Hi all! And re. Whiteclay...

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Posted by Petra on July 14, 1999 at 02:44:25:

Hello again, everyone! We just returned from a great vacation "up north" to a humid (monsoon season) Arizona. On our tour, we came through Idaho (My Hubby's uncle lives on Shoshone-Bannock Rez.), the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone (seen buffalos, a baby eagle looking down from its nest, and even a grizzly from safe distance!), Crow Agency and the Little Bighorn Battlefield (remembered all your great explanations from long ago, Rich), the Badlands Natl. Park in South Dakota, and also Wounded Knee. Drove through Pine Ridge and Whiteclay several times this past Saturday and Sunday (and yep, I'm really back in AZ right now, due to my dear husband's maniac-like, 16 hours almost non-stop drive yesterday from Cheyenne/Wyoming to Phoenix, but that's another story...

Regarding Whiteclay and the posts further down: I hadn't read about that at all, but heard an interesting comment. While we were at the memorial at Wounded Knee, a truck came up the hill to us and a friendly officer introduced himself as the local Conservation Officer (forgot to ask him what a conservation officer does, but he seemed to have some police-type functions) and we chatted for a while. We asked him about the events in 73 and he talked a little about the location and that he was a little boy at the time and how he used to come during the day to look for empty bullet shells. All that time I had looked for that little white church that Russell Means describes as the place where they held out and that is pictured in his book. "Right here!" that officer explained. We were standing right next to its ruins. He said, the local people were so angry at all those events that after everything was over, they came and destroyed it. He continued: "And the same thing is going on right now again!" and said that AIM is bringing in people from places like Minnesota and that they are the ones throwing rocks. And he said something about them causing troubles with Nebraska. Very interesting, I thought. For sure controversial comments. But it's not the first time I hear this from people who live up there. I have heard people say before that Russell Means is not considered a local on the Rez'es up there, but as an Indian who grew up in the S.F. Bay area and who shouldn't speak for the people who live on the reservation. Not my words. Just thought that was interesting.

By the way, we also came through Whiteclay a couple of times (on the way to and from our motel in Rushville/Nebraska), that's a dead little place of 22 inhabitants! Looked like a ghost town of 10 buildings or less to me, dusty and faded. Yep, seen the two stores. Didn't know at the time that those were the issue.

Well, I guess I just wanted to remind everyone that there are probably many sides to these issues and it may not simply be "people vs. government".

Regards, Petra.

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