Wounded Knee 1973: A Personal Account

Wounded Knee 1973: A Personal Account

Wounded Knee 1973: A Personal Account

Wounded Knee 1973: A Personal Account

Synopsis

Stanley Lyman, who was the Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973, gives an inside view of what happened when AIM (American Indian Movement) activists occupied the village of Wounded Knee. Photos. Map. Bibliography. Index.

Excerpt

On the twenty-seventh of February, 1973, Wounded Knee, South Dakota, a tiny village on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, was occupied by a militant group of American Indians who called themselves the American Indian Movement. That occupation lasted for several months during tortuous times of political upheaval in the United States. Even during the struggle over Watergate, the Wounded Knee occupation vied well in the national news for the attention of the American people. The continuing violence disrupted every aspect of life on the Pine Ridge Reservation and created bitter divisions among its people, the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Wounded Knee II was the culmination of a long and difficult period for American Indians, who were impatient with the lack of both economic and social progress. As part of that impatience and discontent, the American Indian Movement, or AIM, as it is commonly called, was organized in 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Dennis H. Banks and Clyde Bellecourt, both Chippewa Indians. By the time of the Wounded Knee occupation, AIM claimed 300,000 members in forty-three cities nationwide. Like Banks and Bellecourt, most of the AIM leaders, and many of its members as well, had lived the urban experience in America. Russell Means, who played the central role in the Wounded Knee upheaval, was raised in California. Though a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, his experience on the Pine Ridge Reservation was brief and recent. Many writers have assumed that the movement led by these powerful, charismatic young men in their thirties and early forties was copied from the student movement and black civil rights movements and as such was part of the general milieu of the political dislocation that attended the era of the Vietnam War. Certainly many of the . . .

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