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American Indian Movement

Pine Ridge

Wilson's tribal leadership at the Pine Ridge reservation was reportedly federally sanctioned and supported. Allegations arose at the trials of AIM members that goon squad members were paid with BIA monies and that many of the members were in fact off-duty BIA police. Several murders occurred on the reservation and were never fully investigated. For its part, the FBI maintained that it was an investigatory rather than enforcement agency, a position that further exacerbated the regional tension and fear.

In June 1975, two FBI agents in an unmarked car and clad in civilian clothes chased a pickup truck into an isolated area near an AIM encampment. During the resulting shootout, the two FBI

American Indian Movement members met with Kent Frizzell, assistant U.S. attorney general, in an April 5, 1973, ceremony ending the standoff at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Kneeling is Wallace Black Elk, immediately to his right are Russell Means and Dennis Banks (wearing headband).

agents were shot and killed, along with one Indian activist. Over the next several days, over 300 FBI agents swarmed the reservation, followed by officers making dozens of arrests and prosecutions. Ultimately, AIM activist Leonard Peltier was tried and convicted for his role in the FBI killings, receiving two life sentences. His trial and conviction remained shrouded with allegations of suppressed evidence, coerced witnesses, and a fabricated murder weapon.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Air weapon to Approximation of lawsAmerican Indian Movement - History, Alcatraz, Trail Of Broken Treaties, Wounded Knee, Pine Ridge, Later Years