[Marxism] Free Peltier! A Position Statement from Carter Camp

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Sun Mar 14 10:29:08 MST 2004

                          Free Peltier! A Position Statement from Carter
Ah-ho My Relations,
   I have read my friend Bob Robideau's statement about Anna Mae and his
resignation statement as Leonard Peltier's international spokesperson.
In contrast I have decided to accept Leonard's invitation to join his
Board of Directors at the LPDC. In my judgment Leonard needs the help of
his old friends now more than ever. I don't know if I can make a
difference but I intend to try help where ever I can. For twenty eight
long years some very good and hard working men and women have worked for
Leonard's freedom and struggled against the might of the FBI and a
justice system that bows to the wishes of special law enforcement
interests. They have made his name known to millions of people around
the world. My presence on his board is merely to add on to what they
have done. Leonard Peltier has been lucky to have each and every one of
them in his corner. Leonard and I are old friends and comrades in the
movement. Oklahoma ! AIM like most AIM chapters was organized by grass
roots community activists who believed in the tenets of AIM and were
willing to fight for the survival of our people. In the spring of 1972
we gathered in an encampment on the Pawnee reservation just outside
Pawnee Oklahoma. As a series of actions took place around the state the
police in Pawnee deputized every store owner in town and vigilantes were
arming themselves and patrolling the roads around the AIM encampment.
The question of sovereignty was new and threatening to official Oklahoma
and they reacted with threats and violence. We reacted with increased
demand for justice and as our movement grew the government became more
aggressive against us. When we needed help Leonard Peltier and a group
of brothers came to stand beside us. Their support meant a lot to us and
Oklahoma AIM became the largest AIM chapter. From then on we developed a
trust and worked together until he was falsely imprisoned. Recently the
LPDC has gone through! a lot of changes and things slowed down at the
Committee so Leonard asked three Oklahoma AIM friends to help out with
the committee. Along with me he asked that Francis Wise who is an
Oklahoma AIM leader from the Caddo Tribe to join the Board. And he asked
Dave Hill, a Choctaw from the boonies south of Seminole to join as the
new Director. I know both of them very well, I know their families and
have worked with them on our peoples issues for decades. As part of the
FBI smear campaign against the LPDC, Dave has lately had a strange bunch
of people calling him names and trying to "jacket" him like they did
Anna Mae. But they are mostly internet voices with no real tie to the
Indian community they claim to speak for, I term them "netskins" and I
know Dave has a thick enough skin to shed their little barbs and do the
work he has been asked to do. Francis Wise is Stan Holder's (Chief of
Security in Wounded Knee) sister and a founding member of Oklahoma AIM.
They both seemed like great c! hoices to me so I accepted too. We hope
to blend in with the existing board members and the support groups
around the world to seek justice for Leonard Peltier and to remind
America of the Indian wars longest serving political prisoner. 

   But I'm not writing this about only Leonard Peltier -- we all agree
that Leonard Peltier had nothing to do with the death of Anna Mae
Aquash. I'm writing about how the FBI is using the investigation of her
death as a way to keep Leonard Peltier in prison and to attack AIM as
retribution for our struggle for sovereignty. It was an armed struggle
and our enemy used deadly tactics against us routinely; many of our
people were killed and a few of theirs. When KaMook testified that our
brothers had killed those attackers, the Lakota women in the audience
should have "lulu'd" loudly in court to show their pride for a warrior's
victory coup. As I told Bob when he called me from Europe, we are proud
of the stand the warriors made that day! at Jumping Bull's. Three armed
fighters died that day--but the elders and kids were protected from an
enemy that has a long, long history of killing our helpless ones. The
agents who attacked the peaceful encampment had volunteered to trespass
on Lakota land bearing arms and like Custer they died fighting.  The
detailed description of their deaths is unimportant when looked at in
the light of FBI/GOON "Reign of Terror" the Oglala people were enduring
at that time. The real reason it has been brought up is to give the
wasicu an argument to keep Leonard Peltier in a cage. The way the agents
died certainly had no bearing on the death of Anna Mae--it was placed on
the record for other purposes.

