From the NYTs.
By Chief Joseph Brings Plenty, a former chairman of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, teaches Lakota culture at the Takini School on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
Here are some links to articles on, and photos of, the 44th Annual Dakota Conference that was held this weekend at Augustana College. The theme was Wounded Knee 1973. Unsurprisingly, Russell Means’ comments and keynote address got the most coverage. The highlight for me was a panel on Native Women’s role in Wounded Knee, which included presentations by Professor Elizabeth Castle, Marcella Gilbert, and Danyelle Means. I also really enoyed a talk by Professor Emerita Elizabeth Cook-Lynn and a talk and poetry reading by Allison Hedge Coke and Renee Sans Souci. Finally, a panel discussion by Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt, and Senator James Abourezk was very illuminating, as was a talk by journalist Kevin McKiernan, who covered the occupation from the inside for NPR.
From the NYTs:
Harlington Wood Jr., a federal judge and former Justice Department official who was the government’s chief negotiator during the standoff with American Indian militants in South Dakota that became known as the siege of Wounded Knee, died Dec. 29 in Petersburg, Ill., near Springfield. He was 88.
The cause was complications of a stroke he had in 2002, said his wife, Cathryn.
It was in 1973 that Mr. Wood, then assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, found himself in the middle of a government face-off against a small band of its own citizens.
On Feb. 27, about 200 armed Indians, Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and members of an activist group, the American Indian Movement, took over the reservation hamlet of Wounded Knee, the site of a massacre in 1890 of 300 Sioux by American soldiers. Their idea was to draw attention to what they said was government mistreatment of Indians, corruption in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal government complicity in discrimination.
United States marshals and American troops surrounded the town, and for 10 weeks the two sides traded sporadic fire. Two occupying Indians were killed.
On March 13, Mr. Wood became the first government official to enter Wounded Knee without a military escort. He met with the dissident leaders for two hours and pledged to return with a government proposal for a peace agreement. Five days later, after a trip to Washington, he did, bringing a proposal that was spurned by the occupying Indians and symbolically burned in front of reporters.
That was his last attempt at a negotiation. He became ill shortly afterward — “He used to say he came down with the Sioux flu,” his wife said — and his role was taken up by others. But he was often given credit as the icebreaker; his wedge into the intractable hostilities led to the agreement to end the occupation, which was signed May 6.