ANNA MAE AQUASH: THE LEGEND
Monica J Charles
Anna Mae Aquash is the stuff of legends. She died in her prime under mysterious circumstances. She was only thirty years old and the mother of two small children. She was beautiful, smart and shined with promise. She was friends with the American Indian Movement leadership and the rank and file.
The FBI through their informants started rumors that she was one of their collaborators. Only those that didn’t know her, were jealous of her, or for some reason didn’t like her chose to believe that gossip.
Anna Mae represented the strengths and weaknesses in Indian women. She lived her life working for the good of all of The People. It is rumored that she fell in love with and had an affair with Dennis Banks, AIM’s top leader and most famous philanderer. Dennis was the common law husband of her friend Kamook Nichols Banks.
That love may have been her fatal flaw. It made her a target. Men always underestimate the strength and power of Women. The FBI may have thought that she would be the weak link into AIM’s inner circle.
FBI SA David Price told her that if she didn’t cooperate with the FBI that she would be dead within a year.
Kamook said in her interview with Anna Maria Tremonti that Anna Mae would be arrested with everyone else. Then she would be released before everyone else. Kamook said she wondered why.
The suspicion had been planted and was growing. It looked like Anna Mae was collaborating with the FBI.
No one survived the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program. They sent out false letters, started rumors about key people. It was adolescent but worked well.
To find out more about the FBI’s Cointel program read about the Black Panthers. Bobby Seals has a book on the internet for free download. There is a book by Jack Olson about Panther leader Geronimo Pratt. He served 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. It’s reminiscent of Leonard Peltier and Anna Mae Aquash.
Simply googling “Cointelpro” will turn up a plethora of articles and documents. Paul Wolf has an excellent site on the subject. That is the best place to start.
There is a movie called “Panther.” It cites a FOIA document that states that the FBI partnered with organized crime to introduce hard drugs into the Black communities. That was to take down the Panthers base of support.
Panther leaders were suspicious and jealous of a young Geronimo Pratt from the Southern California Black Panther chapter. They abandoned him when the FBI charged him with murder. He was at a Panther convention in Oakland. The FBI had phone tapes and photos proving he was in Oakland at the time of the murder. Panther leaders could have testified that he was in Oakland but didn’t.
The FBI played on jealousies and egos of leaders and key people. They fomented dissent where it hadn’t existed before. Once you see how the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program took down the Black Panther Party it will be easy to see what happened to The American Indian Movement, Leonard Pelter and Anna Mae Aquash.
It is said that the Pie Patrol (influential Sioux AIM women) was jealous of Anna Mae’s beauty and influence with Dennis Banks. Kamook was one of them. She could have used her influence as AIM’s First Lady to stop rumors about Anna Mae but didn’t.
Someone was counting on the stereotype of women’s jealousy of each other. The powerful pie patrol was comprised of Lakota women. They were loyal to their own. Dennis Banks trophy wife Kamook was one of them. She was his connection into the tight knit Lakota community.
The Pie Patrol is the women being accused by Demain and the FBI of complicity in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash. They were prominent and active in their communities. Everyone is being accused except Kamook that is. She wore a wire to record her husband and Arlo Looking Cloud.
There is a document on Leonard Peltier’s site where the FBI is discussing revealing to Kamook that Anna Mae and her husband Dennis were having an affair. They thought that they might be able to recruit her as an informant if she knew of the affair.
Anna Mae didn’t belong to a big political family from a big Tribe nor did she belong to a prominent AIM family. She was from Micmac a remote Tribe on Canada’s East Coast. She was alone.
AIM needed her organizational and fundraising skills. While AIM’s swaggering feathered warriors were romantic and photogenic they were not always politic or diplomatic. The touch of a gifted dazzling woman was sometimes needed. She could raise money from America’s rich elite. She could get things done. Dennis Banks said of her in his autobiography “Ojibwe Warrior” Anna Mae would never be a burden.
Anna Mae Aquash disappeared sometimes during the winter of 1975-1976. The FBI story says that she was kidnapped from the Denver home of Troy Lynn Yellowwood where she had been staying. Others say she went of her own accord. The FBI story says that Anna Mae was killed by AIM on December 12 1975.
The FBI story makes her into a vapid victim. They say that she was taken to the house of Thelma Rios in Rapid City South Dakota. There she was supposedly beaten and raped.
Anna Mae was strong-willed and knew karate. Would she have willingly allowed herself to be beaten and raped? One of her sisters told a story of a physical fight between Anna Mae and her husband Nogeeshik. She went to see what the ruckus was about. She came back saying that it was an equal fight. Anna Mae was giving as good as she got.
That’s a different Anna Mae from the one that allows herself to be dragged here and there and walks placidly to her death.
FBI supporters flesh out the FBI story. They tell lies to manipulate our emotions. They say that Anna Mae was taken to the top of a ravine and shot. They claim that she was blinded by blood from her wound. She tried to crawl for help and fell off the embankment. She curled into the fetal position in an attempt to keep warm. She lay there for days before the elements took her.
The second autopsy report says that the bullet pierced her brain.
What kind of person would make her death worse than it is? What kind of mind could come up with a false story like that?
A bullet piercing her brain would have killed her instantly.
Paula Giese from Minneapolis said that she had received a phone call from Anna Mae on December 20 1975. Anna Mae said that she would visit after the holidays.
FBI agent David Price filed a report that Anna Mae was sighted on February 12, 1976. The report is heavily redacted but describes what she is wearing and the vehicle she is traveling in. The names of the people she was with and their destination is blacked out. The FBI will not reveal the name of the person who reported sighting her. They say it is to protect their informant. Is that person still an active spy?
The memo was discovered by journalist Steve Hendricks when he sued the FBI for release of all FOIA documents relating to Anna Mae Aquash. It is cited in the endnotes of his book “The Unquiet Grave.”
