Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lawyer for The American Indian Movement - Wounded Knee 1973

Mr. Lane represented the American Indian Movement at the historic Wounded Knee trial, which he won.  Following the trial, the United States District Court judge who had tried the case said, "Mark Lane is the finest investigative lawyer in America."The 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee of over 300 men, women and children was one of the most brutal acts of the U.S. government. Pine Ridge Reservation was created based on a treaty negotiated in response to the armed resistance of the tribe. Today there are families who trace their history back to the Wounded Knee massacre and to signers of the 1868 Fort Laramie Treaty. In 1973, many elders feared that their cultural traditions and religious ceremonies were quickly being lost. Hopelessness was growing out of the lack of leadership from the tribal council, as well as a series of incidents including the killing by police of an Indian youth in the reservation border town of Custer. Continued collaboration by the tribal leaders with anti- Indian policies of the federal government led to the occupation of the Wounded Knee hamlet, the site of the 1890 massacre. Oglala Sioux Tribe members and leaders of AIM undertook an action to dramatize the conditions on Pine Ridge Reservation. As a result, the world's attention became focused on the racism faced by Indians on reservations and in the cities, too. The occupation became a 71-day struggle between activists and armed FBI agents and the National Guard. Those occupying believed the conditions were so drastic that they had to take a stand. Many expected to be killed - like their ancestors in 1890 - and two did die.

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