A great number of years ago I was a guest at Gary Thomas' rural South Dakota ranch(?) for the Buffalo County Bar Association Bean Feed and Beer Bust. This was a bit of a joke as the only lawyers in Buffalo County were a couple of young legal aid lawyers - Thomas and my friend Jim Margadant. The party was a mix of activist law types and two or three young Indians. A good party - good food, interesting people, too much to drink and a good fist fight to cap it off. Years later I asked Jim what had become of one of the guys I had been talking to that day. He said, "He was killed. A lot of Indians just disappeared back then." Last night I watched a PBS special on the Wounded Knee Occupation. After it was over I emailed Jim and asked what stuck out in his memory of that awful time. This is his response:
Yes, I watched the PBS program too. It brought back many memories about those times and life on South Dakota's reservations during AIM days. It started with the Custer County Courthouse riots and ratcheted up with various actions and events through the Wounded Knee occupation. I think that the Native Americans that produced the PBS piece got it right, at least from my perspective and sympathies at the time.
I was a bit closer to some of the events because Gary Thomas, the legal services lawyer in the Pine Ridge office, was moved to my Ft. Thompson office after the Pine Ridge office was "closed." Turns out ol' Rowe knew a good bit about the caravan that formed to go out to Wounded Knee that night, what kind of ordinance was in the car trunks, names and particulars. It wasn't safe for him to stay on in Pine Ridge, so he got pulled out and sent off to my way-station. That's probably why the Wilson goons broke into the Pine Ridge office and trashed it after he hauled ass.
There's lots of stories, but only two strike me as worth retelling right now. More
There’s been some AIM days discussions before in these quarters, so I’ll pass along the following information to those who might be interested in those times in Indian Country.
Yesterday afternoon, after less than two hours of deliberation, an all white federal jury found Richard “Dickie” Marshall not guilty of murder in connection with the 1975 slaying of AIM activist Annie Mae Aquash. It was alleged that Marshall had furnished the .32 revolver to the group that brought Aquash to his house on the way to the badlands where her body was later discovered. The feds brought the prosecution largely on the strength of the statements of Arlo Looking Cloud. continued