    Like Bob, I was in prison when Anna was killed and her body found.
The FBI came to Terre Haute Federal pen, where I was being held, and
asked to speak to me about her. I told them I would break my
long-standing rule of never talking to a cop and tell them who the
killer was if they would go bust them, as they leaned forward, pencils
in hand, I told them an FBI agent named David Price was responsible for
her death. At that time I knew the name of his partner in crime and I
named him too. I also requested as a citizen that they go arrest them
immediately or that they free me to go make a citizens arrest. Instead
they closed their notebooks and left, so those particular killers have
been loose all this time. Only an independent U.N. investigation of the
"Reign of Terror" will ever see them indicted and that is exactly what I
think we need. All of us should join to demand a full investigation of
the "Reign of Terror" and the murder of over sixty Indian people by the
FBI and their allies. Anna Mae's death would play an important part in
that investigation and its findings would be much more credible than
what is going on in ndn country right now. I just witnessed a trial of
an Lakota man accused of killing Anna Mae Aquash in which the on! ly
defense witness called was Anna Mae's nemesis... FBI Agent David Price
     When we had the Peltier month demonstration in Washington D.C., I
had the occasion to meet with Anna Mae's niece who was very much
involved in seeking justice for her relative Anna Mae Aquash. To me it
was the most honorable thing to do without helping the Americans in
their anti-Peltier witch hunt. Along with me were Edgar Bear Runner and
Russell Loudhawk from Pine Ridge who were key players in the fight at
Jumping Bull's and friends of Anna Mae's. None of us had any new or
pertinent knowledge of what happened to Anna Mae but all three of us
wanted to offer our condolences and tell the family what we knew. I told
her how, in Wounded Knee Anna's future husband Nogeshick came to me to
speak about a marriage ceremony, we had a nice talk and he took tobacco
to Wallace Black Elk to request him to marry them. Wallace asked me to
assist and he performed a marriage ceremony for them. It was a very big
deal in our small community for them to get married in a beautiful
ceremony in front of everybody in the Wounded Knee Trading Post. I was
proud when the women of Oklahoma AIM stepped forward and gave flesh
offerings on their behalf and I remember how good it was to see such a
thing at the birth of the Independent Oglala Nation. I also told her
niece that Anna Mae worked harmoniously with Theda Clark in the
encampment kitchen (and maybe at the office) during our trial at Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, where we heard of the Oglala shoot out. At least to me
things seemed harmonious between them and everyone else in camp but I
was on trial and extremely busy so a dispute between them could have
happened and I didn't hear about it. At the time I remained the National
Chairman of AIM, Stan Holder was the Security Chief of Wounded Knee and
Leonard Crowdog was the principle Spiritual Leader of Wounded Knee and
AIM, we were being charged for our part at Wounded Knee as part of the
AIM leadership trials. At the time of the shootout we had already been
convicted but were still in camp pending sentencing and some legal
motions. A large bunch of those from the Lakota Nation were there
supporting Chief Crowdog, and a lot of Oklahoma AIM people who came for
Stan and me made up the encampment. As long time brothers in the
struggle Peltier and I had agreed to be in daily phone contact with each
other mainly because we recognized what a precarious position they were
in out at Jumping Bull's when a bunch of us were in Iowa. All the big
name AIM leaders had fled the rez and Leonard's encampment was a sore in
the side of the FBI and their GOONs. Upon hearing the news about the FBI
attack everyone broke camp and headed back to the rez and the rest is
history. I have no remembrance of John Graham but there were a lot of
young men and women in the encampment I don't remember by name.  At the
news of the shoot-out we turned our defense office into a center to call
elected officials, lawyers, and to attempt to have the FBI cordon lifted
and to make sure they knew the world was watching. Some cars and groups
left quickly and by the next day a caravan headed back to Rosebud. I
told her niece that Anna Mae proudly went to South Dakota to stand with
her people, we all did. Edgar Bear Runner and Russell Loudhawk both knew
Anna Mae and explained to her niece what they could, they also shared
fond remembrances they had of her and said how sorry we all were for her
passing. I acknowledged to her family that the death of Anna Mae is an
ugly blight on the legacy of the American Indian Movement. The meeting
was private and I only bring it up now because the pig has said we
didn't care about her.

     As part of that meeting I also told Anna Mae's niece how Peltier
and I, along with many of his supporters think the death of her Auntie
was being used by the FBI and others against the very people and ideals!
Anna Mae fought for and I said I thought the family was being exploited
by our enemies. After seeing the legal lynching of Arlo Looking Cloud I
know damn well the powerful allies of the FBI are seeing to it that a
book is closed in the Anna Mae case and it is used to its maximum
advantage against AIM and Leonard Peltier. The two major trials after
the incident at Oglala show what a difference having a strong defense
can be. Dino and Bob were acquitted because they were allowed to present
a vigorous defense that was denied to Leonard Peltier. The enemy had
learned its lesson and fixed the next trial to make sure Leonard was
convicted. What they did to convict Peltier is an open part of the legal
history of the cointelpro actions the nation's political police, the
FBI, took against all warriors who were subject to their attacks. It was
an act of revenge not justice according to every national and
international investigation that has been made except the one accepted
by the court. The ! falsified FBI investigation was given to the jury
and they denied Peltier the right to say he fought in self-defense. But
that is the crucial point. They caused the deaths of over sixty of us
Indians but say the way the two agents were killed is so germane to the
case that rumors and hearsay of it are admitted as evidence? How about
some evidence about who they were killing and who had been burned out of
their homes? When non-evidence that Kamook had heard a warrior brag he
had shot those agents, was admitted as real evidence, a hundred Lakota
and members of the Independent Oglala Nation should have been called as
rebuttal witnesses to show that the Nation was reacting in self-defense
when those wasicu soldiers attacked. They were killed in a battle they
provoked and they were fought in self-defense. Leonard Peltier was
denied the right to show self-defense in Montana 28 years ago and he was
denied it again last week in Rapid City, South Dakota.

    During that ! same month that we met with Anna Mae's niece Edgar,
Russell and I fasted in front of the White House on Thanksgiving Day.
Each of us held a poster of one of the sixty ndn victims. I held the
poster of my brother Buddy Lamont all that day. He was a vet and an
Oglala warrior who was killed by an FBI sniper in Wounded Knee. He was
also Kamook's beloved Uncle. On the day the FBI sniper shot him two
brothers from the S.L.A. risked their lives running from their bunker to
come inform me he had been hit. They guided me back to the place and we
tried repeatedly to crawl out to him but the enemy kept up a deadly hail
of bullets and we couldn't get to him. Buddy bled to death before we
finally reached him, it was my worst day in the Knee and I blame the FBI
for deliberately murdering him. Anna Mae's picture was carried that day
too as we mourned so many victims of the "Reign of Terror". Each and
every one of them deserves a full investigation and the outrage of the
people demanding justic! e. 

