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Lakota Oyate Information in Germany: http://www.lakotaoyateinfo.keepfree.de/
Feds to re-examine Pine Ridge cases
Crime/Justice – Criminal Cases
By Kristi Eaton
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) June 2012
By Kristi Eaton
Sioux Falls, South Dakota (AP) June 2012
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota will re-examine a list of nearly 40 deaths that Oglala Sioux tribal officials say were insufficiently prosecuted or investigated, U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson said.
Johnson’s statements came after Oglala Sioux Vice President Tom Poor Bear and council judiciary committee chairman James Toby Big Boy sent a list of 39 specific deaths on or near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The two men believe the cases should be reopened or reinvestigated. They had earlier sent a letter to Johnson but had not included the list of names.
“We’ve got the list now. I’m grateful to have the list,” Johnson told the AP. “We’ll go through those cases. If there are cases we can prosecute, we certainly will. Even if the case is 30 years old, if we get the information necessary, we will prosecute.”
However, Johnson said it would be challenging to gain enough new information to prosecute cases that are several decades old.
In response to a similar tribal request, the FBI issued a report in 2000 detailing its investigations into the deaths of 57 people during a violent period of the 1970s, when the reservation’s murder rate was the highest in the nation and tensions peaked between the American Indian Movement and the FBI. AIM activists and their supporters took over the village of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation for 71 days to protest the treatment of American Indians.
The FBI in its 2000 report determined it was right to close the cases, even when deaths were deemed unnatural and no one was prosecuted.
The report didn’t satisfy some tribal members, who believe many of the FBI investigations were inadequate. The newly compiled list includes names and outcomes from the 2000 report that tribal leaders say are questionable.
“When you take a close look at it, some of the conclusions are quite preposterous in my point of view,” said Lisa Shellenberger, a Colorado-based attorney working with the Oglala Sioux.
In addition to names from the 1970s, the list includes three names from the 1990s, including Poor Bear’s brother, Wilson Black Elk, and cousin, Ron Hard Heart. Their bodies were found in 1999 on reservation land, just across the border from Whiteclay, Neb.
“My lack of trust in the FBI, I would like to see a special team of investigators other than the FBI come down and investigate these deaths,” Poor Bear told the AP last week.
FBI special agent Greg Boosalis said the agency is still looking into the deaths of Black Elk and Hard Heart. He said he could not comment on an outside agency conducting investigations.
While many of the cases have been closed by the FBI, Boosalis said any new information that comes forward could change that.
“Obviously, if we have new information any of the closed files would be reopened,” he said.
The 39 deaths are those the tribe deems most questionable.
Last month, Johnson said in an interview with the AP that he and other federal officials are dedicated to prosecuting cases with enough information – even decades later.
“Whenever we have a case that we believe we can pursue and prosecute, we’re going to do it. It doesn’t matter if it’s 20 years,
30 years old, we’re going to do that,” Johnson said last month. He cited the prosecution of John Graham and Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud in the 1975 killing of American Indian Movement activist Annie Mae Aquash as a sign that federal officials are dedicated to prosecuting cold cases when enough evidence is uncovered.
Looking Cloud was federally convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder in Aquash’s shooting death. Graham was convicted in state court in 2010.
List of deaths deemed suspicious by Oglala Sioux
Following is a list of people whose deaths are considered suspicious by Oglala Sioux tribal officials. The tribe asked federal authorities on May 24 to reopen investigations into the cases. The names, dates of deaths and locations listed below were provided to the AP by a lawyer working with the tribe. Names marked with an asterisk indicate that someone was charged in connection with the case, but tribal officials believe the suspect was “inadequately charged” or received “insufficient sentences,” according to the documents.
–Buddy Lamont (aka Lawrence Dean Lamont). Died April 27, 1973 in Wounded Knee, S.D…..(murdered, shot by Dennis Banks at WK witnesses reveal, because media attention was waning.) LBW
–Clarence Cross. Died July 11, 1973 near Batesland, S.D.
–Jackson Washington Cutt. Died July 11, 1973 in Parmalee, S.D.
–Priscilla White Plume. Date of death unknown; body was found July 14, 1973 near Manderson, S.D.
–Melvin Spider. Died Sept. 21, 1973 between Porcupine and Sharp’s Corner on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
–Pedro Bissonette. Died Oct. 17, 1973 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
–Allison Fast Horse. Died Nov. 23, 1973 in Oglala, S.D.
–Robert Reddy. Date of death unknown; body was found Dec. 16, 1974 near Kyle, S.D.
–Jeanette Bissonette. Died March 26, 1975 eight miles north of Pine Ridge, S.D.
–Hilda R. Good Buffalo. Date of death unknown; body was found April 4, 1975 in Pine Ridge, S.D.
–Ben Sitting Up. Died in May 1975. Place of death unknown, but rumored to be in Wanblee, S.D.
–Joseph Stuntz Killsright (aka Joseph Bedell Stuntz). Died June 26, 1975 on Jumping Bull property in South Dakota.
–Andrew Paul Stewart. Died July 26, 1975 on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
–Cleveland Reddest. Died March 26, 1976 18 miles east of Kyle, S.D.
–Richynda Roubideax. Died Sept. 27, 1997, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
–Wilson Black Elk. Died June 8, 1999 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Whiteclay, Neb.
–Ronald Hard Heart. Died June 8, 1999, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near Whiteclay, Neb.
–Delphine Crow Dog. Died Dec. 6, 1972 on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
–Frank Clearwater. Died April 25, 1973 in Wounded Knee, S.D.
–Edward Means Jr. Died Jan. 7, 1974 in Pine Ridge, S.D.
–Roxeine Roark. Died April 19, 1974 in Porcupine, S.D.
–Elaine Wagner. Died Nov. 30, 1974 in Pine Ridge, S.D.
–John S. Moore. Died Dec. 2, 1974, in Lincoln, Neb.
–James Briggs Yellow. Died July 12, 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
–Lydla Cut Grass. Died Jan. 5, 1976 in Wounded Knee, S.D.
–Lena R. Slow Bear. Died Feb. 2, 1976 in Pine Ridge, S.D.
–Julia Pretty Hips. Died May 9, 1976 in Pine Ridge, S.D.
–Betty Means. Died July 3, 1976 in Pine Ridge, S.D.
–Raymond Yellow Thunder. Died Feb. 13, 1972 in Gordon, Neb.(asterisk)
–Phillip Little Crow. Died Nov. 14, 1973. Place of death unknown.(asterisk)
–Allison Fast Horse. Died Nov. 23, 1973 in Oglala, S.D.(asterisk)
–Leon L. Swift Bird. Died Jan. 5, 1975 in Pine Ridge, S.D.(asterisk)
–Stacy Cotter. Died March 20 or 21, 1975 in Manderson, S.D.(asterisk)
–Leah Spotted Elk. Died June 15, 1975 in Manderson, S.D.(asterisk)
–Howard Blue Bird. Died Sept. 4, 1975 in Wolf Creek, S.D.(asterisk)
–James Little. Died Sept. 10, 1975 in Oglala, S.D.(asterisk)
–Janice Black Bear. Died Oct. 26, 1975 in Manderson, S.D.(asterisk)
–Michelle Tobacco. Died Oct. 27, 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.(asterisk)
–Aloysius Long Soldier. Died Feb. 9, 1977. Place of death unknown.(asterisk)