Not to confuse the issue, the original Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota. It was the last battle of the American Indian Wars.
The Wounded Knee incident began on February 27, 1973, and lasted more than 71 days. Around 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The AIM is who is accused of taking the life of fellow activist, civil rights follower, Ray Robinson, who went to Wounded Knee in support of the American Indians, and was never heard from again.
Civil rights activist Ray Robinson 'murdered by American Indian Movement' FBI claim http://t.co/wRXi875CqX
— john muriango (@juanmuriango) February 20, 2014
An attorney for the family, Michael Kuzma, poured through hundreds of pages of reports that shed new light on the 40-year-old case of Ray Robinson. Kuzma sued the US Justice Department in June to try to help Robinson’s widow, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson, and their children get some closure.
Robinson, a father of three from Alabama, traveled to South Dakota in April of 1973 to stand alongside Native Americans in their fight against social injustice.
The standoff between AIM members and federal agents at Wounded Knee left at least two tribal members dead and a federal agent seriously wounded. The occupation was a conflict meant to raise awareness about Native American struggles.
Robinson never returned home, and his body was never recovered.
Buswell-Robinson said that her husband’s non-violent approach would have stood out amongst the violent situation at Wounded Knee, and it is possible AIM members suspected he was a federal informant. The personable black man with a deep baritone voice would have stood out on a Midwest American Indian reservation, she said.
Robinson’s widow and their children want to bring his remains home for a proper burial.
FBI suspects militant Native Americans killed black civil rights activist in 1973 http://t.co/ahD7PisNld
— Peter (@ArawakWarrior) February 20, 2014
The problem is that the whereabouts of Robinson’s remains are unknown, and a search might be complicated due to the sovereign status of the reservation. The family did travel to Wounded Knee in 2004 to explore the area where Robinson’s body is rumored to be, at the site of the Denby bunker, where witnesses say Robinson engaged with AIM members.
There is mystery surrounding Robinson’s death, and many different witness accounts of the circumstances that surrounded it–many pointing toward murder.
According to the FBI documents, an unidentified cooperating witness told agents that “Robinson had been tortured and murdered within the AIM occupation perimeter,” and his remains were buried “in the hills”.
Image via Wikimedia Commons