Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
Anti-Indian Bill Janklow
MINNEAPOLIS - Even though many in South Dakota remembered their late governor and congressman in favorable terms at his funeral yesterday, some American Indians don't see him as being a great leader, as non-Indians do.
Janklow died last Thursday of brain cancer. He was 72.
Dennis Banks, AIM co-founder
"We know many in South Dakota will remember him fondly,"
stated Dennis Banks, Ojibwa, co-founder of the American Indian Movement.
Clyde Bellecourt, AIM co-founder
Clyde Bellecourt, another co-founder of the American Indian Movement, refused to comment further on Janklow's death, simply stating:
"Janklow! We know all about him."
"We will remember him for appointing many judges, who ironically - basically - exonerated him in the killing death of the motorcyclist while he was driving drunk."
"And the Eagle Deer family who will remember he raped their daughter, Jacinta Eagle Deer. We are sure that many non-Indian South Dakota people will remember him fondly, but that is not how we will remember him,"
Banks went on to state.
Jacinta Eagle Deer-Victim
Banks was referring to Jacinta Eagle Deer's claim in 1967 she was raped by Janklow while he worked as a tribal attorney on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. By 1974, Janklow was disbarred by the Rosebud Tribal Court and was not allowed to practice law on the reservation.
Jacinta Eagle Deer, Brule Lakota, died in a hit-and-run car accident in 1975. After her death, her stepmother Delphine Eagle Deer worked to keep her case against Janklow alive. Delphine Eagle Deer was murdered nine months later in 1976. Her murder has never been solved.
No criminal charges outside were ever filed against him. Three separate federal investigations cleared him of wrongdoing in the rape claim.
Janklow prosecuted many American Indian Movement leaders for their participation in activist activities at Custer, South Dakota. Janklow was soon elected attorney general of South Dakota; then he went on to become governor of the state, serving a total of 16 years, prior to becoming a US Representative.
Another American Indian Movement leader weighed in on Janklow's life and death:
"Janklow created the art of being anti-Indian for political purposes. He did it for his own gain. By the time he was done, he created a state that we call the 'Mississippi of the North',"
said Bill Means, Lakota, who serves on the national governing board of the American Indian Movement and is a member of the local chapters of AIM in Minneapolis and in South Dakota.
"Even though he worked on the Rosebud Indian Reservation at one time, he took the limited knowledge of what he learned about Indians there and took it to work against Indians after he left there,"
Means told the Native News Network.
"He represented South Dakota when there were very differing opinions on how Indians should move ahead. We always met strong opposition from him on how we should move ahead as Indian people,"
Janklow in his own words:
"The way to deal with Dennis Banks is with a bullet between the eyes."
posted January 17, 2011 3:50 pm est
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