Over 200 people gathered at the Little Family cemetary to pray and dedicate headstones for Joseph Stuntz and Anna Mae Aquash.
People from all over the world including Canada, Mexico, France, the Pine Ridge Reservation and other Lakota communities attended the memorial. The event began with a walk from the site of the 1975 Oglala shoot-out on the land of the Jumping Bull family to the Little Family cemetary about 11 miles east.
At the cemetary numerous community members talked about Mr. Stuntz and Ms. Aquash. A Kit Fox death song from the days of Crazy Horse was sung by elder Russell Loud Hawk.
A Lakota prayer ceremony was conducted by Lakota spiritual leader Wilmer Mesteth who offered spirit food and cedared the headstones.
"This is for those who gave their lives for the people. This is the ceremonial way of life to remember our elders."
Headstones, which read as follows, were placed at the head of each grave:
Joseph Bedell Stuntz, Sr.
Incident at Oglala Warrior
American Indian Movement Patriot
C'oeur D'Alene Tribe
Oct 22, 1951 - June 26, 1975
Anna Mae Pictou (Aquash)
Warrior Woman Wounded Knee 1973
American Indian Movement Patriot
Shubenakadie, Nova Scotia
March 27, 1945 - Feb. 1976
"It has been over 20 years, and the headstones are long overdue for these great warriors," Leonard Peltier said on a prerecorded tape. Mr. Peltier is serving two consecutive life sentences for the deaths of two FBI agents as a result of the 1975 Oglala shoot-out.
"We wanted to make sure Mr. Stuntz and Ms. Aquash were not forgotten for their sacrifices, and the presence of the people today proves they have not been," memorial organizer Edgar Bear Runner said.
Joseph Stuntz was killed during a shoot-out on June 26, 1975, between American Indian Movement members and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Stuntz was living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation along with Mr. Peltier.
"Joe was raised in a non-Indian home, and when he joined the AIM, he became proud of his Indian roots," Mr. Peltier said. "He just wanted to help out his Indian people any way he could."
Anna Mae Aquash was found dead in the Badlands on the Pine Ridge Reservation on Feb 24, 1976. She was a 1973 Wounded Knee participant and was closely associated with Mr. Peltier.
"I remember Anna Mae when she told me she cared about how the people were being treated on the reservation, and she told me 'I want to be buried in Oglala,'" elder Celene Not Help Him said.
The cause of her death has been controversial. A renewed investigation by former US Marshal Robert Ecoffey began in 1994. FBI media contact person Colleen Rowley verified Ms. Aquash's murder investigation is still pending today.
Wasichu has reopened the investigation into the Death of Anna Mae...in April, 1996 the U.S. Marshall who was in charge of the "investigation" was relieved of his duties in this investigation. The men in charge are now the U.S Attorney of South Dakota and the FBI. There are some who are of the opinion that this Change-of-Investigation-Command has been prompted by the uncovering of Cointelpro involvement in Anna Mae's death or because indictments are about to be handed down.
Will anyone familiar with the names Arlo Lookingcloud, John Boy Patten, and Theda Clark contact me privately...]