Today marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most significant clashes between the U.S. government and American Indians this century — the 71-day siege of tiny hamlet of Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the site of an 1890 massacre of Indians by the U.S. Army.
The American Indian Movement (AIM), Chicanos, blacks and whites occupied Wounded Knee to protest the increasing number of murders of native Americans on the reservation, the rampant poverty, the corrupt tribal government, and the breaking of peace treaties by the U.S. government.
The next day, February 28, 1973, General Alexander Haig, then Vice Chief of Staff at the Pentagon, ordered US troops into action. It was the first instance since the US Civil War that the US Army had been dispatched in a domestic operation.
- Edgar Bear Runner, a traditional Lakota now living on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He participated the Wounded Knee events.
- Robert Quiver, the coordinator of this weekend’s 25th anniversary commemoration and the leader of the Lakota Student Alliance. He grew up on Pine Ridge and he is the son of AIM supporters. As a four-year-old, he participated in Wounded Knee.
- A 1975 audio montage documentary entitled “Why Wounded Knee” which includes voices from Wounded Knee as well as music, poetry and speeches. The program was produced in 1975 by Peggy Lee Berryhill and A.J. Fasanmi for Pacifica Radio KPFA in Berkeley, California.