    Arlo Looking Cloud was lynched in Rapid City last week. His defense
lawyer acted on behalf of the FBI cover-up of Anna Mae's murder. This
convinced me that once again the enemy is using their old cointelpro
tactics against the Movement and have no intention of seeking justice
for any of the martyred people who died defending the people of Pine
Ridge and the Independent Oglala Nation. But the trial did bring out the
false statements that traitors like Paul Demain and the cop Robert
Ecoffey have been spreading about the death of Anna Mae. For several
years anti-ndn forces have spread lies on the internet beginning with
the lie that Arlo had immunity and was a snitch. If that were true it
would have been a factor in the trial. They have also spread the lie
that she was raped and that DNA would reveal who her rapist was, that
too turns out to be false. Or else the FBI withheld information and
evidence, it wouldn't be the first time. They have put out ! many false
stories in their efforts to smear AIM and keep Peltier in prison,
fantastic tales of large meetings of AIM leaders and lawyers who took
part in condemning Anna Mae, almost everyone associated with AIM and
WKLDOC have been smeared, but according to Arlo's interrogation tape
it's all bullshit and police finger-pointing. Either Arlo's taped
confession was false or all the people the FBI/Demains have been
accusing were not involved, Arlo said he didn't even know them.
According to the witnesses at Arlo's sham trial the only people
mentioned as participating were the close friends and relatives of Russ
Means, his cousins, brothers, sister-in-law and close friends were
running the office and owned the house she was alleged to have been
taken to, all were accused of being a part of her tribunal on that
fateful day. But none of them were even called and asked if it was true!
Means is screaming about not being "in the loop" about her murder and he
claims to want justice. He wants us to believe his closest associates
were involved but kept it all from him for all these years? One has to
wonder if he ever asked them if they ordered her killed at one of those
meetings brought up at Arlo's trial. If he did ask he should make their
answers public, if he did not all his screaming and finger-pointing
sounds false like just another in a long line of Means' publicity
stunts. It makes it look as if his pardon from the Indian-hating rapist
Janklow was a pay-off for his grand jury testimony. All I'm suggesting
is that Means go ask his folks what happened that day and respond to
what and who Candy Hamilton and the others said ran the WKLDOC offices
and houses where she was supposedly held captive. Again I'll repeat they
are likely innocent. Before I was imprisoned I help start WKLDOC and it
was a very busy and open place with law student volunteers and attorneys
galore. People slept on the floor and carried on working most of the
night. The diversity and impermanence ! of all of them makes holding a
woman there captive seem unlikely, so I'd at least like to hear from the
people in charge and everyone around at that time. Records were kept and
logs to keep track of the legal deadlines and the comings and goings of
personnel. Any decent defense would have subpoenaed the WKLDOC records
and questioned all concerned. In addition the office was kept under 24/7
surveillance by several state and local law enforcement departments.
Only the prosecution got to examine those records.

     Another falsehood at Arlo's trial was the claim that John Trudell
was an AIM leader in those days. In activist circles John was respected
for being at the Alcatraz take over, which was an inspiration to all of
us who were growing to an awareness that Indian people had to take
direct action to preserve our sovereignty and Treaty rights. Over the
years John would not join AIM and told me many times (down in Oklahoma
where we worked together) when I personally asked him to join us, that
he didn't want to be a part of AIM. I assumed that was why he was
another no-show at Wounded Knee like Vernon Bellecourt. However after
the Knee at the AIM national convention at White Oak, Oklahoma when I
was elected the National Chairman of AIM several of the west coast AIM
chapters said they wouldn't follow the "chickens of the Knee" as the
Bellecourts and Means were known then. They asked that someone from the
west coast that they trusted could be brought into the leadership as a
vice-chair so they would have someone to communicate with, since I had
worked with John and liked him we agreed that he would fill that
position. The fact that every one of the old leaders had been rejected
by the warriors of AIM rankled in their hearts and they developed quite
a hatred for all of us who were chosen to be the new leadership of AIM.
When the "incident" happened between Clyde and me some months later they
somehow convinced John that while I was in jail ! he should name himself
Chairman and immediately abolish the office. So he publicly said, "I'm
the new AIM Chair and I hereby abolish the office of Chairman"! So he
was a "leader" for two minutes? In truth John Trudell never was an AIM
leader and back then he never pretended to be, John never participated
in any of our fights and he just isn't the type to lead warriors. He's a
barefoot poet from Hollywood who makes music, nothing wrong with that
I'm a fan of his, but to think he was ever a leader is silly to those
who were there. It was sad to see John on the stand working for the pig
and testifying about something he knew nothing about, except rumors put
out by the same people (the FBI) that John claims burned his wife Tina
and their kids to death. How could a man do that? He and Kamook had no
evidence to present about Arlo and only talked about rumors they had
heard. His assertion, really his speculation, that the three people who
are accused of killing Anna Mae were following order! s and not
"decision makers" was allowed as evidence. How does he know? The FBI
used a black bag full of tactics for getting people to act on false
information as a part of their "bad jacketing" program. They were expert
at it and there is evidence they employed it against Anna Mae before her
death. I believe that may have been what she feared. At the time of Anna
Mae's death AIM was already fractured and in fragments but the FBI wants
us to believe we were some monolithic hierarchy making collective
decisions. Their scenario puts people conspiring together who didn't
trust each other. But John and Kamook were not there to convict Arlo,
they were there to smear AIM and Leonard Peltier and the men and women
who fought at Jumping Bulls. His Hollywood story of Anna's ring sounds
more like a script than the truth. Would a person in immediate danger
use the mail? Or was it a signal that what HE had ordered had been
carried out? Remember he claims to have been an AIM leader at the time.
No,! in reality I don't think he ordered her hit but if I were Arlo's
lawyer I would have asked, one Hollywood story is as good as the other.
No way in hell I would have ever guessed I would see my old friend John,
who shared my Sundance camp a few years ago, up on a witness stand
throwing out some blanket smear of everyone on behalf of the FBI. Can
John Trudell be true to his public persona as an Indian leader and get
on the stand for the FBI and give credence to their anti-AIM rumors? It
was a sickening performance.

