- Parent Category: Aquash/Peltier/Ray
- Category: Annie Mae Pictou Aquash
- Published: 17 December 2010
- Hits: 5869
Rapid City, South Dakota (AP) December 2010
The daughters of a slain American Indian Movement activist said last week that they are pleased with the latest conviction in the 35-year-old murder case but remain convinced there are others who havent been charged.
Former AIM member John Graham was convicted recently in the murder of Annie Mae Aquash in 1975 on South Dakotas Pine Ridge reservation. Her death remains synonymous with AIM and its often-violent clashes with federal agents in the 1970s.
Marty Jackley, the state attorney general who prosecuted the case, declined to say if anyone else might face charges.
We want to take an opportunity to look back at what the evidence showed and make an informed decision, Jackley said.
Aquashs daughters, Denise Maloney Pictou and Debbie Maloney Pictou, said they still dont believe the full story is known about their mothers death.
I want people to take responsibility for their involvement, Denise Maloney Pictou said. People now know who the main players are.
|Annie Mae Pictou Aquash|
Graham was acquitted of premeditated murder, but found guilty of felony murder in connection with a kidnapping, which carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. One juror said afterward there was swift agreement that Graham was culpable but disagreement during jury deliberations about whether he actually fired the fatal shot.
Another activist Arlo Looking Cloud, was also convicted in Aquashs slaying six years ago and is serving a life sentence.
Prosecutors did not address at trial who ordered Aquashs death. Several former leaders of the group which gained prominence in the 1970s but has since faded from public view have denied being involved.
During five days of testimony at Grahams trial, prosecution witnesses testified they saw Graham and two other AIM supporters tie Aquashs hands and place her in the back of a red Ford Pinto. The three took Aquash from Denver to Rapid City and then toward South Dakotas Pine Ridge reservation, witnesses testified.
Rios testimony could shed light on who asked her to make that call. Jackley would not comment on why Rios didnt testify at Grahams trial.
I will tell you that it wasnt an oversight, he said. We certainly discussed it within our trial strategy, but thats all I can disclose.
Paul DeMain, an Indian journalist whos long researched the Aquash case, likened Graham and the two other activists to soldiers following orders.
Somewhere in that pyramid, it leads right to the top, he said, adding that he thought more than one leader was involved.
Vernon Bellecourt denied allegations against him in a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, four years before he died.
To this day I dont know who shot Anna Mae Aquash, he said at the time.
Two other leaders, Clyde Bellecourt and Dennis Banks, have declined to comment.
Aquash, a member of the Mikmaq tribe of Nova Scotia, was 30 when she died. Her death came about two years after she participated in AIMs 71-day occupation of the South Dakota reservation town of Wounded Knee.
AIM was founded in the late 1960s to protest the U.S. governments treatment of American Indians and demand the government honor its treaties with Indian tribes. It gained national attention in 1972 when it took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters in Washington but has since faded from public view.
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