Opinion

Tim Giago: Wounded Knee was not 'liberated' by AIM activists in 1973






Participants in the 4 Direction Walk to Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in February 2014. Photo by Confrontational Media via Flickr

Tim Giago, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, won' t be celebrating the occupation of Wounded Knee by the American Indian Movement in 1973:
Soon there will be posters floating about and advertisements asking residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation to celebrate the "Liberation" of Wounded Knee in February of 1973.

This action causes many of us old timers to scratch our heads in wonderment and ask ourselves how did the takeover of a peaceful village where the residents were treated like prisoners of war be called a "liberation?"

Were the residents of Wounded Knee who saw their homes seized, looted and eventually burned to the ground liberated? Their homes have never been rebuilt and many of them had to move into already overcrowded homes with relatives. They were liberated of their freedom and of everything they owned.

The Wounded Knee Trading Post was also thoroughly looted and eventually burned to the ground. Clive and Agnes Gildersleeve, the elderly couple who founded the Trading Post about 1932, were taken as hostages, knocked around and terrified by the occupiers. In order to justify their criminal actions the leaders of AIM vilified Clive and Agnes.

They painted them as white trading post owners who ripped off the local Indians for years. Agnes Gildersleeve just happened to be an Ojibwe Indian, but that bit of information was swept under the rug. I knew AIM's accusations were lies because I lived at Wounded Knee in the 1930s where my father, Tim, worked as a clerk and butcher for the Gildersleeves at the Wounded Knee Trading Post.

Get the Story:
Tim Giago: Wounded Knee Was Destroyed; Not Liberated (The Huffington Post 1/24)