Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Jealousy played role in Anna Mae's death

Family members mourn at the gravesite of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. Photo courtesy of Denise Pictou Maloney

Did Nawiziwin orchestrate the death of Anna Mae?
‘Mitakuye Oyasin-We are all related’
By Ernestine Chasing Hawk
Native Sun News Editor

On the very first night Anna Mae Pictou Aquash arrived in South Dakota in 1973 to join the resistance at Wounded Knee, she encountered the charismatic, handsome leader of the American Indian Movement, Dennis Banks, she wrote in a letter to her sister.

When Banks instructed her to join the other women for kitchen duty, Anna Mae responded, “Mr. Banks, I didn’t come here to wash dishes, I came here to fight.” During her short life span, Anna Mae proved herself just that, a woman warrior who fought – and in the end died – to help bring awareness to the social and political injustices committed against First Nations people.

As a journalist, I covered the 2004 trial of Arlo Looking Cloud and the 2010 trial of John Boy Patton, aka John Graham, who were both convicted for the 1975 murder of Anna Mae.

It is my belief, that as impressionable young men in 1975, the duo were duped by a group of Nawiziwin (jealous women) who fabricated a tale about how Anna Mae came to South Dakota to become an FBI informant and betray the very people she fought to protect.

Testimony of Darlene “Kamook” Nichols
In February of 2004, Darlene “Kamook” Nichols testified as a paid government informant in the trial of Arlo Looking Cloud, who she helped convict for his role in the death of Anna Mae. Nichols traveled to and from the Rapid City Federal Courthouse in a government vehicle, escorted by Federal agents.

Nichols began her testimony by stating she was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, and that she was raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In an interview with Troy Lynn Yellow Wood during the John Graham trial in Rapid City in 2010, Yellow Wood revealed that she grew up with Nichols in Scottsbluff and that the two of them were closely related.

Yellow Wood stated that their aunt Theda Nelson Clark also lived in Scottsbluff at the time and was the matriarch of a large tiyospaye (family). Clark worked at a restaurant in Scottsbluff and the family was poor she said, “So aunt Theda would bring home watecha from the restaurant and feed all of us.”

Clark died at age 87 in a nursing home in Scottsbluff in October of 2011.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: Did Nawiziwin orchestrate the death of Anna Mae?

(Contact Ernestine Chasing Hawk at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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