     Most people who know anything about AIM know I have no feelings for
or connection to the Bellecourt brothers or the stupidity of their claim
to own AIM. When they were rejected by the vote of the people of AIM for
their continuing cowardice they quickly formed the phony "Grand
Governing Council" and made themselves its leaders.  I wrote an essay
last year called "Warrior Stories" (see below) that explains how they
and the other "chickens of the Knee" have falsely lived on the blood,
sweat and tears of real warriors while they made themselves rich. You
tell me if that's worse than leaving you tribe and going to Hollywood.
In fact most warriors see plenty of circumstantial evidence that one or
both of them worked directly for the police. Like, why were their
Wounded Knee charges dropped and how the hell did they get out of those
dope-selling charges when they were caught red-handed dealing drugs? All
of a sudden they're treating the leader of the most militant Indian
organization in the nation with leniency? So you all know I would in no
way try to protect them in the murder of a sister like Anna Mae who
worked directly with warriors I know and trust, like Peltier, Dino and
Bob. No way.  At the same time I will never work with or help the police
forces of the invader to convict any Indian, not even if they killed my
own relative. Because I know that there is no justice for Indian people
in America and India! n people can not receive a fair trial in South
Dakota period. I have watched them send too many innocent Indian people
to prison because they did the crime of being Indian and if they
happened to be proud Indians they were given longer sentences. In
America it's well known you get justice only if you have money. How much
more true is that for an Indian in South Dakota? And then factor in
their painting him as an AIM militant in Rapid City, South Dakota. The
prosecution was able to draw on 30 years of FBI and others police
actions against AIM and Indians in general. They brought in old retired
Agents who are part of the gang of Agents who take out full page
advertisements in major newspapers against Leonard Peltier. This is a
formal and organized gang of ex-FBI agents dedicated to keeping Leonard
Peltier in prison. Wasn't their affiliation and anti-AIM efforts worth
some examination? They even have a website. To the FBI this was a major
chance to attack AIM and get revenge for their ! failed attack at
Jumping Bulls and their 99% loss rate at the Wounded Knee trials. They
have been probing for a weakness and found it in our division over Anna
Mae so they have poured resources into it. They paid witnesses, paid for
three Grand Juries and (are still paying) for over 30 years of
investigations costing millions of dollars into their anti-AIM efforts.
Because AIM is no longer a factor nationally in Indian affairs they now
concentrate mostly on keeping Peltier in prison, they made that evident
through Kamooks testimony. I remember in every trial we won we put the
FBI and their tactics on trial too, we proved who the aggressor was, I
guess they learned from us because they put AIM and the Indian
resistance on trial. They used informants to name AIM and WKLDOC
committee members but those same witnesses were never called. Cleo,
Candy, Kamook, all of them named names. Were the Bellecourts giving
orders to Russ Mean's brothers, friends and cousins who were named as
being t! here when Anna Mae was taken to South Dakota as he(Means)
accuses? They are likely completely innocent all I'm saying is that they
have been pointed out because they allegedly ran the office. Are they
being smeared in this FBI net too? Unless there is a real trial we'll
never know. But I know one thing as I watch Vern and Clyde against
Russell Means in their twenty-five year old mudslinging contest... They
were comrades for many years and they know all about each other so when
Vernon squeals on Russ he is probably telling the truth and when Russ
squeals on Vernon and Clyde, he's telling the truth too. So if you want
to know the truth about Russ Means read what Vernon says and if you want
the truth about the Bellecourts listen to Russ.

