Dennis Banks’ Foreknowledge & AIM’s ‘Baggage’


  • How did Dennis Banks know on February 25-26, 1976 that the Jane Doe body found on February 24 was Annie Mae and that she had been shot in the back of the head before that information was made public on March 6, 1976?

From the Annie Mae Aquash Timeline Part III:

February 24, 1976 
1976: Jane Doe (Annie Mae) is found 10 miles from Wanblee on Hwy 73 on the far northeast end of the Pine Ridge reservation close to Kadoka by Roger Amiotte.

February 24, 1976: 
First autopsy – FBI/BIA contract pathologist Dr. W. O. Brown says Jane Doe “died of exposure.”

February 25/26, 1976:
John Trudell is testifying at the Butler/Robideau trial in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 22, 1976 and tells the court, according to transcripts, “Dennis (Banks) told me she had been shot in the back of the head. He told me this on February, about the 25th or 26th of February…. He told me this in California… I know it was within two days or so after they had found the body and I knew nothing about that”. “I was setting in the car with Dennis and he said, ‘You know that body they found? That is Annie Mae.‘ I didn’t know about a body.” Trudell has told other sources close to the investigation that in the back seat of the car at the same time are Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt.

February 24-26, 1975 – KaMook Nichols testifying during the Arlo Looking Cloud trial in 2004 says that she call Dennis Banks on this day, and notes that it is the birthday of her nephew. During the conversation, Nichols says Banks tells her that they found the body of Annie Mae Aquash on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

February 25-28 1976:
Gladys Bisonnette, picking up the remains of another relative offers to try to identify the Jane Doe held at the funeral home but is told by mortician Tom Chamberlain that only “authorized” persons are allowed to view the remains. Dennis Banks tells several associates that he has heard that they have found the body of Annie Mae.

March 2, 1976:
Annie Mae buried at Holy Rosary Mission cemetery as Jane Doe.

March 3, 1976: 
Severed hands of Jane Doe are identified as Annie Mae’s by FBI Identification Bureau in Washington DC. a practice that occurs in cases in which photo identifications can not be made at the time.

March 5, 1976: 
Pictou family in Nova Scotia notified of identification of Annie Mae.

March 6, 1976: 
FBI announces publicly the identification of Annie Mae.

March 8, 1976: 
FBI requests exhumation order. Atty. Bruce Ellison files for exhumation later in the day as well . FBI Agent William B. Wood signs an affidavit regarding the investigative process regarding the preceding handling of the Aquash case and notes:

“15. On March 5, 1976, I was informed by Eugene T. York, Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, that he had interviewed Anna Mae Tonaquodle on February 19, 1976, at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tonaquodle is a known American Indian Movement activist in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area and was interviewed in an effort to establish the present whereabouts of Anna Mae Aquash. Tonaquodle stated that she was not personally acquainted with Aquash, but knew Aquash by reputation. According to TonaquodleAquash was believed by American Indian Movement leaders to be a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant.”

A FBI report dated March 8, 1976 (70-11023) from Rapid City offices indicates that Bruce Ellison appeared at the office requesting information regarding the autopsy of Annie Mae AquashEllison was (See document of 3-9-76) requested by the agent “to furnish any information he might receive concerning the victim’s death to the FBI.” His reply was “that depending on who they determined was responsible for the death would dictate whether or not this information would be furnished to the FBI.”

March 10, 1976: 
Annie Mae exhumed. Second autopsy conducted by independent pathologist Gary Peterson who says (See testimony of Dr. Gary Peterson) that the severing of the hands in 1975 was a recognized protocol of law enforcement investigators. Bullet entry wound in back of head and slug at the front of a discolored area of her cheek are found immediately, and death ruled a homicide. FBI agents William WoodGary Adams according to Dr. Peterson are present during the autopsy. Theda Nelson-Clark comes to Oglala from Denver to ask about the autopsy results on Annie Mae, then goes directly back to Denver.

March 11-13, 1976: 
Days of mourning for the women of Pine Ridge.
No leadership members of the American Indian Movement attend though Russell and Ted Means and a caravan of AIM members drive by the wake on the way to an Oglala basketball game. Russell Means later tries to claim he was not on the reservation at all. One person who attended Annie Mae’s funeral is Russell Mean’s security guard, Richard Marshall, along with his wife Cleo (Gates)Marshall in later years claims that he never knew Annie Mae, or anything about her, but of all people, decided to attend the funeral of somebody he didn’t know.

March 14, 1976:
Annie Mae reburied at Wallace Little ranch next to Joe Stuntz despite the wishes of her sisters Rebecca and Mary.

March 18, 1976:
First Federal Grand Jury convenes in Pierre, S.D. to hear evidence in Aquash case. Attorney Bruce Ellison claims that he is immune from Grand Jury inquiry because he had been representing Annie Mae (This was a child custody case involving her daughters in spring of 1975) and any inquiry would violate the lawyer/client relationship.

May 17, 1976:
Attorney Ken Tilsen sends Annie Mae’s billfold back to Pictou sisters in Nova Scotia saying in a letter to them, it came to him thru a circuitous route. The billfold was not found with Annie Mae at the site of her execution. Tilsen in a 1999 NFIC interview confirms that the letter is written by him, but says, “For the love of him, he can’t remember who gave him the wallet,” and that, “I have no recollection what-so-ever of having the wallet.”

Tilsen does not sent the billfold to nor notify the FBI of its existence.

Tilsen is then representing Richard “Dick” Marshall the person who on Dec. 11, 1975 was handed a note by Theda Nelson Clark allegedly from Madonna Gilbert or Lorelie DeCora which said according to Cleo Gates, “Take Care of this Baggage.”

Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash

Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash

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