For Release: December 6, 1999, 10:00 A.M.
Mount Rushmore Convention Center
Rapid City, South Dakota
At Hearings of the United States Civil Rights Commission

American Indian Movement
Grand Governing Council
Press Contacts
Clyde Bellecourt, Chairman of the Board
office   612. 724.3129
cellular 612. 251.5836
Dennis Banks, National Field Director
office   218. 654.3060
cellular 218. 760.0295

P R E S S   C O N F E R E N C E

The American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council leadership issues this final statement on the eve of the closing days of the 20th Century. We issue this statement, not only in relationship to the death of Anna Mae Aquash, but also in relationship to the violent deaths of Vietnam Veteran Buddy Lamont and Frank Clearwater. These two Native men were murdered by FBI snipers at Wounded Knee on the Oglala Lakota Nation at Pine Ridge, South Dakota in 1973.

To our friends, to our supporters, to our relatives throughout this hemisphere, and throughout the world, we condemn the actions of a former personality in the American Indian Movement, Russell Means. We condemn the actions of Robert Branscombe, and academic literary and Indian fraud, Ward Churchill (who is to Russell Means what Edgar Bergen is to Charlie McCarthy) in the attack on us at the press conferences held on September 16th in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and again at the Federal Building near FBI headquarters in Denver, Colorado, on November 3rd, and again on November 17th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where Russell Means made the same unsubstantiated accusations to a federal grand jury and to the media.

Their actions can best be described as reckless, defamatory, slanderous and libelous. At this very moment we are assembling a legal team in Denver, Colorado to file a defamation lawsuit against Branscombe, Means, and Churchill. Moreover, we see this attack on us as a continuation of the United States Government's FBI war against the American Indian Movement that had its origins in the Nixon White House. During the American Indian Movement's Trail of Broken Treaties March in 1972, along with Acting Director of the FBI, Mark Felt, Richard Held who was the architect of CoIntelPro, Norman A. Zigrossi and others launched a campaign to recruit "extremist informants" to infiltrate the American Indian Movement in order to misdirect, disrupt, demonize, and discredit the leadership of the American Indian Movement in order to neutralize AIM.

There is enough credible evidence to suggest that it was this covert FBI program utilizing these extremist informant agents that, in fact, created a climate of terror on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Nation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, that victimized not only Anna Mae Aquash but Pedro Bissonette, Byron DeSersa, Buddy Lamont, Anita Wilcox, Frank Clearwater, Jeannette Bissonette, and dozens of others who were murdered because of this FBI campaign of terror. Additionally, Joseph Kills Right Stuntz and FBI agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler were killed during the "shoot out" at the Jumping Bull residence on June 26, 1975 as a result of a botched FBI operation.

Our brother Leonard Peltier remains in prison after 23 years. Our investigations reveal that these extremist informants were on the periphery of both the Aquash and Jumping Bull killings. It is no coincidence that the Branscombe, Means, Churchill press conference was staged on November 3rd, the day that the campaign and vigil to free Leonard Peltier started in Lafayette Park in Washington DC. No doubt, this FBI program continues.

As is the case with Waco and Ruby Ridge, it appears that the FBI is totally discredited and cannot be trusted to investigate all of these murders and possibly their own culpability as to the abuse of power. Therefore, we are calling on Senator Ben (Night Horse) Campbell, Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the South Dakota Congressional delegation, as well as other congressional leaders, Attorney General Janet Reno, and the United States Civil Rights Commission who are currently holding hearings on the unsolved deaths of Indian people in Mobridge and Rapid City, South Dakota, and White Clay, Nebraska, to expand their inquiry into all the uninvestigated and unsolved murders on the Pine Ridge Oglala Nation during the 1970's and continuing today. Additionally, we request that they join us in demanding the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the Pine Ridge Reservation with the appointment of a Special Investigator.

We further demand that the press focus on this investigation and not on a so-called "division" within the American Indian Movement. The latter is a diversion in the cover up involving the death of Anna Mae Aquash. There has never been a division in the American Indian Movement, and there never will be. There is only the truth to be uncovered behind the actions of a few.

In the meantime, the leadership of the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council refuses to be distracted, and as we have done for 31 years, we continue to develop and operate programs in Minneapolis MN and nationwide that serves the needs of our people in the areas of health, housing, education, legal services, protection of sacred shrines and burial sites, prison programs, employment and job training centers, environmental issues, and racism in either sports and media, or wherever racism raises its ugly head. Representatives of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), the International Diplomatic Corp of the American Indian Movement, continues to represent the interest of Indian people at the United Nations, and all other international forums. We honor the memory of our ambassadors and relatives who dedicated their lives to this work, and have left us so soon; Greg Zephier, Ingrid Washinawatok, Phillip Deere, Bill Wahpepah.


United States War Against the American Indian Movement

Freedom of Information Declassified FBI and Nixon White House documents

Chronology of American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council Activities and Work, 1968-1999

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