  But there is another reason I hated to see the railroad job they did
on Arlo Looking Cloud. By railroading him and not calling the obvious
witnesses the true story of Anna Mae's killer will be covered up
forever. I am absolutely sure the FBI had a hand in her murder but
exactly what they did or how they did it is unclear and will remain
unclear if they are allowed to bury these two guys and claim they have
done their jobs. If Arlo could have had any kind of real defense the FBI
part of the murder could have been explored and if any AIM leader is on
their payroll that could have been discovered and who the real killers
are would have been known. By denying Arlo and later John Graham justice
the FBI was able to turn the trial into a complete whitewash of their
roll in the many murders of our people. They got to act as if the
FBI/GOON "Reign of Terror" never even happened! They got to pretend the
planned attack on the Jumping Bull compound never happen and that the
two agents were murdered in cold blood. The whole world knows that's a
lie. It should offend even close friends of Anna Mae's to see such a
kangaroo court being put out to the public as justice! In all my years
as an activist the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud w! as the very worst
miscarriage of justice I have seen. Leonard Peltiers trial was bad and
even when Stan, Crowdog and I were convicted the evidence was doctored
and I became the only AIM leader sent to prison for Wounded Knee 1973,
but Arlo was just flat out denied even the appearance of a trial and now
the wasicu judge won't let him be represented by competent legal help
for his appeal! This may be the only chance anyone has to see justice
done for Anna Mae but the FBI is being allowed to cover it all up. I
have no sympathy for him if he did kill her but there are way too many
questions that need to be answered before some dupe is sent away for
life and the FBI gets off scot free! His only defense witness was the
cop who cut off her hands for christ's sake! The only evidence was an
obviously coerced tape of a drugged up drunk being led into saying
whatever some long time police acquaintances of his told him to say. Did
it take Abe Alonzo and Robert Eccoffy thirty years of abusing ! him,
brainwashing him, or maybe buying him drugs and booze to get him to say
what he said? We all know addicts will say most anything for another
needle of smack or even for just another bottle of wine. Apparently he
had been talking to them for a long time, at least since before the
first Grand Jury, where were the tapes of all the other interrogations
he endured over the last thirty years? Did he deny it until they got
this one? Compare the tremendous governmental resources used against
Arlo and what his lawyer did to him. There were no discovery motions
made for him, there were no motions made to keep out the prejudicial
evidence and there damn sure was no effective cross examination of
prosecution witnesses. They were allowed to put AIM on trial and smear
Leonard Peltier with impunity. No mention was made of the over sixty
traditional Indian people murdered by the FBI/GOONs and the FBI
cointelpro war against Indian people was never even mentioned. We know
the FBI committed m! any crimes during their "Reign of Terror" and they
are directly responsible for many Lakota and AIM deaths. They may have
infiltrated AIM at the highest level and caused Anna Mae's murder but we
may never know because we allowed Arlo to be shafted by the enemy. Shame
on all of us. If our Movement was about anything it was about Justice
for our people and AIM from 1968 until 1973 led the way in that fight.
But justice for Indians in America is still a long struggle away and to
me Arlo Looking Clouds case proves it all the more. If he would have
been given an adequate defense I could perhaps understand how some
movement people can support bringing John Graham, the other man accused,
back to the U.S. But seeing what I saw it doesn't seem right. I thought
maybe Canadian courts might be better but friends say Indian get shafted
there too. The FBI has convinced some people to regard this as just
another murder trial, the jury, defense lawyer and Judge tried to
pretend it was but that obviously is not the case. How can there be
justice when a Lakota man stands defenseless in front of an all white
South Dakota jury, an AIM member painted with death of two FBI agents in
this age of terrorism? They allowed Kamook's statement about Peltier go
unchallenged. Kamook is only one woman saying she heard something but
several hundred have heard him deny it and they were not mad at an
ex-husband. Why weren't they, or Leonard himself, given a chance to
rebut her? Why not at least play a tape of Leonard defending himself in
prison interviews? The FBI version of the fight at Jumping Bulls and its
aftermath is not the only version and sure as hell isn't the true one.

   Leonard Peltier first called for Indians to seek their own justice in
the death of Anna Mae and now I see Robert Robideau also has called for
a tribunal of good and true AIM people to be convened. I join my two
brothers in that call and I will attend and testify to all I know if it
is convened. I admit that Bob, Norman Brown and Dino Butler know more
than me about Anna Mae and they were closer friends of hers. I don't
argue with their conclusions. I was an Oklahoma leader and we generally
kept our distance from the happenings up north, but like them I and my
Oklahoma AIM friends would like to know the truth about her death and
how the FBI engineered it. The AIM I knew, served, and loved, did not do
things like murder, we fought back when attacked and we resisted the
oppressors of our people but we did not kill our own. No AIM leader
could tell a warrior to go murder another Indian person even a snitch. I
know if I had told one of my Oklahoma AIM brothers or sisters to go kill
somebody they would have said, "You got a gun, kill them yourself."
Oklahoma AIM was a circle of concerned tribal people and our leaders
led, not ordered. Always it was the enemy and particularly the FBI who
committed mayhem and murder, they did drive-by shootings, set up GOON
roadblocks to catch and beat our traditional people and they paid people
to do these things. They subverted justice and corrupted the system in
order to win false convictions of any Indian who stood against them.
Anna Mae stood against them and spit in their face, for that they hated
her and wanted her dead. She was AIM and very proud of it. This is why I
will have to see real proof before I point my finger at anyone in AIM
for the death of Anna Mae, not rumors and accusations by running dogs or
finger-pointing by sick little ex-friends of Arlo's trying to make a
name for themselves. Therefore I will join Bob Robideau, Leonard Peltier
and members of the American Indian Movement whenever a tribunal is
convened to seek justice for Anna Mae. I hope Pine Ridge is chosen as
the site for the tribunal so all the families who suffered during the
FBI "Reign of Terror" can come seek justice for their loved ones.

