Anna Mae Pictou Aquash began her journey home this morning. At the Little-family cemetery in Oglala, South Dakota, members of Anna Mae's family gathered to carry her back to the Mi'kmaq Nation, to the warmth and security of her family and people - to be near their hearts, for inside their hearts is where her spirit has always been. The Mi'kmaq language and songs greeted Anna Mae as she entered the daylight, the family ceremony freeing her from 28-years of darkness. Anna Mae will return to the earth in her homeland, in Shubenacadie on the Mi'kmaq reserve, Nova Scotia.
We thank those genuine people who visited Anna Mae's grave in Oglala and did not forget her throughout these long years of isolation and injustice, and we offer our sincere thanks to the members of the Little-family who tended to her grave. Anna Mae told us that she would come back to us in the rain, and today she did.
During our last visit to South Dakota we learned that Bill Means instigated Anna Mae's burial on the Little-family's property. Independent of each other, three people alleged that Means wished to have Anna Mae buried on his cousins' land, so that when questioned about her murder he could deflect suspicion by saying that she was buried in his relatives' cemetery, and that he would not have arranged that if she had been an informer whose death AIM leaders had ordered. It was telling that no AIM leader attended Anna Mae's funeral in March 1976, and that Means himself chose to attend a nearby basketball game as Anna Mae was buried. Piece by piece the 28-year lie is being dismantled and those who conspired and ordered the murder of Anna Mae are being exposed.
On June 26, 2000, Vernon Bellecourt gave a speech at Anna Mae's grave in which he denounced all of those who were seeking truth and justice for her, and he issued his familiar denials. In a videotaped admission played at his trial, Arlo Looking Cloud said of Anna Mae's murder, "If you want to know why it happened ask Bellecourt, Vernon Bellecourt." When our mother was murdered in December 1975, Vernon Bellecourt was the head of "AIM Security and Intelligence," and his remit was to expose informers. Our family is in possession of an audiotape transcript in which Vernon Bellecourt admits that he investigated Anna Mae, and that he concluded there was "credible evidence" that she was "Informant A or B."
In the transcript, Bellecourt identifies John Graham, Theda Clarke, and Arlo Looking Cloud as the individuals who kidnapped Anna Mae, then transported her to the known locations where she was held and interrogated about being an informer, and that the three then killed her. Bellecourt identifies his brother, Clyde Bellecourt, as being among those present at Bill Means' when Theda Clarke and John Graham entered his house on the Rosebud before they executed Anna Mae. Bellecourt acknowledges that Looking Cloud was holding Anna Mae outside Means' house. We shall be presenting this transcript with corroborating material to federal prosecutors, at which time we shall also urge the US Attorney to indict Theda Clarke – age does not absolve murder.
We received notice that Vernon Bellecourt and some associated with him intended to repeat the performance of 2000 at Anna Mae's graveside this coming June 26. The prospect of such abuse prompted us to act now. No longer will we allow Anna Mae to be exploited by those who contributed to her suffering. Today, on the eve of Arlo Looking Cloud's sentencing, Anna Mae is physically free from those who persecuted her. We pray that one-day justice will be fully served and that she will be able to rest in peace.
Carson Walker, Associated Press]
In the spirit of Anna Mae Pictou, Marley Shebala (Navajo/Zuni) — Spokeswoman-Indigenous Women for Justice — firstname.lastname@example.org
We are no longer silenced by fear
The IWJ is a unity sisterhood of women from indigenous nations located