Tag Archives: American Indian Movement

Man Arrested For Painting ‘AIM’ On US Flag Gets $55000 In Lawsuit


Associated Press | July 22, 2016 

PITTSBURGH – A man arrested for painting the letters “AIM” on an American flag that he flew upside-down at his house in protest has settled his free speech lawsuit against the township for more than $55,000.

Supervisors in Allegheny Township, Blair County, have approved letting their insurance company pay Joshuaa Brubaker, the Altoona Mirror first reported Friday. The supervisors approved a resolution on July 12 advising township police to no longer enforce the state’s flag desecration laws as part of the settlement, notice of which was filed Tuesday in federal court in Johnstown.

“The problem is that every couple years we get a report that someone’s been charged with insulting the flag or desecrating the flag under Pennsylvania laws,” said Sara Rose, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who filed the lawsuit in February. “The U.S. Supreme Court law is very clear that you cannot charge someone with using the flag for expressive purposes, like drawing on it or burning it.”

Brubaker, 39, is part Native American and says “AIM” stands for the American Indian Movement. Brubaker flew the flag on his porch in May 2014 about 90 miles east of Pittsburgh. He was protesting plans to route the proposed Keystone Pipeline through Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

Wounded Knee is the site of a U.S. Cavalry massacre of some 200 Lakota Indians in 1890. In 1973, the Indian reservation town of the same name was seized by AIM and other activists in a 71-day standoff with federal law enforcement.

The dispute with the township began when another resident — an Army veteran who also happens to be part Native American — was offended by the display and contacted police.

Leo Berg III, who was then assistant chief but now heads the township department, seized the flag and charged Brubaker with violating two state laws: insulting the national flag, a second-degree misdemeanor that carries up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine, and flag desecration, a third-degree misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

A Blair County judge dismissed the criminal charges against Brubaker a few months after they were filed, finding they didn’t apply in a case involving political speech.

Brubaker told The Associated Press when the lawsuit was filed why he displayed the flag the way he did.

“I figured with this generation, if someone drove by this house and saw AIM” that they’d search for the term online and learn more about the group and its causes, Brubaker said. Flying a flag upside-down is also a distress signal, and Brubaker said he believed the country is in distress.

Brubaker must pay his own attorneys’ fees and expenses and any taxes out of the $55,844 he’ll receive, according to the settlement.


WATCH: WARRIOR The Life of Leonard Peltier

Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier, produced and directed by Suzie Baer.

WARRIOR – The shocking, true story of Leonard Peltier, the American Indian leader locked away for life in Leavenworth Penitentiary, convicted of the alleged murder of two FBI agents during a bloody shoot-out on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. To understand Peltier’s story, a man who has come to symbolize the continued oppression of America’s indigenous peoples, Warrior takes us back to a look at his life, then role with the American Indian Movement and the violent confrontations at Pine Ridge and Wounded Knee in the Seventies, and today’s Indian reservations where the government’s plans for uranium mining and waste dumping are still being heatedly resisted by Indian activists. The heart of the documentary, is a detailed painstaking account of Peltier’s harrowing odyssey through the American justice system.

Peltier’s case has been shrouded in controversy and he is considered by Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Rev. Jesse Jackson, among many others, to be a political prisoner who should be immediately released.

As of 2016, Leonard Peltier is housed at Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Coleman, Florida.

This video is officially endorsed by Leonard Peltier and the L.P.D.C.

Demonstrators Planning Traditional Ceremonies At Kapyong Barracks

Kylo Prince, a Long Plain FN member who lives in Wpg and is one of 4 peaceful protestors planning to hold sweats and sacred ceremonies at Kapyong. They’ve been there since Sunday night.See Carol Sanders story. May 30, 2016.PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Free Press‎ | By: Carol Sanders, 05/30/2016

Until now, the Kapyong Barracks site sat idle for more than a decade, thanks to a legal battle between the federal government and Treaty One First Nations.

A small group of demonstrators planning traditional ceremonies for the next few weeks pitched a tent Sunday night and set a sacred fire on the edge of the property across the street from Tuxedo condos.

“We’re here peacefully,” said Kylo Prince, a Long Plain First Nation member who lives in Winnipeg. He said they want to hold ceremonies there for urban indigenous people and to share their culture and traditions with the non-indigenous community. Neighbours have shown curiosity and stopped by to speak to Prince who is accompanied by three other American Indian Movement members.

“We’ve mets lots of friendly people so far,” Prince said, as an elderly Caucasian man drove by slowly and gave the group a nod. Most have shown encouragement, said Prince. “Some people are saying ‘It’s about time’,” he said.

“We’ve had a few sour stares,” he admitted.

On Sunday night, the Winnipeg fire department visited the site and asked if they had a fire permit, said Prince.

“I said ‘we don’t need a permit – we have the UN declaration.’ ” Earlier this month, Canada committed its support to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which includes the right to practice their traditions and celebrate their culture.

“It put it to the test,” said Prince. The firefighters saw that they were taking care of the fire in a metal fireplace and left, he said. Winnipeg police showed up Monday morning and asked what was going on and left, he said.

On Monday morning, military police showed up and asked what they were doing there. The two officers advised the demonstrators to call if they needed help. “We certainly respect your cause,” said one of the officers who wear a red beret. “If you need something, let me know.”

Prince asked if they could help arrange to get them a porta-potty. The nearest public restroom is at Superstore on Grant Avenue or at IKEA on Route 90.

