December 1, 2003, John Graham was arrested in Vancouver, Canada. He
is charged by the FBI with the 1975 murder of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash,
a Mik'maq from Nova Scotia whose frozen body was found on the Pine
Ridge reservation, South Dakota. Presently free on bail, John Graham
faces extradition to the US.
At this time, NYM
Vancouver feels it necessary to state its position in regards to this
Anna Mae has been
an inspiration and example to our movement for many years. She
symbolized the warrior spirit and our people's determination to
resist. This is also the legacy of the American Indian Movement, to
which she belonged.
It was because of
this spirit that AIM was targeted by the FBI's Counter-Intelligence
Program (COINTEL-PRO) in the early 1970's, and why so many AIM
members in S. Dakota were killed during this period, including Anna
If, as alleged,
her killing was ordered by AIM's leadership (under the pretext she
was an informant), those ultimately responsible for her death are US
government officials, inc. the FBI. For it was under their orders
that a deadly counter-insurgency campaign was waged against AIM,
which included portraying genuine movement members as informants.
This strategy was
used to create paranoia and division, to turn members against one
another (just as the FBI had done against the Black Panther Party).
Anna Mae was herself the target of an FBI "bad jacket." FBI
agents had threatened to kill her in the year prior to her death.
When her body was found, despite being on an FBI wanted list, agents
had her hands cut off for fingerprint analysis. During the first
autopsy, the government coroner determined the cause of death to be
exposure, somehow missing the bullet hole in the back of her head.
we recall, was extradited from Vancouver in 1977 under false evidence
provided to Canadian courts by the FBI. He was subsequently tried and
convicted for the 1975 shoot-out at Oglala, S. Dakota, in which two
FBI agents were killed. During this same incident, the FBI shot &
killed AIM member Joseph Stuntz Killsright.
A basic principle
of any resistance movement is non-collaboration with our enemy. As
Peltier recently stated in regards to the arrest of John Graham:
"When we talk
of sovereignty, we must be willing to solve our own problems and not
go running to the oppressor for relief&ldots; We have been and still
are at odds with the most dangerous, well-funded, strongest military
and political organization in the history of the world [the US government]."
We must therefore
oppose the attempt to extradite John Graham to S. Dakota by US
authorities, and denounce the efforts by certain individuals in our
own community to facilitate this process.
In particular, we
must clarify that Kelly White, a local Native radio show host who has
conducted an ongoing campaign against John Graham, has never been a
leader, member, or advisor to the Native Youth Movement. Furthermore,
NYM Vancouver does not consider information provided by Ms. White to
In conclusion, no
member of NYM was involved in the conflicts of the 1970s. We weren't
there. We cannot say with certainty that John Graham did-- or did
not-- kill Anna Mae. We have neither the information nor witnesses at
our disposal to make such a decision.
What can be said
is that Anna Mae Aquash, along with many others, died as a direct
result of her commitment to the struggle for her people. She is an
example of all we aspire to be as a resistance movement. She was a
warrior, a veteran of the 71-day siege at Wounded Knee, 1973; a
community worker, who helped set up schools & camps. She promoted
traditional culture & spirituality. She gave her life for us,
knowing all along the consequences. That is why she is called a
result of any trials conducted in the court rooms of our oppressor,
the same ones' ultimately responsible for Anna Mae's death, we will
continue to advance in our movement towards victory, inspired by her
memory and her spirit.
Native Youth Movement
Salish Territory (Vancouver BC), [email protected]
We Are Wolves Not Sheep