   In the meantime I will continue to work to right the wrongs done to
Leonard Peltier and to try to win his freedom. I invite all of you to
join us once more and I urge you not to turn your back on our brother,
we can not leave him sitting unjustly in a cage any longer, it is time
to Free Peltier! Free him NOW!     

Carter Camp, Ponca, LPDC

War Stories and Wounded Knee 1973


Many of our people have forgotten the traditional way "War Stories" are
used and respected in the sacred ceremonies of the people of the
Sundance and Pipe, we who have always lived in the center of our turtle
island. Long ago our wise ancestors understood that a powerful moment in
time existed when a warrior performed a great deed and tested himself to
the ultimate. In english we call them war stories but in our own
languages the story and the person chosen to tell it have names with far
more meaning. War stories are actually "Warrior Stories" because they
are told individually by the warrior who is bringing his actions into
the circle. They are told in front of witnesses who can attest to their
truth because the story must exemplify the great virtues of a warrior...
honor, truth, courage, fortitude, strength and selflessness give the
'war story' a power that can serve the needs of the ceremony. War
stories were always brought out during the special dances and ceremoni!
es of our Clans, our Societies and our Sundance where they have a
special place and use. The leaders of the ceremony took particular care
in selecting the warrior chosen to stand up in front of all the Nation
and recite the actions he had taken on behalf of his people... a song is
made, every step, every gesture, and every word must be given as a
sacrament into the circle of the People. In a time without lies, a
Nations heart could swell with pride and power as he gifted his words to
them and a oneness could encircle them as he spoke. It could be the
leader of the battle or it could be a first time coup by a young warrior
on his initial experience but each war story was backed by the presence
of his comrades-in-arms, verified and strengthened by their assent,
their love and their respect. 

In modern times where war stories are told they are told by the veterans
of service in Americas wars, where our warriors were sent to fight on
foreign lands. We can still hear them with pride and in this way the
tradition lives on. It has been this way because it has been generations
since our warriors rose to fight an enemy while standing on the dust of
our ancestors. That last happened at Wounded Knee, in 1890. We lost that
day, our children were exposed to the ravening dogs, but even then
warriors stood up, men and women became spirits standing back to back in
defense of their generations... courage, fortitude, strength, honor
blessed the lands, given life as the eternal blood sacrament was given
freely to Mother Earth. And in the days that followed warriors fought
from a Stronghold to avenge their relatives as a mass grave held the
truth. New and glorious war stories were born among the carnage and
strongheart songs mingled with the wails of the mourning. A Nation !
lived on with the virtues given her by a hundred generations of warriors
and their stories, it took immense fortitude and courage to survive for
eighty-three years until warriors rose again, but the ceremonies
continued and the songs of those days were sung. 

In 1973 another battle happened on sacred lands along the Wounded Knee
creek. Once again warriors were forced to rise up in defense of their
people and stand on hollowed ground and fight. Once again warriors blood
was sacrificed and lives were freely given to revive the heartbeat of a
Nation, brave deeds and selfless actions became the measure of a society
called the "Independent Oglala Nation". To the people there it was
called "the Knee" and two thousand and more, women and men, stood back
to back with honor, with courage and fortitude once more in red hearts.
Eagle feathers were earned there and an amazing number of worthy actions
were taken daily for seventy-three days in 1973. A community was born to
live once more a traditional way of the circle of our grandfathers.
Powerful medicine men and elders guided our paths as "Warrior Stories"
were once again gifted to the circle in the old way as honor and truth
were revived to bring power in Inipi, Yuwipi and Ghost Dan! ce. 

Led by Viet Nam vets like Stan Holder, Craig Camp, Russ Redner, Buddy
Lamont, Luke Tenfingers... Rich,Tiger, Lance, Angel and a hundred
others, warriors from sixteen to sixty yrs old formed an encircling wall
of protection around our lands and dared any invader to enter. Each of
the Oyate inside the circle preformed warrior duties too and each faced
the danger as one, cooks were shot by the wasicu as were the veterans in
the bunkers, medics were sniped while bandaging wounded and even our
mailman was attacked while delivering mail... his war story added to the
whole. Wounded Knee was a community of warriors empowered by stories
held in the land since 1890, warriors of many Nations united by the
selfless actions of their comrades-in-arms fighting by their side. 

But traditional, true, honorable "War Stories" are no longer told about
the last great battle at Wounded Knee in 1973. For the first time in the
history of our Societies honorable and truthful warriors have put away
their braveheart stories and the songs of their deeds are silent. This
has happened because for the first time in the memory of all the Red
generations past, the leaders of the battle ran away and left their
community while under attack. Because they were self-chosen leaders they
had not been tested. They lacked the virtues of a warrior, their honor
was locked in the wasicu cities and jails they came from and they could
not rise above it. To the warriors they left inside they were called
"the chickens of the knee" in jest and much worse in earnest. We
listened to stories of Russ Means enjoying the fruits of his celebrity
while drinking and partying down in Oklahoma where I'm from and ending
up being busted out in California after one of his notorious mega-s!
ized parties out there. Since 1973 he has renewed his betrayals of the
principles of AIM each decade without stop. Recently he betrayed every
warrior of AIM when he knelt before the subhuman Janklow to beg a
pardon! Yes, the same Janklow who brags about personally keeping Leonard
Peltier in a cage, Janklow, the rapist of Jancita Eagledeer and the
thief of Lakota lands in South Dakota. 

