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Guardians of the Oglala Nation

The Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs) was a private paramilitary group active on the Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the early 1970s.

Contents

FormationEdit

On November 10, 1972, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council passed several resolutions in response to the Bureau of Indian Affairs building takeover. One criticized the American Indian Movement (AIM) for the destruction of records in the building takeover; another authorized the tribal president, Dick Wilson, “to take whatever action that he felt would be necessary to protect the lives and property and to insure the peace and dignity of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.”[1]

Wilson soon used this authority to create a new private police force, which critics called “the goon squad.” Members adopted the label as an acronym.[2][3] The GOONs were financed through the tribal government. Peter Matthiessen alleges funding came through misappropriation of a federal highway safety program.[4]

GOONs soon were accused of intimidation of, and violence against, Wilson's political opponents.[5][6]

Wounded KneeEdit

On February 27, 1973, the Wounded Knee incident began when local protesters and AIM activists seized the village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. A 71-day standoff with law enforcement commenced. During the standoff, GOONs exchanged gunfire with the occupiers. GOONs also placed their own roadblocks.[7]

After Wounded KneeEdit

Fighting between GOONs and AIM militants continued after Wounded Knee. In the next three years, it has been claimed by AIM that over sixty died violently on the reservation, however this has been contested by Tim Giago, editor and publisher at the time of Indian Country Today. GOONs were accused of assault, murder, and arson.[8][9][10] GOON activities during the 1974 tribal election led the United States Civil Rights Commission to report “a climate of fear and tension.”[11]

Al Trimble succeeded Wilson as tribal president in 1976. He listed disbanding the GOONs as the first order of business,[12] and the militia faded away thereafter.[13]

References in popular cultureEdit

GOONs are portrayed in the 1992 film Thunderheart, partially based on actual events.


ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Reihardt, Akim D. (2007). Ruling Pine Ridge. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. pp. 152–153. 
  2. ^ Reihardt, Akim D. (2007). Ruling Pine Ridge. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. p. 157. 
  3. ^ Frazier, Ian (2000). On the Rez. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. p. 61. 
  4. ^ Matthiessen, Peter (1991). In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking. p. 61. 
  5. ^ Means, Russell (1995). Where White Men Fear to Tread. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 249. 
  6. ^ Reihardt, Akim D. (2007). Ruling Pine Ridge. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. p. 171. 
  7. ^ Matthiessen, Peter (1991). In the Spirit of Crazy Horse. New York: Viking. p. 74. 
  8. ^ Frazier, Ian (2000). On the Rez. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. p. 57. 
  9. ^ Reihardt, Akim D. (2007). Ruling Pine Ridge. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. p. 205. 
  10. ^ Starita, Joe (1995). The Dull Knives of Pine Ridge. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 311–315. 
  11. ^ Reihardt, Akim D. (2007). Ruling Pine Ridge. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. p. 207. 
  12. ^ Lichtenstein, Grace (1976-01-29). "Tribal Leader Is Defeated in Election on Troubled Pine Ridge Reservation". New York Times. p. 48. 
  13. ^ Starita, Joe (1995). The Dull Knives of Pine Ridge. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. p. 315. 

External linksEdit