Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
PINE RIDGE INDIAN RESERVATION Between March 1, 1973, and March 1, 1976, the murder rate on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota was 170 per 100,000. In comparison, the national average, 9.7 per 100,000. Survivors of that brutal era refer to it as the "Reign of Terror."
In two letters sent to the US Attorney Brendan V. Johnson of the South Dakota District, Oglala Sioux Tribe's Vice President Tom Poor Bear and James Toby Big Boy, chairman of the Law & Order Committee of the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, pressed him to reopen or reinvestigate the murders.
Many of these murders date back to the 1970s. Soon after the conclusion of the 71 day siege of Wounded Knee, people began to disappear and never seen again. Many were discovered murdered. Low estimates of those murdered number in around 60; other maintain there were hundreds of Indians murdered.
Many of the individuals murdered were members or supporters of the American Indian Movement.
In response to the Oglala Sioux Tribe's letter urging US attorney, Brendan Johnson, to reopen cold cases involving 39 murders on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation or involving tribal members. At least three of the cases, the murders occurred in Nebraska.
In addition, US Attorney Johnson has agreed to come to the Pine Ridge Reservation for a meeting with family members of the victims on June 13. The meeting was just confirmed this morning. Specific details of time and place are still being worked out between tribal officials and the US Attorney's office.
“I have requested files to these cases,”
Johnson told the Native News Network on Thursday afternoon.
“I want to do everything I can to get information into the hands of the families members who may have never been provided with information.”
Files that will be reviewed are stored with the investigating agencies, such as the FBI or Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement.
“These cases can be difficult to prosecute without new evidence, but we want people to know we have done everything we could,”
“One thing I want to be clear about is I don't want to get people's expectations up when perhaps nothing will come of this. The families of the victims deserve answers. We will take a fair look at these cases,”
“However, I want you to know I have an ethical responsibility to deal directly with the families, so we will not be supplying the media with updated information on these cases on a case by case basis.”
Native News Network has obtained a list of the 39 murders victims of the cases that have been requested for review by the US Attorney: Use this Link »
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posted June 1, 2012 1:57 pm edt
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