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Anna Mae Aquash

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  • Anna Mae Aquash

    This is dedicated to the First Nations Warrior, Mother and Wife
    Anna Mae Aquash...
    Whose Hands The Colonizers Took

    "On the afternoon of February 24, 1976 Rodger Amiotte, a mixed blood rancher whose land was in the northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation...found the body of a woman in a snow-covered ditch one hundred feet from the country road. She was wrapped in a blanket. The woman wore a maroon windbreaker, jeans, and blue canvas shoes. She had long fingernails. Her hands were adorned with fancy turquoise jewelry, including rings and a large bracelet.
    "The body was taken to the Pine Ridge hospital, where Dr. W.O. Brown performed an autopsy in the presence of FBI agents. The doctor said the unidentified woman died of exposure. She had frozen to death. There was no sign of violence.

    "During the autopsy, an FBI agent asked Doctor Brown, "I need her hands. Sever them at the wrist, would ya, Doc?"

    "Over the next days, the government agents approached mortuary after mortuary, asking to have the handless body buried. According to one undertaker, the FBI agents wanted the woman buried under a fictitious name. 'Can't do it,' he said. 'You guys ought to know. That's illegal.'

    "...on March 3, the body was buried, nameless in the Holy Rosary Mission on the [Pine Ridge] reservation. That same day, the FBI notified its Rapid City office that the dead woman was Anna Mae Aquash."

    The Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee (WKLDOC) demanded a an exhumation and a second autopsy. However, before this could take place, "The FBI filed its own request for exhumation and reautopsy. The reasons its affidavit gave were that Anna Mae might have been killed in a hit-an-run accident or that she might have been murdered by AIM as a suspected informer...there was no explanation as to how a person who might have been a victim of a hit-and-run accident could have been thrown one hundred feet from the highway, display no sign of contact with a vehicle, and end up in a ditch, neatly wrapped in a blanket." The autopsy was scheduled for March 11, 1976.

    "Anna Mae's family, through WKLDOC attorney Ellison, hired Garry Peterson, an independent pathologist from St. Paul Hospital in Minnesota to observe. When he arrived, Dr. Peterson was the only Doctor there. The FBI had not bothered to have a pathologist at the autopsy it had requested. Peterson, who brought only the minimal equipment needed to observe, had to perform the procedure. It was not terribly complicated. An obvious bullet wound, surrounded by an even more obvious 5 cm x 5 cm discoloration, adorned the rear of Anna Mae's head, exactly where the hospital staff had seen the thawing body leak the week before. She died of exposure to a small-caliber bullet fired from a gun placed near the back of her head. She had been executed."

    Loud Hawk - The United States versus
    the American Indian Movement,
    Kenneth Stern,
    ISBN 0-8061-2587-X

    "My sister's murderer, or murderers, will probably never be found. I believe the person or persons responsible may be connected with the FBI, perhaps not directly but indirectly somehow. Anna died as a result of ignorance on the part of the killers: she was one person against many of them. Who could she have hurt? They say the FBI is the most powerful body in the United States. Nobody can get near it. How could she have hurt it?
    Anna was an educated person - a person with common sense. She worked for the American Indian Movement out of dedication, not for publicity or headlines. The real Indian people, those who are like her, should be controlling the movement.

    My sister's death has taught me to foretell the events that will take place in this country. I have learned - from all she told me - to see what is happening. The same things will happen here as have happened in the United States. This country will become another South Dakota.

    Mary Lafford...sister to Anna Mae

    __________________________________________________ __


  • #2
    March, 1976...Sioux elders say the winds always howl when the body of a murder victim is moved. During the traditional wake and funeral given Anna Mae Pictou Aquash the week-end of March 12, 1976, a storm peaked, sending 30-mile-per-hour winds blasting across the desolate fields and shaking the rickety Jumping Bull Hall where the wake was being held. The unseasonal thaw that three weeks before had led to the discovery of Anna Mae's body had given way to bitter cold. The corpse awaited its second burial bound in blankets and robes, resting on a log pole bier inside a canvas-covered teepee near the rickety building known as Jumping Bull Hall. Indian youths took axes to the government-supplied coffin and burned it in a bonfire outside.
    Above the funeral bier hung the AIM flag and a photocopy of a newspaper picture showing Anna Mae Pictou Aquash chained waist-to-waist with Kamook Banks after their arrest in Oregon. Sacred flags of yellow, black, white and red, representing the four winds, hung around the bier. On top of it were the presents of cigarettes, tobacco, beaded clothes and moccasins that Anna Mae would take to the other world.

    The suspicion remains that Anna Mae Pictou Aquash was killed by an AIM member, who was convinced she was an informer and murdered her in a desperate attempt to stem the flow of information to the FBI and protect the hunted leaders. There was no precedent for such treatment of informers in the organization, but according to one observer, "If ever there was to be a first, the time was ripe for it."

    "These white people think this country belongs to them - they don't realize that they are only in charge right
    now because there's more of them than there are of us. The whole country changed with only a handful of raggedly-*** pilgrims that came over here in the 1500s. And it can take a handful of raggedy-*** Indians to do the same, and I intend to be one of those raggedy-*** Indians." ...Anna Mae Pictou


    • #3
      Please take the time to visit a site showcasing the soon-to-be-published new work Who will unbraid her hair? by Antoinette Claypool. Some excerpts follow:

      "In autumn 1975 annie mae travelled to fort madison washington. there she joined dennis banks, his pregnant wife Kamook and their child, leonard peltier, russ redner and kenny loudhawk. maybe they were putting together an AIM action intended to force white american psyche into a remake. expose the flaws in manifesting destiny. demand the right to raise children in traditional ways. to speak their own language, to practice their religion freely without threat of arrest and loss of life. maybe the banks gang was planning a caravan across this country meant to coincide with bicentennial celebrations. the 1776-1976 gig. maybe the banks gang was interested in celebrating revolution, maybe interested in freedom.
      it ends up that america had other plans.
      "I knew and worked with anna mae back in 1975. when we both worked at the red school house in st. paul, minnesota. As i recall she was a very gentle woman, that worked with the young girls at the school, teaching them young woman things and cultural ways. The school was mostly ojibwe and Midewin oriented. She helped on sweats and ceremonies with young ladies. My daughters were involved with it. I don't hardly remember some of the things, there was so much activity in those days, always going places and protesting or whatever. I enjoyed working there and I learned a lot in those two years I worked there. I have been involved ever since in Indian affairs, but not political things" anymore."


      • #4
        :clap::Thumbs Very good post...... more people need to post things like this to remember are lost ones.....:) :clap: :Thumbs :24:
        "Suta Waci" Dance Hard..... dance for those who can't dance and the ones who danced before us...


        • #5
          thanx for the post melissa:) it made me think of how we should not forget the history of our people. my grandma knew anna mae, she always spoke good of her. indeed we lost a warrior.
          my prayers go out to her family right now.
          "You know, sometimes it's a good day to die, and sometimes it's a good day to dance."


          • #6
            Anna Mae Aquash was a strong beatiful woman, this unfortunate ordeal should've not happened to her or to her family, my prayers go out to the family that lost a dear mother, sister, niece, auntie, and friend. Justice has been brought to Anna Mae and her family and i pray everyday that they find some peace as well as Anna Mae. Rest in Peace Anna Mae Aquash!


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