Sunday, January 06, 2008

"Accounting For Native American Deaths" by the Minneapolis FBI

"The trust and help of reservation residents are vital to the accomplishment of our sworn duty."--Minneapolis FBI

The fired University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill once claimed that FBI-backed death squads murdered 342 Indians on Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Churchill made this fantastic claim in a 1985 article titled "The Covert War Against Native Americans" [The Covert Action Information Bulletin, (Summer 1985 issue.), Number 24 pp. 16-21. C.A.I.B., P.O. Box 34583, Washington, D.C. 20043].

See also here.

The C.A.I.B. was not a scholarly publication; it was a propaganda mouthpiece of the KGB and Cuban intelligence. The purpose of this publication was to discredit the FBI and CIA, not to help Indians. [See this post for scholarly commentary about the C.A.I.B. by a British professor named Christopher Andrew, the author of several books based on information smuggled out of the Soviet KGB archives by a defector named Vasili Mitrokhin.]

According to Joseph and John Trimbach, the authors of American Indian Mafia, it is some old leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM) who have skeletons in their closets, not the FBI.

The Minneapolis FBI has a document posted on its site that responds to Churchill's apocryphal claims:

Accounting For Native American Deaths
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
Report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Minneapolis Division May 2000

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and its Agents in South Dakota can only operate effectively where we have the trust and help of the American people. For South Dakota, much of our work revolves around crimes occurring in Indian Country. The trust and help of reservation residents are vital to the accomplishment of our sworn duty.

For many years, rumors of unresolved murders of Native Americans have come to our attention. At times, these allegations represented that there were hundreds of murdered Native Americans that had not been investigated by the FBI. The names of murder victims were not attached to the rumors and addressing the allegations could not be accomplished.

In December of 1999, the South Dakota Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (Commission) held a community forum in Rapid City, South Dakota to discuss the criminal justice system and how it impacts Native Americans. These allegations were proffered during the hearings and the Commission was sufficiently impressed by them to incorporate the allegation in its findings. (See Native Americans in South Dakota: An Erosion of Confidence in the Justice System, March 2000; p. 38)

Shortly after the forum, the FBI received a list of fifty-seven names with allegations that their deaths had not been investigated. This list came from a number of media outlets and for the first time, provided the FBI with specific information to address. We reviewed our records of these deaths and found that most had been solved either through conviction or finding that the death had not been a murder according to the law. The remaining unresolved murders were known to the FBI and remain under investigation.

The following pages include the allegation and the results of our investigations. The names of unindicted suspects and some other identifying information must be excluded to protect privacy interests. It is hoped the dissemination of this information will clear up allegations of unresolved murders and protect the confidence the FBI must have to accomplish its mission.

Douglas J. Domin Special Agent in Charge (May 2000)Minneapolis Division [Full text includes information about the results of the investigations]

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