None of the ION warriors really noticed when Clyde Bellecourt slinked
out of the Knee, he wouldn't carry a gun and we never saw him outside
his warm trailer anyway, but we did notice when he began frantically
fundraising in our name while we had no ammo to fight with or tobacco to
smoke, or food for the kids. For security purposes Clyde and his crew
had not been told we were liberating the Knee that first night, so he
was very surprised to end up there in a caravan he thought was going to
a powwow! The warriors had a good laugh when we noticed he had his own
cameraman in tow. Even the cops knew he was worthless, all his charges
were dropped as real warriors went to prison. Vernon Bellecourt refused
to even consider sacrificing his luxury and comfort to come fight
alongside us, he was "Mr.Vernon" the hairdresser to AIM warriors, he did
fundraising for Clyde and hung around the leadership but he was more a
joke than a leader. We heard about it when he went to the French !
Riviera during a blizzard in the Knee and we joked about the hash-hish
we knew he was enjoying over there on our money. AIM died long before he
claimed to be a warrior, after the rest of us were in jail or being
chased throughout ndn country he stepped out of his closet into the
limelight. Vernon never set foot inside Wounded Knee in 1973 but to his
eternal shame in ndn country, he stands-up when ION veterans are honored
as if he were a veteran of our Nation. How low will a man crawl for

The Independent Oglala Nation didn't miss them when they left, others
were already doing the work of the nation, fighting the battles,
supplying the needs of the people and protecting our elders and children
from the ravening wolves shooting at us from the hills. Each night pack
trains of supplies were carried in under fire by dedicated warriors,
timed to arrive at daybreak to feed the nation and gift their stories to
us, each day the warriors worked hard to strengthen their perimeter and
fortify their bunkers in preparation for the coming battles. Each day
the community lived the life of freedom they were fighting for and each
day we grew closer together in our ceremonies and sharing. Every day was
a war story and every warrior had stories to tell of honor, truth and
generosity, enough perhaps to help our people survive another
eighty-three years in ceremony and song. Despite those who ran, the
nation lived and the stories continued until peace was made by the
Oglala ! Council of the ION. 

AIM as an ndn society may have died there in those sacred ravines when
the leaders failed in dishonor, but the pride of a Red Nation was reborn
with the "Warrior Stories" we lived there among the spirits of those
murdered in 1890. AIM too became a spirit, it's blood drained into the
earth at Wounded Knee, but that spirit lives on just as the spirits of
Frank Clearwater and Buddy Lamont dwell today with the spirits of
Yellowbird, Bigfoot and the others who nourish that sacred ground. Today
every aspect of ndn country has been touched by the proud legacy of the
American Indian Movement and the warriors stand at Wounded Knee.
Sovereignty has a renewed meaning to friend and foe alike and all Indian
people are unified in its protection. During the brief life of AIM as a
warrior society, we blew on the dying embers of our traditional fires
and helped them flare back to life. 

I remember well the final week of Wounded Knee 73 after my brother Buddy
Lamont had been killed by a wasicu sniper. The Oglala Council had
decided to stand-down the armed struggle and to continue the fight for
their treaty rights in the wasicu courts. It was a hard decision for
them and a blow to the warriors' dreams, but it was their land and their
decision to make, so we prepared to obey. I began to have meetings with
the bunker leaders and squads, to plan for their evacuation and to send
them out with the best weapons. By the last four days, unknown to any
but the warriors involved, Wounded Knee lay almost unarmed and
unprotected by our veterans. In order to fool the wasicu gunners around
us and the government negotiators inside we devised a plan to have the
dozen or so warriors (who decided to stay for the funeral) work in the
open around the bunkers during daylight hours and we had people carrying
fake weapons and supplies from place to place to add to the confusi! on.
At night we had four lookouts stationed on the cardinal points and some
patrols, but most of the bunkers were empty and the way was open to the
invaders. Each minute I lived in fear that I had made a terrible mistake
and the ravening dogs would once more consume my helpless ones. 

As the night wore on I would make a patrol across ground I now knew like
an eagle knows his nest, alone I would creep out into the night and
stealthily enter a bunker in secret. Once inside I would light a
cigarette(I don't smoke) build a fire and turn on an old radio I had
stashed. I would talk and joke inside and walk around the top as if we
were reinforcing or changing the guard, after an half hour or so I would
sneak out into the night to repeat my performance at another empty
bunker on the other side of the Knee an hour later. In between, I would
walk around the village and visit the kitchens, laughing with the people
in the few places with light, to be seen before I ducked into another
ravine to begin my crawl once more. In those final dark and lonely
nights I had a lot of time to pray and cry for the end of our Tribe and
the final days of the Knee, it was hard because each empty bunker and
squad room I visited held reminders of the warrior stories that had been
! born there and the brave comrades who fought there. Sometimes I would
stand in a deserted bunker and loudly sing the AIM song or a Ponca
He'thuska warrior song and I would face the enemy with pride, anger and
defiance, but I knew we had to leave. Wounded Knee was over and all that
we had left was our "war stories" to tell in the old way and to give
away in the circle of our people. We never imagined that even our
traditional "War Stories" would be stolen and dishonored by old,
greed-driven AIM leaders, we never thought they would do the
unimaginable and claim a warriors honors when they earned none. In the
old way of the warrior an Akicita would strike them with their whips and
drive them crying from the circle. 