Paul Demain bills himself as the person who knows the most about the case. He claims that Peltier supporters are using this incident because Peltier was in jail in Canada at the time. So he couldn’t have been personally involved with her murder.
Demain claims that Anna Mae Aquash was killed because she allegedly knew that he was the executioner of Agents Coler and Williams.
Demain is obsessed with proving that Leonard Peltier actually did shoot FBI agents Coler and Williams. The Federal Government admits that they do not know who shot the agents. There is no evidence linking Peltier to the murder.
Demain claims that Peltier boasted to Anna Mae Aquash, sisters Kamook Banks and Bernie Lafferty that he shot Coler and Williams as they begged for their lives.
Demain asserts that Anna Mae was killed because she heard Peltier’s “confession.” He does not explain why Kamook Banks and Bernie Lafferty were not killed for hearing the same confession.
Paul Demain’s timeline is silly. He wrote me into it in an attempt to frighten me away from this story. It didn’t work. It did show me that he is so desperate to “get” AIM and Leonard Peltier that he is willing to lie to do it.
Anna Mae worked hard for the People. She deserves real justice, not the Amerikan Just Us of Arlo’s 3 ½ day trial.
There are descriptions of three different girls in the crime scene report and the two autopsies.
There is a memo on Peltier’s site stating that the FBI was monitoring girls that looked like Anna Mae. Were those girls used to confuse and cover up the murder of Anna Mae Aquash?
The body at the crime scene was described as 5’6” and 20 years old. Aquash was 5’2” and 30 years old. It was determined that the body in the first autopsy died from exposure. There was no mention of a gunshot wound or blood leaking from that wound. Organs were removed, examined and weighed and noted.
Again the body in the second autopsy was different. It had blood leaking from a gunshot wound at the back of the head. The bullet was lodged into the front of the skull after piercing the brain. There had been no organs removed in the second autopsy.
Was there a younger taller girl found at the crime scene? Did Dr Brown autopsy a girl that actually did die of exposure?
Was there a different girl in the second autopsy that died from a bullet wound?
Either there were three different girls or these are the worst cops and medical examiners in the world. Or this was part of a cover up.
Who were those girls? Their families deserve closure. Was any of them Anna Mae?
There are still many questions that need to be asked and answered in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.
The FBI claims to have lost the clothes that Anna Mae was wearing at the time of her death. They could be tested for dna with todays technology.
Richard Marshall is being charged with being an accessory to murder. They FBI says that he provided the murder weapon to John Graham and Arlo Looking Cloud. They claim that Richard Marshall owned a pistol of the same caliber that killed Anna Mae. Has it been test fired to match a bullet with the one that pierced Anna Mae’s brain? A similar pistol is not a smoking gun.
The government has scheduled the trials of John Graham, Richard Marshall and Thelma Rios on top of each other. It will be impossible to give each case the attention they deserve.
Mainstream media and Native journalists have ignored this case although it defines the federal government’s relationship with Indians during the fiery 1970s.
The American Indian Movement was hunted down and disrupted along with the Black Panthers and other Civil Rights organizations during the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program.
Most people during the 1960’s and 1970’s did not see how out of control the FBI and other police organizations were. They may have seen the aftermath and cover-ups of assassinations of young Black Panther leaders. They did not see the cops kicking in doors and shooting Panthers as they slept.
They did not see the FBI in paramilitary uniforms packing semi-automatic weapons on the Pine Ridge Resrvation during the 1970’s. They did not hear SAC Joe Trimbach requesting that the US Air Force bomb us during the first few days of the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.
FBI SAC Norm Zigrossi has said that AIM was better armed than he. When I came out of Wounded Knee a younger cousin asked me what kind of weapons we (Indians) had. I said 22’s and hunting rifles. He said he saw that on the news. He asked what THEY had. I said what they are using in Vietnam. He said you were lucky to get out of there alive. I agreed.
The FBI and their lap dogs brazenly lie. Most Wounded Knee 1973 veterans are afraid to speak up to object. You could be arrested or written into Demain’s silly timeline.
The FBI refuses to release key FOIA documents because it would jeopardize national security or expose their plants that still exist today.
The question arises, if Anna Mae was not killed on December 12, 1975 where was she? There are rumors that she was on Pine Ridge. Was she in hiding until she was caught and killed in the middle of February 1976? That was the time period stated in the FBI’s first press release about her murder.
Was she in FBI custody being interrogated and threatened? Was she tortured? Did someone kill her under FBI orders?
There will be no justice for Anna Mae Aquash until the FBI is held accountable for their part in her death.
The trials of John Graham, accused shooter of Anna Mae Aquash, Richard Marshall, accused of being an accessory to murder, and Thelma Rios, also accused of being an accessory to murder, start in February.
There is a book by Johanna Brand about the life and death of Anna Mae Aquash. It provides good background. Steve Hendricks book The Unquiet Grave has uncovered new documents. The controversial “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse” also covers the times. FBI SA David Price sued author Peter Matthieson to keep the book off the shelves. Matthieson eventually won his case after several years.
There is much information and disinformation also available on the internet. Paul Demain and his crew are frantically trying to sway public opinion. They even have a facebook site dedicated to Anna Mae.
I was on it for a few minutes until I posted the Price memo that Anna Mae was sighted in February 1976. ALIVE! I linked it to Steve Hendricks site. I was promptly banned and my post erased. Demain does not want people to know that there is evidence that the FBI story is a lie.
The irony is that if Anna Mae was here today she would be working for Truth and Justice for Arlo Looking Cloud, John Graham, Richard Marshall, and Thelma Rios. Anna Mae saw FBI Just Us in action on Pine Ridge during the Reign of Terror. It may have been what killed her.