In First Look at We Shall Remain, I commented on the Wounded Knee episode, saying:
As such, I think its unfair of you to imply that Wounded Knee could only be a symbol of Native power and independence by way of the deceitful tactics of a spin doctoring.
You could say both were trying to rally Americans to the cause. Or you could say both were trying minimize (cover up) the disheartening news. But I don't think they were literally trying to deceive the public. They were trying to shade the truth--to sugar-coat it.
If you ask me, a liar is someone who says black is white. In contrast, a spin doctor says gray is really off-off white. I'd say there's a difference.
In short, I don't think spinning is always negative. I definitely don't think it's always deceitful.
On to Wounded Knee
I agree with you that Wounded Knee II, Alcatraz, etc. were grand gestures and symbols of Native power and independence. I didn't mean to say they weren't.
Perhaps I should've said, "Dennis Banks, Russell Means, John Trudell et al. are spinning this incident as a grand gesture of Native power and independence and nothing else." In other words, they're saying Wounded Knee II was a positive event with no negative repercussions--no downside.
Having watched the episode, I'd say my impression was right. The AIM leaders did spin Wounded Knee as a grand gesture of Native power and independence and nothing else. They didn't say one word about the lives lost, the property destroyed, or AIM's implosion as a political force. The narrator hinted at a few negatives, but they didn't.
I understand what they were doing; it's probably not wise to admit malfeasance on camera. And I agree about Wounded Knee's symbolic importance. But I still say their comments were spinning. A more honest appraisal would've gone something like this:
But still, it was a grand gesture of Native power and independence. Wounded Knee saw a group of Indians with hunting rifles standing up against the mechanized armed forces of the United States. The spirit of those Indians is what we value, regardless of the controversial circumstances that brought them there.
I'd say you put a positive spin on Wounded Knee. They put a much more positive spin on it. The critics put a wholly negative spin on it. I, of course, have presented both sides fairly and impartially. <g>
For more on the subject, see Controversy in Wounded Knee and Review of Wounded Knee.