by Ward Churchill
Yale Journal of Law and Liberation: Volume 3, Issue 1
In this essay, Churchill describes horrific details of 69 American Indian Movement members and sympathizers murdered on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the notorious "Reign of Terror" (mid 1973 - mid 1976). Many details are provided by an interview with the former GOON Squad leader, who was operating under orders of tribal president, Dick Wilson and materially supported by the FBI. This is a rare essay created to substantiate general notions of the extreme violence on the Pine Ridge Reservation between the time of the Wounded Knee Occupation and the incident which resulted in the conviction of Leonard Peltier.
"During the first half of the 1970s, the American Indian Movement (AIM) came to the forefront of a drive to realize the rights of treaty-guaranteed national sovereignty on behalf of North America's indigenous peoples. For the government and major corporate interests of the United States, this liberatory challenge represented a considerable threat. On the one hand, Indians possess clear legal and moral rights to the full exercise of self-determination; on the other hand, their reserved land base contains substantial quantities of critical mineral resources. More than half of all known "domestic" U.S. uranium reserves lie within the boundaries of present- day Indian reservations, as do as much as a quarter of the high grade low sulphur coal, a fifth of the oil and natural gas, and major deposits of copper and other metals.' Loss of internal colonial control over these items would confront U.S. elites with significant strategic and economic problems..."