On December 9, 1984 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly approved the Genocide Convention and developed an international law that recognizes acts of genocide. Article 2 of the Genocide Convention lists the following acts. (a) Killing members of the group. (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. (e) Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.
The 1973 Siege at Wounded Knee is the longest “civil unrest” in the history of the US Marshal Service. For 71 days, the American Indian Movement (AIM) and members of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) nation were under siege in a violent standoff with the FBI and US Marshals equipped with high powered rifles and armored personnel carriers. Two people were killed, over two dozen wounded. At stake, sovereignty and self-determination guaranteed through treaty rights. Fifty years have passed but for American Indians the struggle for recognition of the nation-to-nation treaties continues to be seen as survival.
The other day, one of my granddaughters called and said, “Grandma, did you hear? They’re returning articles from a museum in Barre, Vermont, that belonged to our relatives that were massacred at Wounded Knee.” “What?” I said. “What kind of things?” She said, “Things they were wearing or had when they were murdered at Wounded Knee in 1890. There are even baby moccasins, and little kids’ moccasins in there. The soldiers took them off the bodies and they kept them in a museum all these years. Now they’re giving them back.” As descendants of survivors of Wounded Knee, it is our relatives’ things that we are talking about so it hit home really hard. What was in there that might have belonged to our relatives? Moccasins? A shirt? A shawl? Then she asked, “What do you think should happen to these things?”
By Staff of Unicorn Riot - Pine Ridge, SD – On February 27th, 2016 Unicorn Riot attended the 43rd annual Liberation Day on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The day began with a “Four Directions Walk & Caravan” led by participants holding Medicine Staffs and American Indian Movement flags to the mass grave-site at Wounded Knee. We interviewed participants along the eight-mile trek on the importance of Liberation Day, the causes of the 1973 occupation and the continued influence of the 71-day standoff.
By Heather Ann Thompson for The Huffington Post - When scores of ranchers donning cowboy hats and rifles began their occupation of a remote outpost in Oregon last Saturday, it was by no means the first time in American history that a group of armed men and women had staged a dramatic occupation out West and made demands of the federal government. The men who recently barricaded themselves in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge -- a federal building near Burns, Oregon -- are there, they say, because they must take a stand against the numerous "atrocities," committed against them by the federal government.