Hundreds gather to celebrate 40th anniversary of occupation of W - KOTA Territory News

Hundreds gather to celebrate 40th anniversary of occupation of Wounded Knee


On February 27, 1973 American Indian activists took over the village of Wounded Knee.

Wednesday people gathered to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the standoff.

 "For 71 days this place right here held the attention of the world," said Herb Powless who was at the Wounded Knee standoff in 1973.

In 1973 the world watched as American Indian activists brought attention to the plight of the Lakota.

"We fought for the rights of our people and the government can't control the Indian people all the time," said Clifton Desersa as he remembers fighting in the standoff.

That fight was in the form of a standoff with the Federal Government.

"It was a very hostile and scary situation not only with the federal government but with the goon squad that existed on the reservation," said Susie Barta who was 16 when she was at the 1973 standoff.

Now, 40 years later, community members gather on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to commemorate the occupation with a march to wounded knee.

It's a march to remember.

"I ended up losing a brother that got killed in Wanblee," said Desersa.

"I remember traveling through here during Wounded Knee. There were non-natives in their vehicles with guns and rifles sticking out of the windows," said Barta.

A march to celebrate what so many died for.

"To bring back our culture which was fading away and to have a sense of identity that was being taken away from us," said Louis Bear Eagle whose father was at the 1973 standoff.

"If we didn't do this our kids would not have a chance," said Barta.

And a march toward the future.

"It looks like the Lakota culture is flourishing, coming back stronger than ever and it's good to be a part of that," said Bear Eagle.

"We'll be fighting the government for the rest of our lives," said Desersa.

But some of those who marched say it's a fight that's far from over.

"This has been happening since 1492 when you came over here," said Powless.

"It's a story that will probably never end," said Desersa.

Four groups of people marched from four different directions, all meeting up at Wounded Knee.

This was the first year without Russell Means; a well known AIM member.

People say while his work for AIM will always be remembered; his work was especially celebrated during Wednesday's ceremonies.



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