Where White Men Fear to Tread by Russell Means

Where White Men Fear to Tread by Russell Means

Author:Russell Means
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: native americans, sioux, lakota, bureau of indian affairs, oglala, sun dance, wounded knee, 1970s 70s seventies, american indian movement, russell means
Publisher: Antenna Books

Exactly a month into the siege—the night after the press left—the feds initiated one of the fiercest firefights of the struggle. Fifty-caliber tracer rounds rained on Wounded Knee, skipping off the highway to ricochet high into the sky. The only casualty that night was a U.S. marshal named Lloyd Grim who was struck by a rifle bullet and seriously wounded. The feds, reinforced by BIA police from reservations around the country, clamped down hard on Pine Ridge. They raided our houses, arrested our supporters, and intensified their efforts to cut off our supplies. For some reason, Vernon Bellecourt was at Crow Dog’s Paradise telling everyone there to stay away from Wounded Knee. The situation became so critical that Dennis and I decided to smuggle ourselves out and go to the Rosebud, where we had more friends, to try to enlist support.

It was a hundred miles to Crow Dog’s Paradise, on the Rosebud. With four escorts, we set out after dark on March 26 for Manderson, about eight miles north by the road but half again that far through the hills. By dawn we had passed the last fed roadblock, but snow was on the ground and we had to cross open cornfields. We had no way of knowing who was watching from the woods. If we got caught in the open by goons or feds, we were all dead meat. One by one we ran across the field to the cover of some trees near a creek. Moving up the stream, we saw a house with wood smoke curling from its stovepipe. We had no idea whose home it was, so we squatted down to watch. After a time, the door opened and a teenage boy came out and stared right at us. Then he waved to us to come in. It looked like a trap, but with the creek at our back and little cover, we would get hit if we tried to run. We each took a big gulp of cold air, cocked our rifles, and went in.

The Great Mystery had guided us to Dave Flying Hawk’s place—the first stop on the “underground railroad” out of Wounded Knee, and the last going in. The house was full of people from the West Coast, all going in to Wounded Knee as soon as it got dark again. As poverty stricken as any people on the reservation, the Flying Hawks gave us a meal. They were Indians, and anyone who came to their door would get fed. They risked everything they had to help us; if they had been caught, the feds would have taken away their lease money, their welfare payments, their commodities—anything they had—and jailed the adults and put the kids in foster homes. The Flying Hawks and hundreds like them were willing nevertheless to take the risk because of the goons and the BIA police. Wilson’s terrorism had turned most of his people against him. Even those who minded their own business weren’t safe. Any Indian with


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