Leonard Crow Dog, Spiritual Leader at Wounded Knee, Dies at 78

After an early marriage to Francine Cloudman, he married Mary Ellen Moore, a fellow Native American rights activist best known for a 1990...


After an early marriage to Francine Cloudman, he married Mary Ellen Moore, a fellow Native American rights activist best known for a 1990 memoir, “Lakota Woman,” also written with Mr. Erdoes. She died in 2013.

He is survived by his third wife, JoAnn Crow Dog, whom he married in 1998, and seven of his nine children: Bernadette, Richard, Robert Pedro, Onwai, Leonard Jr., Shwanah and Tyler.

In the fall of 1972, A.I.M. delegates, Chief Crow Dog among them, sent to Washington a 20-point proposal called the Trail of Broken Treaties. The government responded that fulfilling all the demands, including land restoration and the creation of a new office of federal Indian relations and community reconstruction, would be “impracticable.”

Chief Crow Dog called it “the greatest gathering of Indians in the nation’s capital.”

The occupation at Wounded Knee the following February grew out of the movement’s frustration with the government’s response to its demands, one of which was that it help remove the chief of the Pine Ridge Reservation, Richard Wilson. Chief Wilson “ran the tribe like a dictator and won elections by fraud,” Chief Crow Dog said.

He was one of the seven principal defendants in the Wounded Knee trials, alongside Russell Means, a founder of the movement, and Carter Camp, one of its leaders. Chief Crow Dog was convicted of charges related to the occupation and of unconnected assault charges involving an altercation. He ended up serving about two years in prison, released in 1977 after his sentence was reduced thanks to a lobbying campaign by his lawyers and supporters, according to Edward J. Rielly’s “Legends of American Indian Resistance” (2011).

After his release, he returned to his home, called Crow Dog’s Paradise, in the community of Grass Mountain on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. He turned his home into a site where the old ways could be preserved, including an annual sun dance, a sacred ceremony celebrating summer and calling for renewal.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Leonard Crow Dog, Spiritual Leader at Wounded Knee, Dies at 78
Leonard Crow Dog, Spiritual Leader at Wounded Knee, Dies at 78
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