by Tom Crann, Minnesota Public Radio
April 24, 2009
Part of a new PBS series about American Indians is getting a
big-screen preview this weekend at the Minneapolis-St Paul
International Film Festival. "Wounded Knee" depicts the 1973 siege
that took place on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
About 200 armed American Indian Movement leaders and supporters had
taken over the town of Wounded Knee, S.D. It's the same site where
over 200 Laktoa Sioux were killed in a battle with American Cavalry
83 years earlier, in 1890. The AIM wanted to draw the attenton of the
U.S. Government to Native American issues. Instead, their occupation
sparked a two-and-a-half month paramilitary standoff with U.S.
Marshals and the FBI.
The American Indian group eventually surrendered after 71 days, but
only after two Indians were killed and 18 wounded along with one U.S.
Marshal and an FBI agent.
Kevin McKiernan was the only journalist with an inside view of the
standoff. He managed to sneak past an FBI press blackout to report
for Minnesota Public Radio and NPR. McKiernan also shot film during
the siege and that footage is now a key part of the "We Shall Remain"
series for PBS's American Experience. He's in town to present
"Wounded Knee" this weekend and he joined Tom Crann to talk about the film.