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Who profits from the Murder of Anna Mae Aquash?

Statement by Tim Lame Woman

 
Tim Lame Woman is a leader of Montana AIM and a direct descendant of the great Northern Cheyenne leaders,Chief Little Wolf and Wild Hog.

I was a young man when I joined the American Indian Movement and, for the past thirty-years, I have been called a militant and a troublemaker for drawing attention to the injustices that continue to be heaped upon our people. I readily accept any insult that isthrown at me in the quest for justice for Indigenous people, but I will not accept being associated with the murderers of one of our sisters. Those who executed Anna Mae Aquash have no place within the American Indian Movement, and neither do those who conspired with them.

Those who executed Anna Mae Aquash have no place within the American Indian Movement, and neither do those who conspired with them.
By their cowardly and disgusting actions they threaten to subvert all of the good work we, the grassroots members of the American Indian Movement, have toiled for, and we should not allow this handful of individuals to tarnish all that we have achieved and continue to struggle for.

The murder of Anna Mae has dogged our Movement for over a quarter of a century. What started out as rumor has since been confirmed by the statements of Arlo Looking Cloud and others. Looking Cloud has admitted his participation several times, so let us not pretend that he is an innocent man who is being framed. There are those who have called for Anna Mae’s killers to face a traditional tribunal, but her murderers did not act in a traditional way, they kidnapped her, interrogated her and then executed her as if they were members of the Mafia, not AIM.

Had her killers had the slightest respect for traditional ways, they would have journeyed to her relatives and offered their prayers, offered restitution, and asked for forgiveness. They had over twenty-five years to do this, but instead they relied upon others who have also been implicated to issue denials and spread lies that have done nothing but increase the pain suffered by Anna Mae’s family.

It is not hard to predict what will happen next: in an attempt to deflect us from the real issue, namely the murder of a young Indian mother, there are those who will begin a witch-hunt to find “informers,” people who they will claim are out to destroy AIM. My brothers and sisters, I ask you not to fall for their divide and conquer tactics. They are simply trying to hide from what they did.

They accused Anna Mae of being an FBI informant and look what happened to her. Have they learned nothing? Let us not forget that Anna Mae’s daughters have said time and again that they want to see their mother’s killers tried in the criminal justice system, and I believe that the people who have had the courage to come forward are simply trying to honor Anna Mae’s spirit by aiding her daughters.

In the recent past, Russell Means openly testified at a Grand Jury and told prosecutors what he knew. John Trudell and others have given frank interviews to Canadian TV, laying out the truth, no matter how painful. This isn’t the FBI vs. AIM. The people who have answered questions in this case aren’t government agents out to destroy AIM, they are people who are trying to bring closure to an ugly chapter and in so doing, bring a cleansing to our Movement.

I live on a reservation and I see the problems our people face everyday. I do not live in a fancy house or in a big city. I do not have to wear ornate jewelry to look like an Indian, or give myself an “Indian name” to convince people of my heritage.

I am a Cheyenne Indian and proud of it. I have never supported my family by exploiting our people, or by accepting “honorariums” to speak about being an “AIM leader,” or by glad-handing dubious political or foreign leaders. I do my work here on reservations for the people, not for the cameras of the media, and so I don’t need to be told what it is to be an Indian.

What have we heard from some so-called AIM leaders? Nothing but denials and charges that anybody who speaks against them is an FBI or CIA agent. Who has really profited from the murder of Anna Mae? The same people who have profited from the deaths of the FBI agents and Joe Stuntz at Oglala, namely the non-Indian attorneys who have made their reputations on the back of our Movement and our struggles.

Would any of them have appeared in so many documentaries or contributed to movies without using us? They clambered upon our backs to become celebrities and it is time that we unsaddled them. It remains to be seen if they were also involved in Anna Mae’s death.

Brothers and sisters, I appeal to you to come together and allow this cancer that has eaten away at our Movement to be healed. You are the American Indian Movement; AIM does not belong to a handful of discredited “leaders,” murderers, or affluent white attorneys.

We, the grassroots people, do not kill our own. Surely none of us can defend or condone the murder of a young Indian mother? Let our sister Anna Mae finally find peace and her family the justice they seek.

 
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