attorney General William Janklow, Deputy Sheriff Arthur Marso, and a police officer. They have no warrant and will not leave when requested to do so. Lawyer Mark Lane closes the door in a firm fashion and after repeated requests they leave. Members of the defense committee flee Hughes County with essential defense documents in fear that Janklow will attempt to seize them. These documents are a confidential survey conducted under the direction of attorney for John Carlson, an Indian defendant, showing anti-Indian prejudice in S.D.
October 12, 1974
Pine Ridge home of Dick Marshall, officer of the Committee for Better Tribal Government, invaded by four goons who harass him and others.
November 18, 1974
One person killed, 5 wounded at Chester Stone’s home by Jess Trueblood who then kills himself, according to the police version. The case is being reopened. Suspicion that Manny Wilson (son of Dick) did the killing is also revived.
A man named Jerry is chased and shot at while trying to catch his horse; he is beaten around the head and suffers permanent damage to his hearing.
February 2, 1975
Exchange of gunfire on Pine Ridge between AIM and others.
February 27, 1975
Six legal workers, lawyers and a Wounded Knee defendant are beaten on orders from Dick Wilson, who personally witnesses the incident after ordering his goons to “stomp ‘em.” Also on Feb. 27, 1975, a group of AIM members are beaten, chased through a roadblock and shot at. Meanwhile AIM members Severt Young Bear and Marvin Ghost Bear, both elected tribal council members, are locked in the jail and surrounded by goons. BIA police hide in the tribal offices throughout these incidents. Wilson and the goons are indicted for misdemeanor assault only after intensive publicity about the matter (something that never happens when Indians are the only victims) while the AIM members are indicted for serious felonies.
March 9, 1975
Josh Steele, a known goon, shot dead in his car near his home in Manderson.
March 19, 1975
Jerry Bear Shield is charged with the murder of Josh Steele.
March 20, 1975
Stacey Kortier shot and killed. Two suspects held in BIA jail on Pine Ridge.
March 21, 1975
Albert Coomes and Mark Clifford, both goons, repeatedly ram the car in which the Eagle Hawk and White Hawk families are riding. The car is forced off the road. Edith Eagle Hawk, 37, her four month old daughter, Linda and Earl W. Janis Jr. are killed. Coomes also killed. Edith Eagle Hawk is an eyewitness to Josh Steele shooting incident.
Mar. 26, 1975
Jeanette Bisonette shot and killed while her car was parked on the side of the road. She was returning from the wake of Stacy Cortier. She was shot by a high-powered rifle.
Accidental shooting death of Richard Eagle; stabbing death of 81 year old Rose Good Buffalo and alleged suicide of Justin Sitting Up in Wanblee. His family says it was murder.
Four goons break into the home of Dick Marshall and Dave Clifford while a fifth goon assaults the residents. In self-defense Clifford shoots [?] Bettelyoun. Only Clifford is taken into custody and charged with assault to do great bodily harm. His home is shot up and firebombed after his family flees for safety. No on is arrested or charged.
April 27, 1975
Orville Schwartings, hired hand, drives by shooting at the cluster housing in Batesland, shouting, “I’m going to kill all the Indians!” Mrs. Katherine Hudson is present at this incident and has Etta May Runnels call into the police station in Pine Ridge. Nothing is done as usual since it was a white man.
June 26, 1975
Two FBI agents and an Indian man are killed in Oglala; Leonard Peltier and three other Indians are charged with murder of the agents.
July 4, 1975
BIA policeman Dan Mesteth takes Chris and Ben Fire Thunder to the Wounded Knee Community Hall, handcuffs and beats them. Chris had been arrested about 25 times since Wounded Knee 1973; the arrests often include beatings.
FBI agents attempt to rape Colleen Clifford near Manderson Housing.
July 10-14, 1975
Goons beat Stan Star severely and leave him at the PHS hospital, thinking he is dead. He receives deep gashes in the top of his head, a broken arm, and his face is beaten so severely that a week later, his eyes are swollen shut and his teeth have to be wired.
