Opinion

Albert Bender: Carter Camp, Ponca warrior, passes at 72





Albert Bender pays tribute to the late Carter Camp, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma who was a leader in the American Indian Movement:
As a fighter for Native American rights for the last 40 plus years, Carter Camp stood tall to all who knew him or knew of him. In Indian Country his name was a household word to all those committed to "The Cause. " His role in the movement for American Indian rights was truly selfless and heroic.

After decades of struggle, Camp died Dec. 27, 2013 on tribal land in White Eagle, Okla. He was 72.

Carter Camp was a Ponca tribal member and a national leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the late 1960s. The movement, which began in order to protest the ongoing disgraceful treatment of American Indians and federal government refusal to honor its treaties with Native nations, took direct action to focus national attention on Native American issues. Camp joined AIM when it was founded in 1968 and organized over 30 AIM chapters in Oklahoma and Texas.

Camp took a leading part in the protests of the time, including the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972 to demand enforcement of the treaties by the U.S. government. This resulted in a takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affair in Washington, D.C. The very next year Camp and fellow AIM leaders Russell Means and Dennis Banks were involved in organizing the Wounded Knee occupation in South Dakota. Camp led the first group of warriors into Wounded Knee. This was an honor in itself - the honor of being chosen to go first. The Native freedom fighters were besieged for 71 days by federal forces - the FBI, federal marshals - and by government-organized paramilitary gangs, armed to the teeth, including the use of armored personnel carriers ( APCs). This protest resulted in loss of life on both sides, both Native and non-Native. Camp was chosen war chief in charge of defenses for the movement.

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Albert Bender: Carter Camp, warrior for Native rights, dies at 72 (People's World 1/22)

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