Peltier Statement on Graham Extradition Hearing
December 6, 2004
Today, the U.S. government will seek John Graham’s extradition to stand trial in South Dakota for the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. I urge all of you to closely monitor the proceedings and ensure that Canadian authorities thoroughly examine all the evidence presented by the U.S. government in this case.
Never forget the role of U.S. law enforcement officials in incidents that took place in the 1970s on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tirelessly tried to prejudice the fair trial rights of American Indian Movement leaders charged with serious crimes during that turbulent period and knowingly presented false evidence to illegally obtain my extraction from Canada in December 1976.
You may be thinking “That was then, this is now.” Yes, many things have changed since the 1970s, but one thing has not changed, I assure you: Indians in the U.S. continue to struggle against the most dangerous, well-funded, strongest military and political organization in the world. I know the behavior of the FBI and other government officials has not changed. I fear that Graham will not receive a fair hearing in Canada or a fair trial in the U.S., anymore than I did.
To the Canadian officials I say, justice cannot be achieved if a full investigation into the FBI’s role in Annie Mae’s death is not included in the inquiry. Annie Mae’s death was the direct result of the FBI’s activities on Pine Ridge. The FBI told Anna Mae that they would see her dead within a year if she did not cooperate with them, used their puppets to spread rumors that Annie Mae was an informant when she refused to cooperate, and mishandled the investigation of her death. Your investigation must consider the fact that the FBI’s pathologist listed the cause of her death as exposure, despite the obvious bullet hole in her head, and Annie Mae’s quick burial before a positive identification could be made.
Your investigation also must include examination of FBI Special Agent David Price who was very familiar with Annie Mae’s appearance and saw her body after it was first recovered, yet failed to identify her. I believe he attempted to cover up her murder. When this was no longer possible, due to the findings of an independent pathologist, the FBI issued a false press release implying that some of her own people murdered Annie Mae because they believed she was an informant. Look for and find the truth. In so doing, remember that officials of the U.S. violated your sovereignty in 1976 by deceiving your courts and using you to wrongfully convict an innocent man. Remember. And be vigilant. The First Nations of the U.S. and Canada want justice for Anna Mae, but also do not want an injustice done in her name.