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May 18, 1997

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Senate Indian Affairs Committee
380 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D. C. 20510-0605

Dear Senator Nighthorse Campbell:

On February 24, 1976, my cousin, Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, was found murdered in a ravine on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Her hands were severed by the FBI for fingerprints in an unprecedented manner and supposedly sent to Washington, D. C., for identification. An initial autopsy was observed by the FBI, and Anna Mae was buried before identification, as a Jane Doe, with autopsy results indicating her death to be from exposure. The family requested a second autopsy which revealed an obvious bullet hole in the back of the head. These facts you are probably already aware of; however, an official resolution of her murder has never happened.

It has come to my attention that her murderers are known, but they have never been prosecuted. Arlo Looking Cloud is one of the perpetrators. It is my understanding, that he has been given IMMUNITY in lieu of his testimony by the State Attorney's Office in South Dakota. Arlo stated that he was accompanied by Theda Nelson Clark and John Boy Patton. My question is, how did the Attorney's Office have the right to allow IMMUNITY to him. Since the other two have not been prosecuted, perhaps they have been given IMMUNITY also. John Boy Patton, the actual trigger man, is apparently in Canada. I wonder if the Canadian government is protecting him under the same statute.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, I feel entitled as both a citizen and a blood relative to information involving the murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. Since twenty-one years have passed, and many investigations have taken place, I feel obligated to request the information that has been accumulted since the beginning.

As a family member doing research, it amazes me that in our country in which a situation like Wounded Knee took place, over 60 deaths are still unaccountable for. It is time to bring this situation to closure. Questions arise in the death of Joseph Stuntz, killed June 26, 1975. FBI involvement has been documented, and of course the COINTELPRO procedures were inacted against its own citizens. Who is accountable for this? As a Marine Corps Vietnam combat veteran, I feel that Wounded Knee and the years 1973-76 were not too much different than the tactics used in Vietnam, the difference being these tactics were used against our own citizens. Are we to let this slide forever?

I have major questions in regards to Leonard Peltier's incarceration. This man is needed by his people and should be there to help them. Mr. Dennis Banks is presently working on this, so my comments will be kept limited at this time.

Native people everywhere need the opportunity to grow. For that to happen, they need the opportunity to heal. We still have issues that have not been resolved with Wounded Knee, unsolved murders, and a man behind bars for a generation. Some state that he is a political prisoner being used as a scapegoat.

Senator, what would you suggest as a next step? This problem is obviously not going away. In fact, with the passing of time, there is a resurgence among the people to find truth and justice. They say you are an good and honest man. How do we get the power of truth in motion when we are being blocked from the facts and information? Can you help us to get the facts revealed?

It always comes back to the same questions with me. Pine Ridge and the FBI had seen Anna Mae many times. People tell me they offered to identify her body at the morgue, but nobody was allowed to. Her hands were cut off, but why? That is not the standard way to get fingerprints or get a body identified. Why was an obvious bullet hole overlooked? What were they covering up? Why was a snitch jacket put upon her? Who instigated that rumor and why? Upon her second burial, her body was still identifiable by her associates. Countless questions remain unanswered throughout the decades. I do believe that there are those out there that already know all the answers. These answers need to be revealed to put this whole situation at rest.

Senator, I am asking for your help in the following:

  1. A Congressional investigation of FBI involvement in Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservation activities from 1972 through 1977. This would include the investigation of COINTELPRO activities. There was a Congressional Hearing scheduled for those activities in June, 1975, that never took place. Was this conveniently overlooked?
  2. The selling and trading off of Reservation land which coincided with the shooting of two FBI agents, for which Leonard Peltier is still incarcerated.
  3. The reopening of the Leonard Peltier case.
  4. The consideration of clemency for Leonard Peltier, who has already served his time.
  5. The consideration of clemency for Leonard Peltier, who has already served his time.
  6. The investigation of over 60 unsolved murders.
  7. The release of FBI files, grand jury testimonies, and governmental investigations of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.
  8. The prosecution of ALL the people who were involved in Anna Mae's murder.

All of the above relate to each other, in my estimation. When we look at the situations of Ruby Ridge, Waco, and recent reports of the FBI discrepancies regarding laboratory reports, it creates doubt in one's mind. Many people, including myself, believe our civil rights have been violated.

Our country originally was built upon the strength and heart of the people. Some people have lost heart due to unanswered questions and lies. As a man of position, representing the people, we are asking you to help bring back the heart of the nation.

Thank you for any assistance you may offer.

In the Spirit of Anna Mae,

Robert A. Pictou-Branscombe

P. O. Box 681
Rimrock, AZ 86335
(520) 567-7229

By My Signature I Support The Call For Justice For Anna Mae
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