May 03, 2010

Helicopters invited to Wounded Knee

Helicopters attempt to land at Wounded Knee

By Meredith Garofalo"We didn't know why they were coming into Wounded Knee. We didn't know what their purposes were," New Holy said.

But, New Holy and many others say they are extremely upset about what they say was a near invasion on their sacred ground.

"That was an insult," New Holy said. "We do not want the 7th Calvary at any given time or any other military forces at any given time allowed on that site."

New Holy and other sources now say they found out Sunday that Oglala Sioux Tribe chairwoman Theresa Two Bull and others may have pre-arranged for the military to come to the reservation and issue a statement of apology to them.
Update:  Military helicopters turned away from Wounded Knee had been invited

By Steve YoungColorado Army National Guardsmen attempting to land helicopters at the Wounded Knee memorial site Saturday were rebuffed by protesters who considered their presence insulting.

Oglala Sioux tribal officials had agreed to allow the guardsmen to land at Wounded Knee site to hear an educational and historical presentation on the massacre.

Marie Fox Belly, great-granddaughter of Wounded Knee massacre survivor Dewey Beard, said the presentation she was going to make to the guardsmen was meant to help them learn about the massacre and ensure such things never happened again.

But about 16 protesters drove the three helicopters away after one had touched down for a minute or two in a flat just southeast of the mass grave, Fox Belly said.
Apology issued after CO guard turned away from Wounded Knee

By Joey BunchOglala Sioux Tribal President Theresa B. Two Bulls issued a written apology today for a protest that turned back three Colorado Army National Guard helicopters at the Wounded Knee historical site Saturday morning.

The helicopters from Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora had been invited to land at the site in South Dakota to hear from descendants of survivors of the 1890 Wounded Knee conflict in which 146 Lakota Sioux men, women and children were killed by U.S. Army Cavalry soldiers.

Two Bulls' written statement said protestors were given "false information" about the event, but she did not say what that information was and did not immediately return a telephone call for further comment.

Her statement said the Colorado guardsmen "came here with an open mind and hearts and wanted to know the real history. There are many groups out there who are angry at the perceived 'invasion' of the sacred massacre site."

The Colorado Army National Guard had volunteered to participate in the event set up by Sioux historians. Protestors told local TV Kota Territory News Sunday they were upset that Army helicopters intended to land on ground they considered sacred, and they did not know where the Army aircraft were from or why they were landing at there.
Protesters keep Guard aircraft out of Wounded Knee event

By Steve YoungPresident Theresa Two Bulls of the Oglala Sioux Tribe apologized to descendants of the massacre victims and survivors if they believed allowing the helicopters to land at the site was disrespectful.

"My vision as a leader was to begin the healing process," Two Bulls said. "In keeping the spirit of healing moving forward, our stories need to be told."

When the Colorado National Guard inquired of the tribal parks and recreation department about coming to Wounded Knee, Two Bulls said she sought input from Wounded Knee District representatives about the request and heard nothing back.

She said she also went on the tribal radio station, KILI, the day before the visit and talked about the event at Wounded Knee. She said permission was given to the Colorado guardsmen to land.

"There was a lack of communication," Two Bulls said. "I should have communicated myself with everybody."
Comment:  Oops! Kind of a big misunderstanding there.

The 7th Calvary or "other military forces"? The initial report strongly suggested it was the 7th Cavalry, period. I guess that was just made-up hype--i.e., fiction.

Obviously there was a major miscommunication between tribal officials and members. Two Bulls contacted the parks and recreation department...and took the lack of response as a sign to go ahead? She went on the radio the day before...and assumed everyone in the tribe heard her?

I'd say she should've announced this symbolic event a couple months in advance and discussed it thoroughly with tribal members. Ronald Reagan's controversial visit to the Bitburg cemetery in 1985 was about as sensitive, and it took four months of planning and debate. You don't carry out something like that with a single phone call and radio announcement.

Alas, it seems the reconciliation between the US military and the Lakota people will take a little longer to achieve.

For more on the subject, see Lakota Oppose Copters at Wounded Knee.

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