December 6, 1999

Senator Orrin Hatch
131 Russell Senate Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Hatch,

In the interest of justice, human rights, and fairness, we respectfully request that you and your office support our request that the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate hold hearings on the Oglala Lakota Nation's Reservation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota. We request the appointment of a Special Investigator to investigate, not only the recent deaths of Indian people in Rapid City and Mobridge, South Dakota, and in White Clay, Nebraska, but the many unsolved deaths that occurred on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the violent and turbulent 1970's that took place during and after the armed confrontation between Indian people and U.S. Government forces at Wounded Knee in 1973.

Attached to this letter is a sampling of the first of 17,722 pages of FBI, CIA, White House, and other U.S. Government documents declassified under the Freedom of Information Act. Another 6,000-plus pages have been withdrawn from various U.S. Government files and placed under a National Security cover following hearings before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act, and other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate Ninety Fourth Congress, Second Session, April 6, 1976.

Only one witness was called. That witness was Douglas Frank Durham, an exposed FBI agent operative, one of several uncovered by the American Indian Movement Council on Security & Intelligence. Many others are yet to be exposed, some, no doubt, are still operating undercover.

This Committee on the Judiciary of the United States now must investigate what role the FBI and their extremist agent/informants, and other U.S. Government agencies played during the reign of terror in 1973 and thereafter in South Dakota. The families of the victims have waited long enough, such as the families of Anita Wilcox, Jeanette Bissonette, Pedro Bissonette, Byron DeSersa, Anna Mae Aquash, Jancita Eagle Deer, Frank Clearwater, and Buddy Lamont who was a Vietnam Veteran murdered by FBI snipers at Wounded Knee, 1973. There are dozens of other uninvestigated and unsolved murders of Indian people that took place during this time that need to be investigated as well.

Moreover, the Committee on Judiciary must include, in its investigation, the shoot out on June 26, 1975 at the Jumping Bull residence on the Pine Ridge Reservation which claimed the lives of Joseph Stuntz and FBI Agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler, in what appears to have been a botched FBI operation due to the actions of their extremist agent informants. Additionally, the Committee must review the Justice Department's prosecution of Leonard Peltier who is still in federal prison after 23 years.


Vernon Bellecourt
National Representative of the
American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council

cc: President William J. Clinton
Senator Ben Night Horse Campbell, Chairman of Senate Indian Affairs
Senator Paul Wellstone
Senator Orrin Hatch
The Honorable Elsie Meeks, Commission Member, U.S. Commission on Human Rights
President Harold D. Salway, Oglala Lakota Nation
The Honorable Mary Francis Berry, Chairperson U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
The Honorable Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States
Senator Patrick J. Leahy
Senator Tom Daschle
Senator Tim Johnson

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