Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue #11]
Indians Picket McGovern
[By Michael Letwin]
On Friday, Sept. 14th, members of the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) with some of its supporters picked outside a Beverly Hills home where George McGovern was speaking at a fund raising party for the Democratic Party.
The following is a statement that A.I.M. made to explain their appearance:
“The Democratic Party Platform of 1968 reads[,] ‘The American Indian has the oldest claim on our national conscience.’ The Republican Party Platform read, ‘The plight of the American Indians and the Eskimos is a national disgrace.’
“We are here today to assert that claim to put this disgrace before the conscience of this nation.
“In spite of the soothing words of promise found in the platforms of the two major parties since 1872, both have continually pursued a policy of bipartisan exploitation and genocide against the Indian people. Tonight the California Democratic Party is gathering to ‘celebrate the American Way and demonstrate their belief in a way to take government out of the hands of big money and special interest groups and return it to the public sector where it belongs.’ For 700,000 Americans ‘the American way’ has been poverty, the highest suicide rate, sub-standard medical facilities on the reservation and the highest rate of infant mortality in the U.S.
“The Indian peoples who have tried to function through the white man’s system since the entire reorganization act of 1934 and who have seen their land taken from them and their hopes destroyed, saw the first real effort in years to return power over their lives to the ‘public sector where it belongs’ begin in Wounded Knee on February 27th, 1973 in South Dakota.
“Hundreds upon hundreds of Indians representing more than 75 different tribes supported the just demands of the Oglala Sioux people on the Pine Ridge Reservation and they did so heroically at the risk of their lives knowing that they were facing the possibility of spending the rest of their lives in jail if they survived the liberation of Wounded Knee.
“This struggle was carried on in the ancient traditions of movements for liberation as fought for by Crazy Horse years before in South Dakota, by Indians in Bolivia and by the Vietnamese people.
“Those who support just struggles for liberation have turned their back on the struggle of the American Indian people. SENATOR GEORGE MCGOVERN, for example, called on President Nixon to participate in a military action against women, men and children residing at Wounded Knee. At the same time he called for a halt to all such operations against people of Cambodia, Laos, and Viet Nam.
“If for thinking Democrats the American Indian has the oldest claim on the national conscience, those of you who are gathering here this evening will find a way to meet your obligation. More than 300 Americans, most of them Indians, are facing jail terms ranging up to 175 years each for the liberation of land which according to law belongs to the Indian People. In the white man’s court with the white man’s jury and the white man’s laws the Indian people have little chance if they are forced to stand alone. To you, the concerned sector of the Democratic Party we assert our claim.”
[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]