Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Grave's Mistakes (12-25-06) by Joseph H. Trimbach

This Christmas (2007), the retired FBI agent Joseph H. Trimbach and his son John published the definitive study of the American Indian Movement (AIM). The Trimbachs' book is titled The American Indian Mafia. [paperback or $5 e-book here]

A year before his book was published, Mr. Trimbach published a Christmas 2006 article in News From Indian Country called "Grave's Mistakes" [Scroll down].

Mr. Trimbach's article criticized the writers Peter Matthiessen and Steve Hendricks for writing false histories that rationalized the terrorism perpetrated by the American Indian Movement and vilified the FBI.

"Grave's Mistakes" begins:

Lately, there’s been much discussion about Pine Ridge history of the 1970s, or the version of it that militant members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) would have us believe. Most historical texts follow suit: AIM was essentially an altruistic group of folks somehow badgered into committing acts of mayhem and murder. Few have challenged the fiction largely because books which promote the myths are usually well received; the more fraudulent the better. At the top of the heap is Peter Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, best known for breathing life into the Leonard Peltier legend...

Now comes young Steve Hendricks, Matthiessen’s heir apparent to conspiracy theory and shoddy research. Hendricks’s book, The Unquiet Grave, enlarges the government plot against AIM with new falsehoods deemed necessary to protect the legacy.

Grave’s war against the FBI follows Spirit’s same damned-if-they do/don’t reasoning. If the FBI investigated serious crimes on the reservation, it was interference and harassment. If the FBI failed to investigate, it was callous indifference or, as Hendricks often suggests, a cover-up. Rather than show new insight into AIM’s well-kept secrets, Hendricks shows only that he is another partisan who dares not look at the takeover of Wounded Knee village or any other AIM-led disaster with a critical eye. The politics just won’t allow it...[Scroll down to the full text]

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