Culture and traditions

They’re not demonstrating because they want to take over the property, said Prince. They’re there to demonstrate their culture and traditions. He said he contacted the Long Plain First Nation Chief Dennis Meeches about his vision for the site. Meeches is the Treaty One chief who took the lead in a battle with the federal government over first dibs through the Treaty Land Entitlement process on the Crown land vacated by the military in 2004. When the federal government gave up the fight last year, the process then was stalled by first nation infighting. Prince said Meeches supports their demonstration at Kapyong and he was waiting for the chief to contact the Department of National Defence to unlock the gates to the property so they could enter it. Meeches did not respond to a request for comment Monday morning.

“Whether it’s First Nations land or not, we feel we have a right to be here,” said Prince.

“It might be a good way to see what our people are about,” said Harrison Friesen-Powder, a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in Alberta. “There have been a lot of judgments made.” He said Kapyong housed soldiers who’d experienced the pain and trauma of war and the site could use a spiritual cleansing.

“These ceremonies will help to heal that.”

Prince said Winnipeg’s First Nation people need healing, too, and the Kapyong ceremonies aim to help.

“We’re hoping to have a feast here on Father’s Day for murdered and missing (indigenous) men,” said Prince, acknowledging there are many more men than women missing and feared dead.

Prince and Friesen-Powder belong to the American Indian Movement and were joined at Kapyong by members from Quebec and Michigan who drove 35 hours to be there. When military police showed up Monday morning, the American who goes by Changes Wind Boy from Michigan covered his face with a bandana. He said the MPs were taking photos and he felt safer not having his photo distributed by police. The American showed a reporter his passport and said he arrived in Canada legally. He said the American Indian Movement has been associated with violence in the past but has learned peaceful methods are more effective.

“When you’re seen fighting against a government, there’s no way to win,” said the First Nation man from Michigan. They want to bring back ceremonies “and show people we can live peacefully among them.”


Read more by Carol Sanders.


Cleveland Indians Fan Apologizes To Native American Activist After Viral “Red Face” Photo

Cleveland Indians Fan Who Wore Red Face in Viral Picture Two Years Ago Returned to Apologize.

Cleveland Indians Fan Who Wore Red Face in Viral Picture Two Years Ago Returned to Apologize.

By Zak Cheney-Rice, April 6, 2016

Baseball is back, which means the return of great American pastimes like Sunday afternoon ballgames, peanuts, Cracker Jack… and racism:

But this year, something is different. The photo above, showing Cleveland Indians fan Pedro Rodriguez (right) confronting American Indian Movement activist Robert Roche (left) outside the ironically named Progressive Field in 2014 is back in the news — only this time, the story has a happy ending.

According to Indian Country Today Media Network, Rodriguez apologized to Roche on Monday for his ugly display two years back. “He approached me and apologized,” Roche told the media network. “It shocked me. I never expected [that]. He said he was an avid fan, but he was sorry and he understood where I was coming from now.”

Rodriguez had previously claimed he “was honoring Roche” by wearing the headdress and face paint, but has since changed his tune, ICTMNreported. Local indigenous activist Bee Schrull captured Monday’s apology in a photo:

The incident comes amid an intensifying debate about racism and professional sports mascots. The NFL’s Washington Redskins have long been at the center of the discussion, with activists on one side claiming the mascot is racist and fans on the other arguing that changing it would be a slap in the face to the team’s legacy.

Baseball is no stranger to the debate, either. The Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo — a cartoonish caricature of a Native American — has beencriticized for years, with some fans even going so far as to rip the offensive logo off their Cleveland paraphernalia when they go to games.

The practice is known as “de-Chiefing” and has become emblematic of the tension between people wanting to support their team but not wanting to support, you know, racism.

In this context, Rodriguez’s apology can be read as part of an encouraging personal evolution. Too bad the Cleveland Indians organization — which has been de-emphasizing the logo’s prominence for some time now — still has yet to follow suit.

h/t Indian Country Today Media Network


AFN Chief Apologizes To Anna Mae Aquash’s Daughter Over Leonard Peltier Statement

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

Bellegarde Apologizes To Anna Mae Aquash’s Daughter Over Statement About Leonard Peltier

According to APTN News Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said he’s sorry for the pain caused to the daughter of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash by his recent call for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to bring up the case of imprisoned American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier, with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Aquash’s daughter Denise Maloney Pictou released a statement expressing outrage over Bellegarde’s statement in support of Peltier. Pictou believes Peltier protected Aquash’s killers and was involved in events that led to her death.

“Our family and community are heartsick about this,” said Pictou, in the statement. “It was our hope that a (murdered and missing Indigenous women) inquiry would mean healing and continued justice for our MMIW families, this conflict and contradiction has thrown salt back into the wounds.”

Bellegarde told CBC News last week, he’d like to see Trudeau to bring up the Peltier case during a Washington D.C. visit.


Bellegarde said he was sorry for hurting the family and that he is planning on speaking with Pictou.

“I regret that my statement caused some hurt and pain and I apologize for the pain I caused her and her family,” said Bellegarde. “That wasn’t my intent.”

Bellegarde said he still would like to see Peltier freed. He said the case is a separate issue from AIM’s execution of Aquash.

“I called for that (Peltier’s release) because there is an injustice there,” said Bellegarde. “So I will continue to advocate for that.”

Bellegarde said two previous AFN national chiefs have made the same call which is also backed by Amnesty International and prominent individuals like the Dalai Lama.

Peltier was extradited from Canada to the U.S. in December 1976. He was eventually convicted in connection with the killing of two F.B.I. agents who were gunned down during a 1975 a shootout on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Aquash’s daughter said in the statement that Peltier interrogated Aquash at gunpoint and knew who was behind her killing.

Former AIM members Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham were convicted of killing Aquash. U.S. authorities believe the two men were likely acting on orders that came from the AIM hierarchy which believed Aquash was an informant.

[Full Story]