Page 10


We’re where you want to be in New York City . . . at 55th St. and Seventh Avenue, close to business, City Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Coliseum, Fifth Avenue, 700 decorated, airconditioned rooms with private bath and free television . . . Fine restaur ant, cocktail lounge and garage. TELE: 212 Circle 7-3900 NEW YORK’S or toll free 800/424-8820 HOTEL el 4 /ling 871 Seventh Avenue at 55th Street, N.Y.C. 10019 o .1 t lo 11 IJILL1 1 1111111111 11 1 11111111/ II ra r.B…15 5s col 1111 The Observer goes to South Dakota Sioux Falls THURSDAY, MAY 16 Crow Dog’s peyote ceremony lasted all night long. I decided not to go since I was bushed from being on an airplane all day. Instead, I shared a crowded room with four legal workers in the Van Brunt, a condemned flophouse that the Catholic Church rents for AIM at the princely sum of $1 a month. It’s worth every penny of it. We lay K.N. recently spent a week in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the Wounded Knee Legal Defense / Offense Committee, a group working with the American Indian 14 The Texas Observer When you move, it isn’t enough just to furnish the Post Office with your new address. Please drop us a change of address card, too; and send along an old mailing label from your Observer, if you have it. This way, you’ll be assured of having the next issue properly mailed to your new address, since we can implement an address change up to two days before an issue is printed and mailed . . . provided we hear directly from you. Thanks. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W 7, Austin Texas 78701 there on cots and matresses, listening to the drums and singing welling up from the floor below. Not all of the Indians went to the ceremony. Some are mad at Crow Dog for letting a white man film the Ghost Dance. Others just don’t think peyote has any part in the American Indian Movement. Still, everybody seems to agree that AIM is basically a spiritual trip, an attempt to regain a traditional Indian way of life. Neither alcohol nor drugs is allowed in the Van Brunt. Drunks are escorted out by the AIM security force. Today was the first day of court in the Custer trial since the “fracas” two weeks ago. “Fracas” is Judge Joseph Bottum’s word. Angered by the judge’s handling of jury selection, the. Indian defendants refused to rise when he entered the courtroom. The next day, the defendants and 14 AIM men wouldn’t leave the courtroom and so the newly-formed State Tactical Squad, in full riot gear, removed them by force. The AIM folks say it was a police riot and I tend to agree with them. David Hill, a handsome young Choctaw who’s one of the defendants, got a concussion and was partially blinded. He’s not so handsome any more. Eight people had to be taken to the hospital. While the cops were having their fling upstairs, Indians who hadn’t been allowed into the courthouse got very agitated and broke a bunch of windows downstairs. Lots of people were arrested. Now the trial has been moved to the Civil Defense Building, where a courtroom of sorts was constructed over the weekend. To get into the building you first leave briefcases, handbags, etc., to be searched by marshals. Then you walk through a metal detector and get the once over with a hand held electronic sensing device. A marshal or a matron gives you a pat search for weapons and then you are admitted to the tiny ersatz courtroom, that is, if you’re a lawyer, legal worker, defendant, member of a defendant’s family or member of the press. Restrooms are unlocked only during recesses. The potential jurors drive to the Minehaha Courthouse, where they can view the boarded up windows that were broken during the “fracas.” From there they are loaded on a bus and taken to the Civil Defense Building. They’re lined up on folding metal chairs in the kitchen and allowed to meditate on the sink until such time as they are called into the courtroom. The defendants are charged with riot where arson was committed. It seems that during a demonstration in Custer, S.D., in February of ’73 the Chamber of Commerce was burned to the ground and the courthouse, a filling station and the Standard bulk plant were damaged. In Saint Paul, where the AIM “leadership” is on trial for the Wounded Knee takeover, Dennis Banks wears a T-shirt that says, “Custer had it coming.” FRIDAY, MAY 17 Today I checked out the other Indian trial now in progress in Sioux Falls. It involves three young Sioux women from the Pine Ridge Reservation who were arrested at a roadblock coming out of Wounded Knee the first night of the siege there last year. They’re charged with larceny and burglary. To get from the defense office to the federal courthouse, you walk four blocks down Phillips Avenue, through the main downtown shopping area. The city recently spent $785,000 in federal funds to pave over two blocks of Phillips for a shopping mall. Starting today there are three days of dedication festivities. Gov . Richard Kneip was on hand this afternoon to congratulate Sioux Falls for “the competitive spirit of your business community.” While the governor was encouraging South ,Dakota’s sturdy burghers to consume, consume, consume, the white proprietor of the Wounded Knee Trading Post was on the stand at the federal courthouse. He took the Fifth more than 85 times during questioning about usurious interest rates at the store, about credit saturation and monopoly practices, about intercepting Indians’ government checks and other shady doings that result in reservation residents owing their souls to the company st o’. The federal prosecutors insisted that James Czywczynski’s business practices are not an issue in the trial. But the defense lawyers maintain that if Indians did happen to relieve the trading post of some of its merchandise, they simply were claiming what already belonged to them as a result