Incident at Oglala
The Indian Wars Continue
On June 26, 1975, FBI agents and Bureau of Indian Affairs police laid siege to an encampment of American Indian Movement members at the Pine Ridge reservation, killing AIM warrior Joe Stuntz Killsright and leaving two FBI agents dead. Leonard Peltier was later framed for killing the agents. One of the BIA police officers who took part in the attack on the AIM camp was Bob Ecoffey. He also testified against Leonard Peltier at his 1977 trial.
In the 1990s, Ecoffey became the primary “investigator” of the murder of AIM warrior Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. He videotaped a “confession” about the killing from AIM member Arlo Looking Cloud who stated during the interview that he was under the influence of alcohol. Looking Cloud later recanted his confession, pleading not guilty at his trial.
Ecoffey told a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television documentary that Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham took Anna Mae across a fence to the edge of a bank on Pine Ridge.
“She was brought here by members of the American Indian Movement, and she was executed right on top of this hill. She was shot in the back of the head, fell over the bank, and then laid where she was found, and basically left to die. And I feel that it was a result of paranoia amongst people within the American Indian Movement that she was an informant,” said Ecoffey.
He later repeated this story at Arlo Looking Cloud’s trial, adding that Arlo had said that when Anna Mae got to the fence she knew what was going to happen. At the beginning of the same trial, the rancher who found her body, Roger Amiotte, said there was no fence there at the time. How could Anna Mae have known what was going to happen to her based on being taken up to a fence that did not exist? Perhaps Ecoffey made up the story and is simply continuing with his campaign against AIM. The BIA police force on Pine Ridge was instrumental in the self-proclaimed Goon Squad that carried our numerous assassinations and assaults against AIM members and traditional Lakotas at Pine Ridge in the 1970s. The BIA police were also instrumental in initially covering up the cause of Anna Mae’s death as “exposure” and having her buried as an unidentified “Jane Doe”, as chronicled in her biography, “The Life and Death of Anna Mae Aquash” by Johanna Brand.
After Looking Cloud’s trial, Ecoffey married Darlene Nichols (formerly known as Kamook Banks), a former AIM member who testified against Arlo Looking Cloud and admitted to being paid $42,000 by the US government for her “expenses”, and to wearing a wire to record conversations. Her testimony at Arlo’s trial mostly targeted Leonard Peltier, as she claimed he admitted to killing the FBI agents.