Wounded Knee (S.D.) -- History -- Indian occupation, 1973
The majority of Pearse-Hocker's momentous negatives give eyewitness account to two weeks of both the mundane and brutal reality of daily life during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The takeover of the town and the conflict between about 200 members of AIM (American Indian Movement, the Native American civil rights activist organization begun in the 1968) and the United States Marshals Service began on February 27 and lasted for 71 days, resulting in tragedy on both sides of the conflict. Members of AIM along with some local Oglala (Lakota) Sioux from the local reservation took over the town in protest against the United States Government's history of broken treaties with various Native groups, the poverty and maltreatment of Native populations, as well as in defiance against the corruption and paternalism within the local subsidiary of the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs). The siege finally came to an end on May 5 when members of AIM and the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the US Justice Department Harlington Wood Jr. settled on a ceasefire. Kent Frizzell served as Chief Government Negotiator in the capacity of Assistant Attorney General (Land and Natural Resources Division, U. S. Department of Justice) and later as Solicitor, U. S. Department of the Interior. Among those pictured both during and post-conflict are AIM activists Dennis Banks, Clyde and Vernon Bellecourt, Ted and Russell Means, Frank Clearwater, Wallace Black Elk and Anna Mae Pictou Aquash. A small number of negatives also document AIM's takeover of the BIA building and the AIM Powwow both in Minneapolis in 1970.
Negatives: organized in binders; arranged in sleeves by strip and image number, interspersed with relevant applicable contact sheets
Anne Pearse-Hocker is a photojournalist who first encountered the American Indian Movement while a student on assignment for a journalism class at the University of Kansas. Her photographs document some very important moments in the early history of the American Indian Movement (AIM).
Pearse-Hocker was scheduled to interview the area director of the BIA in Minneapolis in the spring of 1970 as part of an Investigative Reporting class, and walked into the middle of an AIM occupation of the building, which she documented on film and with taped interviews. She stayed well past her spring break plans to use this opportunity to develop contacts with AIM leaders Clyde Bellecourt and Dennis Banks.
Her connections came in handy in 1973 during the occupation of Wounded Knee. Pearse-Hocker sneaked into the compound with a CBS news crew at night, and was allowed to remain due to her acquaintance with Banks, who remembered her from Minneapolis. She had strategically arrived the evening before the standoff was supposed to end, but when the settlement negotiations fell through, she remained in the compound for an additional few weeks, documenting the daily events including the firefight that claimed Frank Clearwater's life.
Pearse-Hocker returned to Wounded Knee in 1998 to revisit the site on the 25th anniversary of the occupation, and documented the experience for the journal 'Native Americas' (Spring 1998 issue) with new photographs of some of the survivors of the event.
After a career of news photography in broadcast journalism, she is retired and living in Montana.
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Copyright: Anne Pearse-Hocker, 1973. Researchers must contact copyright holder for permissions, reproductions, and use.
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Photograph depicting American Indian Movement (AIM) leader Dennis Banks. Photograph by Richard Mathis at the Lumbee Cultural Center, NC, in 2016.
Gift of Richard Mathis, 2022.
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); General Photograph collections, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Use of electronic records with no duplicate copies requires advance notice.
Parish Gallery records, 1940-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.