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Old 06-29-2006, 06:16 AM   #1
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Mysteries of Pine Ridge

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FROM: _http://www.ottawasun.com/News/National/2006/06/27/1655384-sun.html_
(http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Nation...55384-sun.html)

Tue, June 27, 2006

Mysteries of Pine Ridge

By PETER WORTHINGTON, TORONTO SUN

(javascript:sendit();)
(http://www.ottawasun.com/News/Nation...f-1655384.html)
(http://rapids.canoe.ca/cgi-bin/reg/N...CE&LOOK=OTTSUN) (mailto:[email protected]) Thirty years after
her brutal murder in the Dakota Badlands, "justice" may finally be possible
for Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.
An intelligent, good-looking Nova Scotia Micmac activist for the American
Indian Movement (AIM), Anna Mae's murder has been an issue of mystery and
controversy ever since.
On June 13, Justice Minister Vic Toews ordered that John Boy Graham, a Yukon
Indian, be extradited to the United States, where he is charged with firing
the gun that killed Anna Mae at Christmas 1975, with her decomposing body
found in a gully two months later.
Graham is appealing the extradition.
A defence committee has been set up in his name (www.grahamdefense.org).

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In 2004, in Rapid City, S.D., a Lakota Indian, Arlo Looking Cloud, was
convicted of first-degree murder in the case and sentenced to life imprisonment.
He testified that John Boy was the one who pulled the trigger.
In that trial, it was claimed that Leonard Peltier, now 30 years in
Leavenworth prison for the murder of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reserve in
1975, gave orders that Anna Mae be "executed" as a suspect informer for the FBI.
A witness, Ka-Mook Nichols Banks, said she was with Leonard when he cocked
his thumb and finger like a gun, and said of one of the wounded FBI agents:
"The f---er was begging for his life but I shot him anyway."
Ka-Mook once shared a jail cell with Anna Mae and said Anna Mae feared
Leonard would kill her.
TESTIMONY DISPUTED
Ka-Mook's testimony was disputed because it turned out the FBI had paid her
$42,000 for "moving expenses."
Leonard adamantly denies these accusations.
According to Paul DeMain, founder of the respected News From Indian Country
(NFIC), who knows more than anyone about the case, Leonard and supporters want
John Boy's extradition and trial in hopes that the truth will finally come
out.
Until now, the Canadian government has dragged its feet on extraditing John
Boy -- in fact, for 30 years it's done little to get justice for Anna Mae.
Leading the campaign, which has become an international cause, has been
Denise Maloney Pictou, Anna Mae's daughter, who was 10 at the time of her
mother's death.
"It's been a long struggle, but it's a relief that we may finally learn why
and how my mother died," says Denise, who now heads the Indigenous Women for
Justice (IWJ), and was a powerful advocate at Arlo's trial.
She admits bitterness toward John Boy: "Over 30 years since my mother's
murder, he's not once even tried to get in touch with us, but claims to want
justice for Anna Mae -- he even changed the name of a camp he runs to my mother's
name, supposedly to honour her.
"I shall be at his trial, where his friends will depict him as a 'victim.' My
mother is the real victim, even Leonard has denounced him."
Denise sees the change of government in Ottawa as responsible for the
extradition: "I think they want the matter over with -- which would never happen
under the previous government.
"I think I have the tenacity that marked my mother's life -- believing in the
causes she supported, and never quitting."
When Anna Mae's body was first discovered, it was claimed she'd died from
exposure and she was buried as Jane Doe.
The FBI amputated her hands and sent them to Washington for fingerprints.
Anna Mae's family disputed her death, and an independent autopsy showed she'd
been shot by a small calibre pistol in the back of the head, the bullet
still lodged under her eye, and that she'd been raped -- none of which had
apparently been discovered.
Last year, Anna Mae's body was exhumed and reburied at her ancestral home
among the Micmac at Shubenacadie, N.S.
At Arlo's trial, it came out that Anna Mae had been kidnapped in Denver, and
driven across state lines (hence the FBI's involvement) to the Sioux
reservation at Pine Ridge.
Arlo and John Boy were depicted as young men eager to make a name for
themselves as "warriors" for AIM.
While it's unlikely that the FBI killed Anna Mae, it's feasible (even likely)
that when they couldn't persuade her to be an informer, the FBI planted
disinformation that she'd become one, thereby guaranteeing AIM would suspect
her.
Anna Mae was a colourful activist.
She joined the 71-day Indian standoff at Wounded Knee in 1973, and was the
lover of several AIM leaders.
She was a revolutionary and person of controversy within the Indian movement
-- intelligent, brave, exciting to be around.
I've visited Leonard Peltier three times in Leavenworth, and the deeper one
looks into his case, the more fragile the case against him becomes.
After 30 years, surely it is time to pardon, commute or suspend his sentence?

He's been a model prisoner, has various ailments, and has become a decent
artist and is a good man who inspires others.
FALSE EVIDENCE
But the FBI is adamant that he get nothing resembling mercy -- even though
evidence that convicted him has been proven false, perjured and fabricated.
As for John Boy, in an interview with the publication Indian Country Today,
he acknowledges driving Anna Mae from Denver to a "safe house" -- but denied
involvement in her death.
He says the FBI told him: "You give up the AIM leadership or you are going to
take all the charges."
John Boy has been free on $25,000 bail, which seems ludicrously low.
Now that Canada has ordered his extradition, he has 30 days to appeal, and
it's presumed he'll still be free on bail.
"This guy's a 'bush man,'" says DeMain. "There's no guarantee he won't simply
disappear into the bush, but that's a Canadian problem."
As for AIM, in the intervening years since the 1970s when the FBI branded it
as a subversive terrorist organization, its key figures have gone separate
ways.
There's been bickering and feuding and no longer is AIM seen as a threat to
national security.
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