The 1970s legacy of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is haunted by the forgotten suffering of innocent victims and a falsified history found in almost every library in America. Sadly, what could have been a needed voice for Native American interests became a criminal enterprise on the reservation, where property was destroyed and lives were lost. A record founded in falsehoods and distortions completed the betrayal and denied the reality of lost opportunities, shattered lives, and a Movement hijacked by its leadership. Today, the perpetrators are known as “brave warriors” and “selfless activists,” while many of their crimes against other Indians are minimized, or as is the case in most history books, not mentioned at all.

     In this provocative narrative, former FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Joseph H. Trimbach chronicles the true legacy of the American Indian Movement leadership and how this small group of radicals tore a path of destruction through the Pine Ridge Reservation on their way to personal gain, fame and fortune, and how:

•  AIM leaders extorted funds from religious organizations, the federal government and unsuspecting supporters, and kept much of the money for themselves.

•  Public officials, deluded into excusing criminal behavior by virtue of “indigenous immunity,” encouraged violence against other Indians.

•  Using Federal grant money, AIM leaders planned and executed the takeover of Wounded Knee village on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973, ending in its complete destruction.

•  A Federal judge dismissed all charges against the instigators following a secret meeting with one of the defendants and an ex-parte meeting with the defendants’ lawyers.

•  AIM leaders, armed with a cache of weaponry and explosives, plotted the takeover of the reservation and the elimination of the elected tribal leadership.

•  AIM leaders conspired to murder their opponents, even their own members.

•  The media was fooled into believing AIM fables and falsehoods and often missed the real story of AIM treachery and violence.

• Convicted killer and AIM member Leonard Peltier, now serving life sentences for murdering two Federal Agents, attracted a worldwide following of supporters including Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, the Dali Lama, Amnesty International, Robert Redford and many from the entertainment industry and several politicians who have labeled Peltier a “political prisoner.” As he nears the end of his term in office, President Obama is under intense political pressure to grant Peltier clemency.

•  How Leonard Peltier and his lawyers have bilked millions of people out of their money and time in support of his manufactured persona as an innocent man “railroaded” into prison and how Peltier has been the recipient of several bandwagon awards based on fake accomplishments that ignore his numerous infractions behind bars as well as his armed escape from Lompoc prison in 1977 during which he fired at the guard towers and for which he was sentenced to an additional seven years.

•  AIM supporters have profited from promoting bogus conspiracy theories, such as claims that the FBI used a COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) against AIM leaders and their lawyers, backed roving death squads on the reservation and conspired in the (AIM-ordered) execution of AIM member Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

•  Authors, journalists, and so-called historians are guilty of passing along falsified history, much of it designed to divert attention away from AIM criminal activity.

•  In the wake of the AIM legacy and continued governmental failures, the Pine Ridge Reservation suffers from many social malignancies such as unemployment near 90%, life expectancy of approximately 56 years, rampant alcoholism and widespread child sex abuse. 

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     Though the American Indian Movement may have begun with the best of intentions, its leadership soon became more concerned with helping themselves than with helping their people. In a matter of months, they stole the organization’s potential for improving the quality of life in Indian Country. What’s worse, the history books are complicit in the cover stories, where criminals are often given a pass while their Indian victims are consigned to anonymity. American Indian Mafia finally sets the historical record straight.

     Part personal odyssey, part history, Trimbach's account tells the real story of AIM’s armed assault on Wounded Knee village in 1973, where FBI Agents, BIA Agents, and U.S. Marshals demonstrated incredible patience and restraint in the face of nightly gun attacks. Mafia explains how never-ending negotiations led to the village’s complete destruction, and how secret murders behind the barriers and the failure to hold the AIM leadership accountable led to a reign of terror on the reservation. Mafia assigns much of the blame to federal judges who advanced a political agenda at the expense of true justice. AIM instigators, such as Russell Means, were thus handed carte blanche to terrorize Pine Ridge Indians for years to come.

     AIM violence on the reservation culminated in the 1975 cold-blooded murder of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, the only FBI Agents ever to have been executed in the line of duty. Mafia exposes AIM member and convicted killer Leonard Peltier as the clear perpetrator and as a false hero who has fooled millions into believing in his innocence. Authors, actors, politicians, world leaders, investigative journalists, members of the clergy and many professors of Indian Studies have all fallen victim to the Peltier ruse. Citing numerous examples of doctored history, Mafia fingers disgraced Professor Ward Churchill as being particularly guilty of creating and promoting falsified accounts of Pine Ridge, AIM, and the FBI.

     In another startling revelation, Mafia points to AIM leaders as likely suspects in the Wounded Knee murder of Ray Robinson, the only black male seen in the village during the latter stages of the occupation. Robinson, a civil rights activist under Martin Luther King, was shot in the leg during an argument and carted off to the makeshift infirmary. He was never heard from again. Mafia is the only book that faithfully explains why Robinson’s death remains a closely guarded secret. Trimbach’s account also exposes AIM leader Dennis Banks, Bill Means and Clyde Bellecourt as prime suspects in the ordered execution of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a loyal AIM member falsely accused of being an FBI informant. The convicted triggerman, John Graham, now serves a life sentence for his crimes as a 20-year-old following orders from above. No other book explains why the trials of Graham and his accomplice, Arlo Looking Cloud, now free after having served 12 years and testifying against Graham, should lead to more indictments.

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     Mafia is the long-awaited book that fills the void in an often misunderstood chapter of American history. Judge William H. Webster, former Director of the FBI and the CIA, says Trimbach’s hard-hitting exposé is “…an important contribution to our understanding of what actually happened.” America’s original Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, Lt Col Oliver North, describes author Trimbach as a “myth-buster” whose “carefully compiled chronology” should be read by all Americans who “seek truth behind the headlines.”

     Indian Country will find Trimbach’s book a welcome addition to the historical record. Native publisher Paul DeMain (Oneida-Ojibwe), editor of News from Indian Country, says Mafia is a “must-read” for understanding those turbulent years. Award-winning Native journalist, Tim Giago (Oglala Lakota), declares that Trimbach not only challenges popular beliefs, he “takes apart Peter Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, movies like ‘Thunderheart,’ ‘Lakota Woman,’ and ‘A Tattoo on My Heart - The Warriors of Wounded Knee 1973,’ and exposes them for the frauds that they are. It is refreshing to finally hear the other side of the story." With common sense and wit, Trimbach likewise explores the historical deficiencies of Ken Stern’s Loud Hawk, John Sayer’s Ghost Dancing the Law, the Wounded Knee Trials, and Steve Hendricks’s The Unquiet Grave, one of the most slanted and biased accounts to date.

     Professor Alan Dershowitz wrote that AIM’s calamitous rule left “… thousands of poverty-stricken Indians, first driven by years of neglect to accept false prophets of violence and then shorn even of that ineffective leadership.” Pine Ridge Indians have waited for over thirty years for the truth to come out and for the healing to begin. With the addition of American Indian Mafia to the nation’s libraries and universities, the true Pine Ridge saga will finally have a home. With over a thousand endnotes, dozens of photographs, two appendices, and never-before-published primary source material, Trimbach’s account documents the sad history of a victimized people sorely in need of a spiritual and economic revival.

     Mafia concludes with prescriptive solutions for fighting a host of social ills that continue to plague Pine Ridge. Trimbach devotes the Epilogue to exposing the horrendous problem of rampant child sex abuse on the reservation, and what must be done to fight this evil. American Indian Mafia promotes genuine Pine Ridge healing and will leave Indian Country readers with a new sense of hope and a vision for a brighter future for the Lakota Sioux Indians of South Dakota.

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