How many Americans are aware that a death squad, operating with funds provided by the U.S. Government and with active support from the FBI, murdered and maliciously wounded women and children inside and around their homes with implacable impunity??

Before there was Ruby Ridge, before there was Waco, there was wanton slaughter at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. During the years between 1973 and 1975, the Reservation endured over sixty unsolved murders and had the highest murder rate in the United States. Women and children were maliciously wounded and killed inside and around their homes.

Reference: Incident at Oglala  23:48 – 26:23 Minutes

The slaughter was committed by a death squad (called the GOON squad) that received funding indirectly from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The vast majority of the victims of the violence were members or relatives of members of AIM (American Indian Movement).

During the three year period from roughly mid-1973 through  mid-1976, at least 69 members and supporters of AIM died violently on Pine Ridge. Nearly 350 others suffered serious physical assaults, including gunshot wounds, stabbings, beatings administered with baseball bats and tire irons.

Reference:  Page 84


GOONs were responsible for the bulk of the AIM fatalities on Pine Ridge. In those cases where witnesses identified the murderers, the culprits invariably turned out to be known members of the reservation GOON squad. Yet, in most instances, no formal FBI investigation resulted.

Reference:  Page 86


AIM was founded in Minneapolis in 1968. AIM’s activism reached a climax on February 27, 1973 when approximately 200 AIM followers seized and took control of the town Wounded Knee, S.D. The protest ensued after the Oglala Sioux Civil Rights Organization failed to oust corrupt tribal leader Richard Wilson who doled out government money to GOON members and ran the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation as his personal fiefdom.

[I]t was just like a police state. Which is really what was behind the decision to make a last stand at Wounded Knee.

– Ramon Robideaux former S.D. Assistant  Attorney General

Reference:   31:00 – 31:23 Minutes


The GOON squad received intelligence reports regarding the whereabouts of AIM members from the FBI. Weapons and armor piercing ammunition were provided to the GOON death squad by the FBI.

References: 39:25 – 39:44 Minutes  Page 91

The pervasive tension and lingering fear of death that permeated the Reservation erupted into a firefight on June 26, 1975 during which two FBI agents and one Indian were killed.

After two Indians were acquitted of the murders of the FBI agents, the jury foreman, Robert Bolin, stated that the jurors, did not fear AIM members even though the FBI and U.S. Marshals tried to prejudice the jury against AIM, but rather it was the FBI and the U.S. Marshals that the jurors came to fear and that the jury believed it was the FBI that was responsible for the climate of fear and intimidation that culminated into a deadly shootout.

Reference: Incident at Oglala  49:22 – 50:23 Minutes

In April 1975, two months before the shootout, the FBI issued a memorandum stating that hardened bunkers had been identified on the Reservation and that armored personnel carriers would be required to assault the bunkers. After the firefight, an investigation spearheaded by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights determined that the “hardened bunkers” were nothing more than aged root cellars.

On February 24, 1976, eight months after the deadly shootout, the body of AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash Pictou was discovered by a rancher alongside a ditch in a remote section of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Aquash was with fellow AIM members at Wounded Knee. In a sworn affidavit Aquash claimed that in June 1975 FBI Agent David Price said he would see her dead within a year if she refused to cooperate.


Bureau of Indian Affairs pathologist, Dr. W. O. Brown declared that she had “died from exposure.” The FBI claimed that the body was so badly decomposed perforce her hands were severed and sent to a special lab for fingerprinting.  On March 2nd she was hastily buried in a pauper’s grave before any identification was made.


The next day, based upon fingerprint analysis, the FBI announced that the body was that of Anne Mae Aquash. The FBI told her family that she had “died from natural causes.”


On March 10, 1976, Aquash’s remains were exhumed due to relentless pressure from AIM and her family. AIM arranged for a second autopsy to be conducted by Dr. Garry Peterson, a pathologist from Minneapolis. Dr. Peterson readily determined she had been shot by a .32 caliber bullet on the left side at the back of her head thereby abrogating the death by exposure certification promulgated by government pathologist W.O. Brown.


Pictou family attorney Kenneth Tilsen disputes that the body was decomposed beyond recognition:


No one who knew Anna Mae failed to recognize her from  pictures taken at the second autopsy.



In the Spirit of Crazy Horse – Peter Matthiessen


In his expose Matthiessen wrote how Dr. Garry Peterson believed that a well – trained technician could have obtained fingerprints without having to sever the hands.


After the second autopsy was completed, South Dakota attorney Bruce Ellison demanded that Anna Mae’s hands be returned. Ellison claims that FBI Agent Wood flashed a grin exclaiming, “Oh you want her hands?” He then opened up the trunk of his car and handed Ellison a large open-mouthed glass jar containing a pair of hands.



In the Spirit of Crazy Horse – Peter Matthiessen


FBI agents used the Anna Mae Aquash incident to terrify an Indian woman, Myrtle Poor Bear, into providing false testimony. According to Myrtle Poor Bear FBI agents first threatened to take her daughter away and then, after showing her pictures of Anna Mae’s severed hands, threatened:


If you don’t cooperate with us it’ll be worse for you. We’ll put you through a meat grinder and no one will ever know.


Reference: Incident at Oglala  52:52 – 53:33 Minutes

The tragic killing of Lavoy Finicum in Oregon last winter is a stark reminder of the deadly militarization of American law enforcement. Equally alarming is the government’s desire to seek revenge upon law-abiding citizens who attempt to prevent bloodshed in volatile circumstances by rounding them up under vague charges of conspiring to interfere with federal officers. If Loretta Lynch was Attorney General would Bo Gritz and Jack McLamb have been arrested at Ruby Ridge??

Mark Adams

Government Reform Project


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