http://www.aics.org/justice/0608.html

With Respect and Honor

Subject: With Respect and Honor
Date:
Thu, 08 Jun 2000 00:00:00 -0400
From: Mike Wicks <mike.wicks@mindspring.com>
Reply-To: Camp_Justice@onelist.com
Organization: American Indian Cultural Support
To: Camp_Justice <Camp_Justice@onelist.com>

I spoke with Tom today (June 7th) and asked his permission to post this in my words instead of a regular "press release" from Camp Justice. He was most appreciative of it.

In memory;

One year ago today, the bodies of two men were found beside the road that leads from White Clay Nebraska to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The men had been brutally beaten, and then executed. Nebraska law enforcement seemed reluctant to investigate at all, and claimed since the bodies were found just a few feet across the border into Pine Ridge, the case should be investigated by the FBI (who have jurisdiction on the rez for a major crime). The FBI, who have stated on many occasions that there are less than ten unsolved deaths in South Dakota, while the people KNOW of nearly 100 deaths, was called in to investigate. That investigation, like so many, many others - is still "ongoing" a year later. Some of their cases have been "ongoing" since 1973!

White Clay, is a border town with a population of just 22 people, with four liquor establishments that combined, sell more than four MILLION dollars worth of alcohol every year. Most of it to impoverished Oglala Lakota from Pine Ridge. High unemployment rates bring with it an increase in alcohol abuse. The U.S. unemployment rate is around 5%. The unemployment rate on Pine Ridge Reservation is between 75% to 80%. A very large contributing factor, but add to that the utter convenience of four liquor stores within walking distance, and in those stores are proprietors willing to "run a tab" for people who are addicted. That is probably what cost these two men their lives. One of these proprietors threatened one of those who died over an unpaid "tab". He said if it was not paid, then the "boys" would take care of the debtor, or maybe the Deputy Sheriff would. A town of racists, making a living from people they hate, protected by a racist law enforcement. The very breeding ground for murder. The Deputy Sheriff retired within a few days of the murdered men being found, and moved out of the state.

Tom Poor Bear, brother to one of these murder victims, and cousin to the other, organized marches to White Clay to protest against the liquor establishments, and demand justice for his relatives. He also established a camp, called Camp Justice on the border, very near where his relatives had been found murdered. It was not the first time Tom had done this, he was also involved with Camp Yellow Thunder several years ago. The marches into White Clay have continued, and the camp has been occupied since that time. Tom has stated that he would maintain in Camp Justice until justice is served for his relatives. Many supporters from around the world have traveled to Camp Justice and spent time there, participating in the marches. Many more have shown their support in other ways. All are appreciated by Tom and the families, as they have stated several times.

On December 3rd 1999, in mid winter and six months after the bodies were found, the FBI conducted a search of the area where the bodies were found. It was probably not a coincidence that on the same day the FBI came back to Pine Ridge to search, representatives of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission were meeting in Camp Justice with the organizers to discuss injustices toward Indian people in South Dakota. No findings by the FBI have been released as of this date.

Tom Poor Bear recently extended an invitation for friends and supporters to join the Camp Justice memorial activities scheduled for June 10, 2000. A Prayer Ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. at Billy Mills Hall, (located across the street from Big Bat's) in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, followed by a Walk to White Clay, Nebraska at 11:00 a.m. A Buffalo Feast and Giveaway will begin at noon, followed by the unveiling of a rock memorial monument honoring Wilson "Wally" Black Elk Jr. and Ron Hard Heart.

For those of you who cannot attend the memorial activities, I invite you to join with me in offering our own prayers at the same time as those at Pine Ridge for Wally and Ron, and for the families of these men. June 10, 2000 at 10:00 am MDT (12:00 EDT).

June 8, 1999 - Wilson "Wally" Black Elk Jr. and Ron Hard Heart brutally
                         beaten and then executed.
                         investigation "ongoing"

http://www.aics.org/justice/juneflyer.html
http://www.aics.org/justice/camp.html

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