Wounded Knee’s Radical Legacy

Joel Whitney in the Boston Review:

In 1973 rookie reporter Kevin McKiernan smuggled himself onto the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation in the trunk of a car, hoping to cover the takeover of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Embedded with activists of the American Indian Movement (AIM)—who clamored for control of their communities and an end to slum conditions, McKiernan filmed their conflicts with Tribal Chair Richard (“Dickie”) Wilson, his armed supporters who called themselves Guardians of Oglala Nation (GOONs), and the government agents backing them. Despite a media blackout, McKiernan sat in on AIM negotiations with the Nixon administration, earning on-camera glares from negotiator Kent Frizzell. As a settlement was hammered out between the groups, McKiernan buried his film in a hole and smuggled himself out of the encampment. Arrests followed, his included. Six weeks later, he returned to Wounded Knee to recover his footage.

In his 2019 documentary, which combines the footage of the seventy-one-day occupation with interviews conducted decades later, McKiernan crisply narrates these events, during which government agents shot and killed two Indigenous activists and wounded many more.

More here.