Our Freedom

Honour Anna Mae Pictou Aquash and Harriet Nahanee / Free John Graham and Leonard Peltier

The Life and Death of Anna Mae August 1, 2007

Filed under: Pine Ridge Reign of Terror — ourfreedom @ 7:14 pm

The Life and Death of Anna Mae

by Our Freedom editor, August 2007

“The Life and Death of Anna Mae Aquash”, a book by Johanna Brand, is one of the best sources of information on the context of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash’s murder and her life’s struggle.

The book shows that Anna Mae was a national leader of the American Indian Movement and a brave, fully-committed warrior, not merely a victim or a ‘friend’ of people in AIM, as US government prosecutor James McMahon tried to portray her in Arlo Looking Cloud’s trial.

Brand explains that Anna Mae did not at all fit the profile of an FBI infiltrator or informer and that rumours about her to that effect were thought by some AIM members to have been started by a real FBI informer, infiltrator, and Goon Squad member, John Stewart.

“Whatever the accusation against her Anna Mae never acted according to the usual informer pattern, ” wrote Brand. “It was more common for a spy to be an unobtrusive person on the periphery of AIM or, if active, a disruptive force. Anna Mae Aquash was neither; the work she did undoubtedly benefited AIM and the accusations against her were based entirely on speculation.”

Brand also describes in detail the FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs’ attempt to cover up the cause of Anna Mae’s death as “exposure” and later blame her murder on AIM.

“…On March 11 [1976], before the results of the second autopsy were known, a story appeared in the Rapid City Journal, captioned ‘FBI Denies AIM Implication That Aquash Was Informant,'” wrote Brand. “In this way the Bureau, responding publicly to charges that AIM had not made public, set the stage for its interpretation of a murder that had not yet been officially discovered.”

As Brand’s book and many other sources make clear, the FBI and the Goon Squad they supported are more likely responsible for Anna Mae’s murder than AIM.

In her book, Brand wrote that one of the BIA cops who was present when Anna Mae’s body was found was Paul Herman. Goon Squad member Duane Brewer admitted in an interview with reporter Kevin McKiernan that there was strong evidence linking Herman to Anna Mae’s murder, according to Ward Churchill’s essay “Death Squads in the United States”, based on the interview. Herman later pleaded guilty to “voluntary manslaughter” after murdering and torturing 15-year-old Sandra Wounded Foot and was sentenced to only 10 years in prison, and likely served less time than that.

Another BIA cop Brand says was there when Anna Mae’s body was found was Glenn Littlebird, who had also worked with Bob Ecoffey and FBI agents Coler and Williams when they went to the Jumping Bull area of the Pine Ridge reservation the day before the infamous June 26 shoot-out of 1975. Ecoffey also took part in the shoot-out, testified against Leonard Peltier during his frame-up trial for murdering the FBI agents, and worked with the FBI in the 1990s to frame-up Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham for the murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Ecoffey repeated a story at Looking Cloud’s trial, that he had told a Canadian “Fifth Estate” TV reporter previously, about Anna Mae being brought up to a fence before she was killed and that Looking Cloud had said that she knew then what was going to happen to her. In the same trial, the rancher who found Anna Mae’s body said there was no fence there at the time.

(It’s worth noting that Ward Churchill was involved in a 1999 press conference, alongside Russell Means and Robert Branscombe, calling for the Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham’s arrest)

Incident at Oglala – The Indian Wars Continue

Video clip from Kevin McKiernan’s interview with Goon Squad member


Graffiti in Coast Salish Territory, Vancouver, Canada



Incident at Oglala June 26, 2007

Filed under: Incident at Oglala,Pine Ridge Reign of Terror,Video — ourfreedom @ 7:04 pm

Incident at Oglala
The Indian Wars Continue

by Contributor

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.


Interview with a Goon May 23, 2007

Filed under: Pine Ridge Reign of Terror — ourfreedom @ 1:47 am

Interview of Duane Brewer by Kevin McKiernan

McKiernan: When they [FBI] came to your house and they saw all those weapons, did they give you anything besides the intelligence, that is, information about AIM? Did they give you any physical items at all?

Brewer: Well, I know one time they gave me some armor-piercing 357 magnum ammo.