An old man (in his eighties) dies of a heart attack after being threatened by FBI agents with M-16s and other weapons.
Leroy Apple kills Homer Bluebird after a series of Harassment incidents.
Eugenio White Hawk is injured when goons rum him down on the highway. They are driving a car, he is riding a horse; the horse has to be shot.
September 13, 1975
Four men kick Jim Little to death in daylight in the cluster housing in Oglala. Those who try to break up the beating are chased away with boards; one is knocked unconscious.
Cheyenne Nichol’s home in Pine Ridge is shot up while she is in Rapid City.
October 13, 1975
Four Explosions rock Pine Ridge Village, damaging an electric transformer, the Tribal Court House (a trailer) the BIA Building and the Law and Order Building.
Danny Merrival is shot in the Mouth.
Mid November 1975
Frank Grooms removes a log house from the property of Irene Big Elk, who was buying the house from him and was caught up on her payments. Her son, who is living in the house, goes to town for supplies and comes home to find the house and everything in it gone. The house is removed by Grooms, who also takes a range, refrigerator, Skelgas heater, table and chairs, bedding, rug, and clothing.
November 3, 1975
Frank Wilson (brother of Dick) is intimidated outside a White Clay bar.
Week of November 10, 1975
Edgar Bear Runner attacked in the Sioux Nation Supermarket by Manny Wilson (son of Dick) and two other goons who flee when the manager calls the police. Later the same day, his brother Dennis is run off the highway near his home in Porcupine by Goons. The same week the BIA SWAT team attempts to assassinate three members of AIM and then conducts a high-speed chase of the car in which the AIM members are riding across the reservation.
December 5, 1975
Glen Janis shoots and kills Carl Plenty Arrows and Frank Lapointe.
Week of Dec. 12, 1975
BIA police shoot Joe Swift Bird in the back in Pine Ridge.
December 12, 1975
Late night shoot out among members of the goon squad in North Ridge Housing in Pine Ridge.
Dec. 31, 1975
Lou Bean and two companions are shot at as they attempt to walk from her house to a friend�s. Police come and arrest her companion and send her home. No attempt is made to arrest those doing the shooting. This occurs in Crazy Horse Housing, Pine Ridge.
Winnie Red Shirt’s head is grazed by a bullet shot from a car going past the store in Porcupine. She is the mother of Larry Red Shirt, the coordinator for the Lakota Treaty Council. Some witnesses say the people were actually shooting at Dick Marshall, long time reservation organizer and AIM member. Police try to claim Mrs. Red Shirt was hit by a rock, not a bullet. The hospital report says it was a bullet.
January 31, 1976
Byron DeSersa is murdered by goons during a chase. His car with passengers, all unarmed, is chased by six cars of known goons. After the car is wrecked, the goons prevent his getting medical attention, and he bleeds to death. His death is preceded by a day of shooting and threats by Pine Ridge goons. Authorities do nothing to stop the attacks on AIM members, supporters and traditionalists. Police arrest two people being shot at on old warrants.
Car of young people driving from the AIM school in Rapid City late night is chased by a car at high speed from Scenic to Sharps Corner (near Porcupine). The AIM car is wrecked. Three of the four occupants are killed. Selma Johnson survives but has head and back injuries. This is the third such accident in a year. All of the victims have been AIM or AIM supporters. Authorities refuse to improve patrolling of the area.
Lena Slow Bear is found dead on the side of the road near Oglala. She was 16. Circumstances of her death are being investigated.
This is only a partial list. There are probably almost as many more incidents that we have never even heard about. There are also more subltle attacks: of having an inadequate diet while white ranchers cattle graze in the front yard, of knowing there is no adequate health care available if you get sick and no preventive care at all; of all the subtly genocidal policies of a U.S. government afraid of issues like Treaty agreements, jurisdiction, sovereignty, control of land and programs and abolition of the 1934 and 1936 Indian government reorganization acts.