Remembering Wounded Knee 1973
Ah-ho My Relations,
Today is heavy with prayer and reminisces for me. Not only are those who walk for the Yellowstone Buffalo reaching their destination, today is the anniversary of the night when, at the direction of the Oglala Chiefs, I went with a special squad of warriors to liberate Wounded Knee in advance of the main AIM caravan.
For security reasons the people had been told everyone was going to a meeting/wacipi in Porcupine, the road goes through Wounded Knee.
When the People arrived at the Trading Post we had already set up a perimeter, taken eleven hostages, run the B.I.A. cops out of town, cut most phone lines, and began 73 days of the best, most free time of my life.
The honor of being chosen to go first still lives strong in my heart.
That night we had no idea what fate awaited us. It was a cold night with not much moonlight and I clearly remember the nervous anticipation I felt as we drove the back-way from Oglala into Wounded Knee.
The Chiefs had tasked me with a mission and we were sworn to succeed, of that I was sure, but I couldn't help wondering if we were prepared.
The FBI, BIA and Marshalls had fortified Pine Ridge with machine gun bunkers and A.P.C.s with M-60's. They had unleashed the goonsquad on the people and a reign of terror had begun, we knew we had to fight but we could not fight on wasicu terms.
We were lightly armed and dependent on the weapons and ammo in the WK trading post, I worried that we would not get to them before the shooting started.
As we stared silently into the darkness driving into the hamlet I tried to forsee what opposition we would encounter and how to neutralize it...
We were approaching a sacred place and each of us knew it.
We could feel it deep inside.
As a warrior leading warriors I humbly prayed to Wakonda for the lives of all and the wisdom to do things right. Never before or since have I offered my tobacco with such a plea or put on my feathers with such purpose. It was the birth of the Independent Oglala Nation.
Things went well for us that night, we accomplished our task without loss of life.
Then, in the cold darkness as we waited for Dennis and Russ to bring in the caravan (or for the fight to start), I stood on the bank of the shallow ravine where our people had been murdered by Custers' 7th Cavalry. There I prayed for the defenseless ones, torn apart by Hotchkiss cannon and trampled under hooves of steel by drunken wasicu.
I could feel the touch of their spirits as I eased quietly into the gully and stood silently... waiting for my future, touching my past.
Finally, I bent over and picked a sprig of sage - whose ancestors in 1890 had been nourished by the blood of Red babies, ripped from their mothers dying grasp and bayonetted by the evil ones.
As I washed myself with that sacred herb I became cold in my determination and cleansed of fear. I looked for Big Foot and YellowBird in the darkness and I said aloud ---
"We are back my relations, we are home".
Carter Camp- Ponca Nation AIM
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