Preventing a Second Massacre at Wounded Knee, 1973: Methodists Mediate for Peace

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In 1973, when armed members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota, military and law enforcement agencies of the United States arrived to quell the civil disturbance. The National Council of Churches sent a delegation consisting of Methodists - Bishop James Armstrong and pastors Wesley Hunter, Homer Noley, and John Adams - to serve as intermediaries. The members earned the trust of AIM and government authorities but were ousted from the reservation at the behest of Oglala Sioux Tribal Council chairman Dick Wilson, who believed the delegation to be pro-AIM. Although the role of the intermediaries diminished, they had successfully brokered cease-fires and convinced both sides that negotiations offered the best means of reaching their objectives.

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