FBI Confirms Black Civil Rights Activist was Murdered by AIM at Wounded Knee


Bury Perry Ray Robinson Jr at Wounded Knee.

The FBI says a black civil rights activist was killed during the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, and it suspects militant members of the American Indian Movement are responsible, according to recently released documents.

Desiree Marks, who’s held out hope for 40 years that she’d see her father again, said she was crushed by the FBI’s confirmation of his death.

Buswell-Robinson, of Detroit, said her husband’s nonviolent approach conflicted with the violent situation at Wounded Knee and that it’s possible AIM members suspected he was a federal informant. The personable, 6-foot-2 black man with a deep baritone voice would have stood out on a Midwest American Indian reservation, she said.

This isn’t surprising since there were multiple accounts saying the same thing.

Robinson was agitated that AIM was so violently protesting the way they were, that the whole ordeal could have been avoided if they had only done it in a peaceful way. Ray Robinson had been a follower of Martin Luther King and had marched with King. He related to my uncle that he had told the AIM leaders that what they were doing was wrong, that the violence had to end because too many people were losing their lives.

It was during this talk that my uncle Billy said four men had come into the bunker to get Ray telling him that Dennis Banks wanted to talk to him. The men were Leonard Crow Dog, carter Camp and Lyn or Lenny Foster. A few minutes after they left with Ray, he heard a gunshot from outside the bunker.

Mi’ Taku’Ye-Oyasin: Letters from Wounded Knee

There were various explanations for why Robinson had been killed, but most of them agree that he didn’t obey the AIM and was critical of its leaders.

Even the way Robinson filled out his children’s birth certificates showed his disdain of separating people by race. Instead of filling in the blank next to “Negro” or “colored,” he crossed it out and wrote in “human” each time.

“His whole thing was not black civil rights. It was human civil rights. My race is human,” said Desiree Mark.

In a letter dated Dec. 29, 1974, Cheryl Robinson wrote that she had been told Ray Robinson backpacked into Wounded Knee at night and was later shot for not following an order to immediately report to one of AIM’s co-founders.

“He was sitting on somebody’s porch eating oatmeal. An Indian dude came up, ordered him to go see Dennis Banks. Ray said, ‘In a minute – I’m eating my oatmeal – I’ll go when I’ve finished.’ The Indian dude got affronted by Ray’s lack of servility. The Indian shot Ray dead,” Cheryl Robinson wrote.

There are other variations on the same story.

Ray Robinson was at Wounded Knee no more than a week but quickly got a reputation as unwilling to take part in the fight, said Richard Two Elk of Denver. On the day he was shot, Robinson had again refused to pick up a gun, Two Elk said.

“He constantly annoyed us and got on our nerves in the bunker,” Two Elk said.

“The guy was playing to a different tune and it wasn’t like he thought. It wasn’t like civil rights. Indian country is Indian country. It’s no man’s land,” Two Elk said.

“One of the things that was quite apparent was the conflict and the clash of the two concepts of social rights-civil rights and Indian rights. Indian rights are in a whole different context. They (blacks) were coming from rights within the system and Indian rights was about sovereignty and independent nations.”

The American Indian Movement has a long history of violence. That history hasn’t come to an end. Some cases are still being investigated.

  • cxt

    Of course his killers justified what they did by pointing to his “different context” the Left ALWAYS claims its “different” when they commit acts of violence.

  • MarilynA

    Lets see….There was a story about a couple of slaves who got away down in Texas and went into Indian territory. Their bodies were found with all the skin scraped off them. Seems the Indians had never seen a black person before and were trying to scrape the black off them. Looks like things haven’t changed much.

  • hrwolfe

    To this day I am clueless about what Wounded Knee II was all about as well as taking over Alcatraz Island, I was 13-14 at the time. I have read a bit about the 1890 tragedy known as the massacre at Wounded Knee and there is a full story to be told and understood there, neither side is fully clean in this tragedy. American history if told only by the Howard Zinns and Bill Ayers of academia would truly be a horrible thing and this IS what is being fed to our children. On balance we were not that bad and individuals got along quite well. There are numerous first had reports written at the time of the same.

    • Drakken

      Wounded knee 2 was simply about which chief was going to run the tribe, on one side you had a chief that wanted to work with the US govt and get all it’s goodies, the other self proclaimed chief wanted complete separation from the US period, so war between them and the US govt got involved and to this day nobody is happy. The reservation system war poorly conceived and should have never come about in the first place, we should have forced the indian to assimilate and that would have been that. Today the reservations are corrupt little fiefdoms who literally get away with murder and corruption on a scale that would make a Italian mobster blush with envy. I grew up next to a reservation, and my lake place abuts up next to the res so you see it up close and personal. As more casino and federal dollars poor in, the more corrupt they become, let us not even talk about the money laundering going on with the new bank they opened and zero federal or state oversight.

      • DB1954

        Well, I think we did force them, then reversed course, then forced them again, then reversed course here, there, etc. There were no all bad men on any side. White men were good at times and bad at times; Indians were good at times, bad at times. There were no morally pure groups on the frontier, and none at Wounded Knee either, but it looks to me like Robinson was at least trying to do right.

  • UCSPanther

    My mother has lived around Canadian Aboriginals for much of her life, and from what she has observed, is that while they may dislike whites, they seem to respect them as authority figures (A bit of conquest seems to have helped our image in Native eyes). However, she has seen them talking very disparagingly about other races (IE Blacks, East Indians and Asians) and even other tribes.

    Mr Robinson was horribly misguided, and he paid with his life. History is littered with many examples of “Peace activists” going into conflict zones thinking they can make a difference, but instead, they get attacked, and many have paid with their lives for their naivety.

  • http://www.sosbeevfbi.com geral sosbee

    Too late for fbi to confess its incompetence and corruption.
    The dilemma forced on civilized man by fbi:



    • DB1954

      What FBI and when? Are these the only cases of FBI corruption you allege? And why are you posting these here? This is a story about murder. One man killed another. What does this have to do with FBI corruption and incompetence?

      • http://www.sosbeevfbi.com geral sosbee

        Tell us your true name and stop your spewing faulty reasoning. Here are your champions of murder who pretend to investigate cases.


  • CowboyUp

    That’s how I usually list my race, “human.” Sometimes I’ll use “mutt.”

  • DB1954

    So shooting a man dead for being slow to finish his oatmeal was Two Elks’ idea of Indian civil rights?