Pilgrimage to Pine Ridge
Mission to Lewisburg
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No Parole Peltier Association
The Myth of Leonard Peltier
Brief Overview

(This is by no means a complete review.)

  • In the early 1970's, American Indian Movement (AIM) members had been engaged in conflicts between themselves (Traditionalists) and other Native Americans (Non-traditionalists) represented by Dick Wilson, President of the Pine Ridge Tribal Counsel. AIM believed that there was a deliberate campaign by the FBI, BIA, and Wilson to stop their activist activities on behalf of Native Americans. AIM members and supporters believed there was a two year "reign of terror" (beginning with the takeover of Wounded Knee to the Pine Ridge incident) which targeted Native American activists and resulted in the unsolved deaths of approximately 60 Native Americans.
  • Tensions during this period were very high on both sides. Ronald A. Williams
  • FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams, assigned to the Rapid City Resident Agency (RCRA) within the FBI's Minneapolis Division, entered the Jumping Bull Compound on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota shortly before 12 noon on June 26, 1975.
  • FBI agents are not required to have an arrest warrant physically in their possession but need only to have knowledge that a warrant exists. The FBI has statutory jurisdiction on Indian and other government-owned reservations and property. Jack R. Coler
  • Agents Coler and Williams, traveling in separate, unmarked, late model FBI vehicles were following up on information that a wanted Native American, Jimmy Eagle, was believed to have recently been at Pine Ridge driving a red vehicle. The Agents believed that they had spotted Jimmy Eagle and followed him onto the Jumping Bull property.
  • FBI employees and agents some distance away from Jumping Bull heard Agent Williams broadcast over the FBI radio that they were being fired upon from individuals in the vehicle they were following and elsewhere within the Jumping Bull Compound. Agent Williams's radio transmissions were brief, lasting approximately 10 minutes.
  • Subsequent crime scene investigation and autopsy results determined that the agents only returned limited fire and were injured as follows:
    • Agent Coler "may" have fired from his service revolver, but his bullet pouch (a small leather carrier worn on the belt) still contained its six original rounds, he did fire one shot from a 12-gauge shotgun and one from a .308 rifle. He received an initial wound nearly severing his right arm, a wound to the top of his head, and a second to his jaw, both delivered at contact range with a high-powered rifle.
    • Agent Williams while calling for help on his radio, may have fired briefly from his service revolver and was wounded initially in his left arm, left side, and foot. A fatal shot fired at contact range went through his right hand and into his face.
    • Their vehicles received a total of 125 bullet holes, not counting those that either missed or went through the shattered windows and were not recovered.
  • A massive FBI investigation (RESMURS) (Reservation-Murders) was conducted which resulted in the indictments of Darrelle (Dino) Butler, Robert (Bob) Robideau, and Leonard Peltier for the murder of the two agents and aiding and abetting in those murders.
  • Butler and Robideau were arrested first. Peltier was arrested in Canada and eventually extradited to the U.S.
  • Butler and Robideau were tried before U.S. District Court Judge Edward McManus at a jury trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June and July, 1976, and were acquitted based on self-defense.
  • Peltier was tried before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Benson at a jury trial in Fargo, North Dakota in March and April, 1977, convicted, and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
  • In the Spirit of Crazy Horse ("Spirit"), (Viking Press, 1983 and subsequently by Penguin Books, 1992), by Peter Matthiessen is published. Two libel suits (brought by Governor Janklow and FBI Agent Price), upheld the right "to publish an entirely one-sided view of people and events," and clarified "the right of authors and journalists to quote sources on both sides of a dispute, however 'hostile' or 'disreputable' the sources may be." "Spirit" is based on numerous in-depth interviews with those involved in the AIM movement and the Pine Ridge shooting. The International Office of the Leonard Peltier Committee (LPDC) characterizes "Spirit" as "Immortalizing" Leonard Peltier.
  • Incident at Oglala ("Incident"), Carolco films, 1991, directed by Michael Apted, produced and narrated by Robert Redford, is a documentary of the conflicts between AIM and the FBI and the trials of Butler, Robideau and Peltier. The film portrays personal interviews of many of those involved in the Pine Ridge incident.

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