Now thirty years later some people are having an "anniversary"
celebration to honor the memory of Wounded Knee 1973 but it has to be a
non-ndn celebration like a rock concert because in another sad first for
ndn country the "chickens of the knee" are being "honored"! Honored? Not
really, I guess they are being "publicized" or something but it's not
honor in the way a true "war story" is an honor. Men without honor will
stand up and accept false honors that belong to others because for
thirty years the warriors of the ION have been silent. No media noticed
the warriors turn their backs on the cowards and leave AIM after the
Knee, but that is the traditional way we vote for our leaders, no press
conferences or tribunals just a traditional shunning. After the warriors
left AIM(the organization) it became a wasicu fundraising tool and they
used it to become very rich old men. Now Vernon will waddle out of his
mansion, squeeze into his cadillac with AIM-1 license tags, and ! show
up burdened by jewlery to look down on all us raggedy-ass ndn warriors
who fought at the Knee. Go look at him and see the truth of my words, he
has turned white in dishonor. For this reason, to protect the
traditional honor of the the "War Story" of Wounded Knee 1973 and the
ION, I rise to denounce those who falsely claim the honors of a warrior
of Wounded Knee and the Independant Oglala Nation. 

While this charade of fools goes on for them, this weekend another
occasion will happen to mark the founding of the ION and the liberation
of Wounded Knee in 1973. All around the Nation, a thousand warriors and
more will turn to face "the Knee" with their Pipe in their hands and
their traditional "Warrior Stories" held in their hearts, ready to gift
them to the sacred circle in the old way when the People call their
names. Me, I will take my Pipe down to Frank Clearwater's grave, (we
have him close to the Sundance grounds) put out a little tobacco and
tell my sons and nephews to sit down while I tell them a true story...
it happened back in 1973 my boys, and it was a hellofa fight.... 

Mitakuye Oyasin, I am Carter Camp, Ponca Nation, Founder Oklahoma AIM,
National Chairman AIM, Warrior Citizen of the Independent Oglala Nation.


For you, the brave warriors I served with in the Knee I offer you
another war story I wrote a few years ago... I hope it brings good
memories to you because it is a true and honorable story from a warrior
who lived it. 



Remembering Wounded Knee 1973 

Ah-ho My Relations, 

Today is heavy with prayer and reminisces for me.  Not only are those
who walk for the Yellowstone Buffalo reaching their destination, today
is the anniversary of the night when, at the direction of the Oglala
Chiefs, I went with a special squad of warriors to liberate Wounded Knee
in advance of the main AIM caravan. For security reasons the people had
been told everyone was going to a meeting/wacipi in Porcupine, the road
goes through Wounded Knee. When the People arrived at the Trading Post
we had already set up a perimeter, taken eleven hostages, run the B.I.A.
cops out of town, cut most phone lines, and began 73 days of the best,
most free time of my life. The honor of being chosen to go first still
lives strong in my heart. 

That night we had no idea what fate awaited us.  It was a cold night
with not much moonlight and I clearly remember the nervous anticipation
I felt as we drove the back-way from Oglala into Wounded Knee.  The
Chiefs had tasked me with a mission and we were sworn to succeed, of
that I was sure, but I couldn't help wondering if we were prepared.  The
FBI, BIA and Marshalls had fortified Pine Ridge with machine gun bunkers
and A.P.C.s with M-60's.  They had unleashed the goonsquad on the people
and a reign of terror had begun, we knew we had to fight but we could
not fight on wasicu terms.  We were lightly armed and dependent on the
weapons and ammo in the WK trading post, I worried that we would not get
to them before the shooting started. 

As we stared silently into the darkness driving into the hamlet I tried
to forsee what opposition we would encounter and how to neutralize it...
We were approaching a sacred place and each of us knew it.  We could
feel it deep inside.  As a warrior leading warriors I humbly prayed to
Wakonda for the lives of all and the wisdom to do things right.  Never
before or since have I offered my tobacco with such a plea or put on my
feathers with such purpose.  It was the birth of the Independent Oglala

Things went well for us that night, we accomplished our task without
loss of life. Then, in the cold darkness as we waited for Dennis and
Russ to bring in the caravan (or for the fight to start), I stood on the
bank of the shallow ravine where our people had been murdered by
Custers' 7th Cavalry.  There I prayed for the defenseless ones, torn
apart by Hotchkiss cannon and trampled under hooves of steel by drunken
wasicu.  I could feel the touch of their spirits as I eased quietly into
the gully and stood silently... waiting for my future, touching my past.

Finally, I bent over and picked a sprig of sage - whose ancestors in
1890 had been nourished by the blood of Red babies, ripped from their
mothers dying grasp and bayonetted by the evil ones - As I washed myself
with that sacred herb I became cold in my determination and cleansed of
fear.  I looked for Big Foot and YellowBird in the darkness and I said
aloud --- 

"We are back my relations, we are home".  Hoka-Hey 

Carter Camp- Ponca Nation AIM 




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