[Excerpt from “The Spirit of Crazy Horse,” 1990 PBS Documentary]


Goon Squad Attack on Legal Defense Committee May 22, 2007

Filed under: Pine Ridge Reign of Terror — ourfreedom @ 7:39 pm

Eda Gordon – October 20, 2000 – Santa Fe, New Mexico

County of Santa Fe
State of New Mexico


I, Eda Gordon, being duly sworn do depose and state the following:

1. I am a private investigator licensed in the State of New Mexico since 1982.

2. From 1973 through 1975 I worked with the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee, first as a press liaison and then as a paralegal/investigator for the cases arising out of the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

3. In February 1975 I was a passenger in a carload of lawyers and legal workers attacked at the Pine Ridge Airport by members of the vigilante group known as the “Goon Squad” (Guardians of the Oglala Nation) under the direct orders of Tribal Chairman Dick Wilson. Wilson stood at the driver side the car [sic], and when asked by one of the goons, “What do you want us to do with them, Dick?”, Wilson responded, “I want you to stomp ’em.” The six of us in the car were pulled out at gunpoint, thrown to the ground, and the men badly beaten. At one point, one of the goons pulled a knife directed at one of the lawyers, Roger Finzel, who was on the ground being stomped by boots and fists. I deflected the knife and received minor cuts on my hand.

4. The attack on the Wounded Knee legal team occurred in the midst of a “reign of terror” against traditional Lakota people who opposed the Dick Wilson regime, but also signaled that the repression had escalated out of control. No longer could the rampant violence on the Reservation be characterized merely as internecine warfare among factions when non-Indian out-of-state lawyers and legal workers had become a target of Wilson and his Goon Squad.

5. It was in this climate of fear four months later that FBI agents Williams and Coler, in unmarked cars, chased a pickup into the Jumping Bull compound in Oglala, and died in an ensuing firefight.

6. In March 1990, at the request of Bruce Ellison, legal counsel for Leonard Peltier, I traveled to Fargo, North Dakota, to interview members of the jury that had convicted Peltier of killing the FBI agents.

7. The purpose of the interviews was to inquire if the jurors would have changed their verdict if new evidence obtained after trial had been introduced at the time of the trial.

8. Subsequent to the conviction of Leonard Peltier, an FBI report was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which documented, contrary to FBI testimony at trial, that a ballistics test conducted by the FBI showed that a shell casing found at the scene was incompatible with a weapon attributed to Leonard Peltier.

9. Also obtained under the Freedom of Information Act after trial were FBI reports regarding the radio transmissions of the two agents prior to their death. These reports confirmed that the agents were chasing a red pickup truck into the Jumping Bull compound, not a red and white van, which Leonard Peltier was known to use. None of the transmissions discussed in the reports described the vehicle as a van. Other reports emphasized that for two to three weeks after the incident, the FBI was looking for and stopping red pickups — not vans — in its manhunt to apprehend the suspected killers of the agents.

10. Of the three jurors who agreed to an interview, two said that the discovery of the ballistics test and the discrepancy between the red pickup truck and the read and white van could have changed their verdict.

11. In the course of this post-conviction investigation, I also interviewed Wilford “Wish” Draper and Norman Brown on the Navajo Nation. Both were adolescents living at the Jumping Bull compound on June 26, 1975, and were called as witnesses for the prosecution against Leonard Peltier at the time of the trial. Both admitted that they were intimidated by the FBI into testifying against Peltier and told in front of their mothers that they could spend the rest of their lives in prison if they did not testify to implicate Peltier in the killing of the agents.

The foregoing statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.

Eda Gordon (copy of original affidavit below)

Notorized on October 20, 2000.


Chronology of Oppression At Pine Ridge

Filed under: Pine Ridge Reign of Terror — ourfreedom @ 7:25 pm

Chronology of Oppression At Pine Ridge

Pamphlet: Victims of Progress, Early Fall 1977, p. 8-9.
Author: Anonymous

December 1890
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.

January 1972
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.

April 1973
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.

June 1973
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.

Fall 1973
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.

February 1974
Poker Joe Merrival, son of tribal attorney Ethel Merrival, is stabbed, and two other AIM supporters are beaten up.

Early 1974
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.

February 1974
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.

Winter 1974
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.

March 1975
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.

Spring 1975
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.

July 1975
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.

July 1975
An old man (in his eighties) dies of a heart attack after being threatened by FBI agents with M-16s and other weapons.

August 1975
Leroy Apple kills Homer Bluebird after a series of Harassment incidents.

September 1975
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.

October 1975
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.

November 1975
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.

January 1976
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.

February 1976
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.

February 1976
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.