And now:Ish <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> writes:

A Badlands trail of secrets and murder 
The slaying of Canadian Anna Mae Aquash, 'Woman Warrior at Wounded Knee,' has 
confounded police for 23 years. But the mystery soon may be solved.
The Globe and Mail Saturday,
  August 7, 1999

Pine Ridge Reservation, S.D. -- When Anna Mae Aquash was buried, women from the Pine 
Ridge Reservation dug her grave themselves in the March cold.

Her body was wrapped in a traditional star quilt and a medicine man presided at the 
funeral. More than 100 people came in a snowfall to show their respect for the 
Canadian Micmac whose tombstone reads, "Woman Warrior at Wounded Knee."

Twenty-three years later, friends still leave remembrances at her grave: a broken 
cigarette to bring good will, a piece of sweetgrass, a turtle rattle.

Ms. Aquash grew up poor in Nova Scotia, but she became a powerful voice in the 
American Indian Movement.

She came to Pine Ridge to join the AIM protest at Wounded Knee in 1973, and stayed to 
fight for native rights on this struggling reservation in southwestern South Dakota.

Then, in June of 1975, tension on the reservation peaked after two federal agents came 
to the town of Oglala to investigate a pair of stolen cowboy boots. They and one AIM 
member died in a gunfight.

By late summer, the AIM leaders Ms. Aquash knew best were on the run. And the U.S. 
Federal Bureau of Investigation was hunting her, intent on finding witnesses to the 

Backed by the federal government, tribal council chairman Richard Wilson had his 
private police force prowling the reservation openly at war with anyone connected to 

Worst of all, people within the movement were whispering questions about Ms. Aquash's 
loyalty. Some said she was a snitch.

Back in Shubenacadie, N.S., her eldest sister, Rebecca, begged her to come home. But, 
frightened as she was, she refused to leave. Her friends said she had started 
predicting her own death. In her last letter to Rebecca that fall, she wrote: "I know 
that sooner or later I'm going to be killed."

During the months after the June killings, she tried to keep a low profile, but she 
was arrested twice. She was quickly released on bail -- fuelling the rumours about her 
being an informant. In November, she fled to Denver to hide out at a friend's house.

Three months later, on Feb. 24, 1976, Anna Mae Aquash's body was found at the bottom 
of a ravine, near a desolate reservation highway on the edge of the Badlands of South 
Dakota. She had been shot, execution-style, with the muzzle of the gun pressed into 
the back of her neck.

No one has ever been charged with her killing. After a botched autopsy, the FBI 
investigation went nowhere. Grand juries heard testimony, but produced no indictments.

While her death made headlines in the United States, it was largely ignored in Canada, 
beyond a few calls for justice from the federal government and the odd query in the 
House of Commons.

But in the past few years, a new investigation has developed a shocking theory about 
how -- and why -- Ms. Aquash died. The trail has taken detectives from the reservation 
where she died in South Dakota to the house in Denver where she was hiding, to the 
doorstep of a native Canadian in Whitehorse who is thought to have information about 
the case and is being watched by the RCMP.

Investigators now believe that the people who shot Ms. Aquash came from within the 
very movement she left her family to join. They claim to be close to laying charges. 
Roger Amiotte found the rotting body of a woman on a mild February afternoon in 1976. 
He had gone out to sight a new fence line for his 1,215-hectare ranch on the Pine 
Ridge Reservation to stop his cattle from drifting across the highway.

The body lay at the bottom of a steep ravine, 30 metres from the road, in the path he 
had planned for his new fence. She was curled in the snow, as though she had fallen 

The woman was wearing blue jeans, sneakers and a burgundy jacket. She was lying on her 
side with her knees bent, near a curve in a dry creek bed. She had a turquoise 
bracelet on her left arm. Her hair covered her face, but she had been there long 
enough that her skin had turned grey and animals had eaten at her nose and right ear.

Mr. Amiotte never went close enough to touch her. He drove home and called the police.

Two decades of wind and rain have changed the Badlands, and Mr. Amiotte can no longer 
find the exact spot. He has taken so many police investigators and reporters out to 
the site that the story bores him.

He sat cross-legged in the wheat grass a safe distance from the cliff, dribbled a line 
of tobacco into a sheet of rolling paper and waited to give the same answers to the 
same old questions. "It don't take long to see a dead body," he drawled. "But you sure 
ain't expecting it. A dead cow, you can kind of see."

The day after Mr. Amiotte's discovery, pathologist W. O. Brown conducted an autopsy 
for the FBI, which is responsible for investigating all suspicious deaths on U.S. 

He concluded that the woman, whom no one could identify, had died of exposure seven to 
10 days earlier.

There were no signs of a violent death, he wrote in his report. Most remarkably, he 
noted that her scalp and skull appeared normal, that there was nothing unusual about 
her brain.

Her hands were cut off and sent to the bureau's lab in Washington to see if the 
fingerprints turned up a match.

On March 2, the woman was buried in a pauper's grave in a Roman Catholic cemetery. The 
next day, thanks to the fingerprints, she was identified as 30-year-old Anna Mae 

Her friends and family immediately started asking questions.

Nothing made sense.

Ms. Aquash would never have travelled into the Badlands alone, they said.

And if she had, she had lived in the cold long enough to survive bad weather. There 
was no alcohol or drugs in her system to explain how she could have died of exposure.

And how was it that no one recognized her at the hospital, when one of the FBI agents 
who saw her body had questioned her only a few months before?

Rumours of an FBI cover-up mushroomed at Pine Ridge.

Few people believed the argument that Ms. Aquash had gone unidentified because of 
decomposition, and there was talk that federal agents had killed the AIM activist to 
set an example, then chopped off her hands to scare others.

Others -- including the FBI -- spoke of another motive, suggesting that she may have 
been killed by AIM supporters because of suspicions that she had snitched to federal 

Her family pushed for an exhumation and on March 11, a second autopsy was performed by 
Dr. Gary Peterson, an independent pathologist.

It took minutes for him to discover a .32-calibre bullet lodged in her left cheekbone. 
The bullet had tracked through her brain and lodged in her cheek.

It seemed incredible that it had been missed; hospital staff told the FBI that they 
had noticed dried blood on the back of Ms. Aquash's neck and even felt a wound when 
she was brought in by the ambulance. They assumed that the coroner would find it. Dr. 
Brown said later that he had "inadvertently overlooked" the bullet wound.<<end excerpt
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           Tsonkwadiyonrat (We are ONE Spirit)
                      Unenh onhwa' Awayaton
            UPDATES: CAMP JUSTICE    

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