This past weekend community organizers and others commemorated the 50-year anniversary of one of the most historic protests in America. The Members of the American Indian Movement took over the town of Wounded Knee on Feb. 27, 1973, starting a 71-day occupation on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The standoff with the federal government grew out of turmoil within the Oglala Sioux Tribe as well as a protest of the federal government’s treatment of Native Americans. It became violent at times, and two Native American men were killed. The siege left a lasting impact on members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the future of Native American activism. As a medic during the occupation of Wounded Knee in early 1973, Madonna Thunder Hawk was stationed nightly in a frontline bunker in the combat zone between Native American activists and U.S. government agents in South Dakota. “I would crawl out there every night, and we’d just be out there in case anybody got hit,” said Thunder Hawk, of the Oohenumpa band of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, one of four women assigned to the bunkers.
Hit hard by COVID-19 shutdowns, Native American tribes with casinos are taking a closer look at diversifying their portfolios to help keep their sovereign nations economically strong for future generations. The Mashantucket Pequots own the Foxwood Resort Casino complex in southeastern Connecticut. The tribe announced last summer that its investment arm acquired a Florida-based management consulting firm that works with various federal agencies. The acquisition marked the tribe’s latest foray into federal government contracting. Other Native American tribes also are looking beyond the casino business after the coronavirus crisis. Some are involved in a wide range of non-gambling businesses, such as trucking, construction, health care and marketing.
Those are your headlines at this hour. I’m Colette Keith in the KIPI News center.