[News] AIM Women: Infiltration and Stalking by US Agents
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Nov 26 14:49:13 EST 2010
AIM Women: Infiltration and Stalking by US Agents
- November 26, 2010 at 4:50 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- Women in the American Indian Movement shared stories
of lives lived with great courage, as federal agents stalked them and
attempted to intimidate them, during the AIM International Conference
The AIM Women's Leadership panel brought together five AIM women to
share their life stories. Anne Begay, Navajo, was among them. Begay
is the mother of Kathy Peltier, the daughter of Leonard Peltier.
Begay spoke of her Dine' family, a medicine family of men and women
medicine people, who provided her with a childhood of structure, rich
with history and culture.
After returning from the Longest Walk in 1978, Begay took her
daughter Kathy to the park one day. Her daughter was about two years
old at the time.
"This gentleman sat down next to me, with shiny shoes."
He began to question her. "Who's her father?"
"None of your business," Begay told him. He persisted with his
questions and referred to the murder of Anna Mae Aquash.
He said, "Well, we know who you are. And if you're smart, you'll know
what we did to Anna Mae can happen to your daughter too."
"So, for all those years, it has been terrifying," Begay said, "to
know that they can do that to my daughter."
Speaking on the panel, Yvonne Swan, Colville from Washington State,
spoke of being under government surveillance in the 1970s, because
Leonard Peltier was her friend, and Bill Kunstler was her lawyer.
Swan spoke of learning to become aware of the men "with shiny shoes,"
and men in suits, parked in unmarked cars. She trained her children
to watch for these men, and once her son was grabbed by one of them,
but was able to get away.
During her fight against corporate mining, she also watched for those
federal agents that stalked members of the American Indian Movement.
"The government is merely a screen for the rich corporations," Swan
said. "They have the money to buy people off, they have the money to
send people in to disrupt. "But don't ever underestimate the power of
Opening the panel discussion, Swan said the voices on the panel were
coming from the hearts and spirits of the women.
"We're survivors of abuse as women, as is Mother Earth, as is
Speaking of the importance of the American Indian Movement, Swan said
she takes her actions seriously and holds herself accountable. "We're
caretakers, we are up against the destroyers."
"We are told to not take more than we need, because there are future
generations that are coming that will be hungry."
Swan pointed out that the Six Nations model of governance became the
model for the US Bill of Rights. However, the US removed the aspects
of the Six Nations governance that gave US women power and
leadership. Ultimately, the US tortured and imprisoned women in the
US as they fought for their right to vote.
Swan also pointed out the role of the Pope that resulted in American
Indians being called "Savages."
Madonna Thunderhawk, Lakota, said the struggles are
intergenerational, the struggles for the "land, water, our people,
"The work continues, the struggle continues." Thunderhawk said she
has continued to struggle since the 1960s in South Dakota, because
this is what the movement taught her. "I learned not to just sit back
Thunderhawk said she appreciated seeing the youths present at the
conference, and that Clyde Bellecourt's talks always fire her up.
Corine Fairbanks of Santa Barbara, Calif., AIM, spoke of watching out
for personal egos and those on Facebook who pose as traditional
Indians, but are actually New Agers. Fairbanks also spoke of
disruptions, with people carrying out the work of federal agents by
spreading negative comments. Speaking on infiltration, Fairbanks
pointed out that even small groups of peace activities are targeted
for infiltration by US agents.
Morning Star Gali, Pit River, born in the AIM Oakland house, said
organizing within the movement has been an honor.
"For me, the movement was always grounded in a place of spirituality
and love, that was the movement I was raised in."
Morning Star spoke of bullying and abuse. She encouraged women to
support one another. "We're survivors, we're survivors of rape, we're
survivors of abuse."
Watch this webcast, recorded live by Earthcycles:
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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