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American Indian Oral History: Interview with Daniel Sheehan

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00:00:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Sandra Baxter (SB): Interview with Dan Sheehan. December 10, 1976, Washington, DC, regarding Wounded Knee. Well Dan, how do you wanna start? Do you want to--

Segment Synopsis: DS shares about his professional background that leads to his involvement in working on the Wounded Knee II Trials. He then begins to discuss those arrested by the FBI for attempting to attend a funeral for a man killed.

Keywords: American Civil Liberties Union; Bellecourt; Clyde Bellecourt; Colorado; Colorado State University; Dennis Banks; FBI; Federal Bureau of Investigation; GLIDE Foundation; Great Valentine Trial; Legal Rights; Native American; Rosebud; Rosebud Reservation; Russell Means; University of Colorado; Valentine; Valentine Nebraska; Vernon Bellecourt; Wounded Knee; Wounded Knee II

00:24:04 - Bureau of Indian Affairs; Land Rights

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Partial Transcript: DS: Okay, so that's how that one was won.
But that's a fairly important episode,
I would say, in Nebraska history, and in the history of the Native people in Nebraska, this particular case. Not so much for what it did, but for what it demonstrated that the Anglo culture was not willing to do.

Segment Synopsis: DS discusses the BIA and explains the realities of land rights for many Native Americans living on reservations.

Keywords: ACLU; American Civil Liberties Union; BIA; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Department of Interior; Joe de Raismes; Land Rights; Native American; Wounded Knee

00:30:19 - Role of Jesuit Community in Native American Affairs

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Partial Transcript: There will come a point in time, I would hope, and I would hope that some of the churches would be able to play a significant role in this, because of their duplicity in the past, in depriving the Native people of their indigenous lands, in reestablishing control of those lands in the tribal people, that I am confident that adequate litigation could be initiated on behalf of the Native people to recover those lands.

Segment Synopsis: DS shares about the role of the Jesuit community historically and in the 1970s (present-day for interview). His work encourages the Jesuit community to address wrongs and erroneous policies in their work with Native American populations.

Keywords: BIA; Boarding Schools; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Colonialism; Education; Flathead; Flathead Tribe; Jesuit; Mission; Montana; Native American; Native American Education; Navajo; Pine Ridge; Piscataway; Piscataway Tribe; Religion; Social Change; South Dakota; Tribal Council; Virginia

00:41:53 - Spirituality and Native American Culture; Media on Native Americans; AIM

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Partial Transcript: DS: It's because that they're trusting people and because they are not out of tune. They are in tune with quote, the Holy Spirit. They live in the spirit.

Segment Synopsis: DS shares about the conflict between the U.S. federal government and Native Americans. He also discusses the one-dimensional media on Native American activism and rights.

Keywords: AIM; American Indian Movement; Boss Lake; Community Organization; Media; Native American; Native American Culture; Native American Religion; Onodaga; Organization; Religion; Saul Alinsky; Spirituality

00:52:12 - Wounded Knee II Legal Trials

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Partial Transcript: SB: What was that, there's a book or something, I can't remember what it is, but calling for a reorganization of society, and it's saying that the whole society, American society, world society, really needs to look at Indian society and to reorganize itself along that lines if it's gonna be able to survive. And I can't think of who did that. I wanted to ask you just a little bit about the leadership trial with Means and Bellecourt.

Segment Synopsis: DS shares about the conditions of Wounded Knee and the discrepancies in treatment for organization. He also discusses firsthand perspectives from the court trials under Federal Judge Warren K. Urbom.

Keywords: ACLU; AIM; American Civil Liberties Union; American Indian Movement; American Indian Studies; Case Law; Discrimination; Federal Judge; Judge Urbom; Leadership; Protests; Russell Means; U.S. Federal Government; Urbom; Vernon Bellecourt; Vine Deloria; Vine Deloria Jr.; Violence; Warren K. Urbom; Wounded Knee; Wounded Knee II; Wounded Knee Trials

00:59:48 - Discussion of Morality and Politics

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Partial Transcript: DS: It's a lesson that the culture had tried very hard to teach our generation throughout the '60s, and one which I hope to say that we did not take.

Segment Synopsis: DS and SB discuss the relationship between morality, spirituality, and politics during the 1970s.

Keywords: BIA; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Education; Eisenhower; Indian Reservation Termination; LaDonna Harris; Morality; Native American; Native American Culture; Native American History; Policy of Termination; Politics; Saul Alinsky; Spirituality; Termination; University Courses; University Curriculum; Vietnam; Vietnam War

01:09:28 - Social Change and Organization

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Partial Transcript: DS: And when the Native people want some assistance from those of us in the Anglo community that they think can help, we have to be listening. We have to not be offering solutions. We have to be available.

Segment Synopsis: DS shares about how social change may be effected through the leadership of Native American populations. He also shares how organization might change.

Keywords: BIA; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Civil Rights; Community; Discrimination; Employment; Hiring; Hiring Discrimination; Hiring Process; Human Rights; Jesuit; Native Americans; Organization; Politics; Public Administration; Saul Alinsky; Self Determination; Social Change