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Remembering Anne Mae and the Terrible Price of a Movement

Indian Country Today had this interview with John Trudell about the death of Anne Mae Aquash, a young, idealistic Micmac woman from Nova Scotia who came to the Pine Ridge reservation in the 1970's to help the people and was murdered. It is believed that she was murdered for being "jacketed" by the FBI as an informant. In other words, they painted this big-hearted woman and mother as an informant in order to protect their real informant which led to her death at the hands of the people she tried to help.

I still remember as a young girl in Denver at the Indian Center when they did a dance for her and everyone stood up and honored her memory. They also did that for all the Wounded Knee participants. Her death and the decline of AIM and the movement for human rights for all indigenous people has always been linked in my heart since then. She is in our movement history canon of saints. Of people who tried to make a difference. I will always honor her spirit in my heart as I look at the pictures of her always young face full of purpose and meaning and hope. Aren't these the sort of people we should be trying to grow? Like beautiful grass that grows long like the hair on our mother's head. So Anna Mae is reborn from the land where she last laid her head every spring on the Great Plains. In those endless fields of tall sweet grass waving, filling the air with sweetness, reminding us that life is meant for so much more. And it is sweet.
"Theory of the planted operative: 'A jacket was created for Annie Mae'
Part two
Editors' note: In a running conversation with Indian Country Today's Senior Editor Jose Barreiro, John Trudell seeks to address lingering issues in the dissolution of the early American Indian Movement leadership and to comment on the case of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, the Micmac activist murdered in South Dakota during the winter of 1975 - '76. Part two of the series covers Trudell's perspective on the issues of violence in the activist movement. The renowned poet-apostle of Indian activism proposes his theory of a government operative deeply embedded to discredit the movement, during a time of rogue government infiltration programs that sometimes stimulated violence in social and political organizing. Trudell discussed the shootout at Oglala, S.D., in 1975 that resulted in the deaths of one Indian activist and two FBI agents, and other incidents from those tempestuous times. Next week, Trudell addresses his own shift from direct political activities to musical poetics of stage and film."
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spotted elephant said...

When I first read this post, I didn't comment because I couldn't express what I felt.

So now, I'll just say thank you for writing this post.

sharanya said...

Reading this, I thought of Joy Harjo's poem dedicated to Anna Mae. It's clear why her murder remains such an emotional and painful thing. Like Spotted Elephant, I would like to say something more meaningful, but will have to settle for just thanking you.

sunkaku said...

i remember talking to her cousin a few years back before it was known who killed her, at that time it was belived the FBI did but came out to be AIM on the ridge. this i know, no one has been prosicuted and no investigation has been done as to who killed her and the percise reason, even the cousin could not get that far, he found out aim but no more at that time