Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 22:31:38 -0600 (CST)
From: Grassroots Media Network <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: AIM Members Accused in Killing
DENVER (AP) -- A leader of the American Indian Movement on Wednesday accused fellow AIM members of ordering the execution of an activist more than 20 years ago, a death the group has long claimed the FBI was responsible for.
Russell Means said at a news conference Wednesday he believes senior AIM members killed Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash because they falsely believed she was an FBI informant and had provided information on the killings of two FBI agents.
Her body was found on a South Dakota Indian reservation in February 1976. She had been shot. No one has ever been charged with her slaying.
Means' statement is the first public accusation of AIM involvement by anyone who was in a leadership role in the movement at the time of her death.
Current and former AIM members have been trading bitter accusations for the past several years about the death of Pictou-Aquash, who was close to several top leaders of the group and participated in the 1973 takeover of the town of Wounded Knee, S.D.
Pictou-Aquash also was present on the reservation ranch where two FBI agents were killed in a shootout with AIM members in June 1975. AIM member Leonard Peltier is serving a life prison term in connection with those slayings, though AIM officials and other activists claim he is innocent.
Rumors that she was an informant had dogged Pictou-Aquash in the years before her killing and were heightened after her quick release on bond from two federal weapons-related arrests in 1975.
Means accused federal authorities of refusing to arrest the killers because it would reveal the FBI's role in efforts to destabilize AIM.
If AIM is the perpetrator of this grisly murder, in collusion with
the FBI, I want it brought out, Means said.
Jane Quimby of the Denver FBI office said,
The FBI has done nothing
to obstruct this investigation.
Means, who for years has publicly feuded with AIM leaders Vernon and
Clyde Bellecourt, said he would remain a member of the group but wants
it to be an organization
that does not murder its own, and a woman
A statement issued by Bellecourt's office said Means was no longer
a member of AIM. It also said Means' allegations
continuation of the U.S. Government FBI war against the American
Indian Movement leadership. One can only suspect that Russell Means is
attempting to deflect attention from himself and what role he may have
played in the death of Anna Mae Aquash.