THE UNQUIET GRAVE/ANNA MAE AQUASH II

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All excerpts are in italics and from THE UNQUIET GRAVE by Steve Hendricks

We left off with Anna Mae’s family being notified by the FBI.

Anna Mae’s family did not believe the FBI’s story that she had died of exposure.

They wanted her body unearthed and a second autopsy performed.

On March 9, six days after Aquash was identified, the FBI asked for and a federal judge ordered a post-post-mortem. Two days later the grave was dug up.

Dr. Garry Peterson, deputy medical examiner for greater Minneapolis…. had been hastily retained by the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee, AIM’s legal arm. When the FBI had announced it would hire a pathologist to re-autopsy Aquash, WKLDOC asked that Dr. Peterson be allowed to observe. The government’s men had replied that they wanted to get started immediately but, out of kindness, would wait a day for the family’s observer. But that morning at the hospital, the FBI agents told Dr. Peterson their doctor was not coming.

They did not say why.

They said only that if a second necropsy were to be had, Peterson would have to do it. Peterson had brought none of his tools, and the hospital was ill-equipped……..Peterson asked the staff to gather what equipment they could and sent Special Agent Price to Sioux Nation, the general store in Pine Ridge, to fetch a butcher knife.

Candy Hamilton a friend of Anna Mae’s waited outside the autopsy room. She asked Agent Wood if she could have her personal effects to give to the family.

“He just sneered and walked out.”

“Well, Wood came back in and was way across the room from me, and he said, ‘Candy, you want something of Annie Mae’s? Here’- and he threw a box across the room at me-“take her hands.” I caught it, and all the women turned and looked and said, “What’s that?” And I said, “He says it’s her hands.”

You could hear them rattling in there. Everybody was horrified.

…so I went in the room where Peterson was…..I told him, “It’s really important for her to have all her body together. Could you put these in with her or put them back on or something?”….he sewed them back on at the end of the autopsy.

No sooner had Peterson brushed the disinfectant from Aquash that he noticed a lump in her left temple, just above the eye.

X-rays confirmed it was a slug.

in seconds he (Peterson) found a hole at the base of the skull. It was surrounded by a circle of dried blood and gunpowder two inches in diameter.

“You could not believe it, ”  he would later say. “I mean, the hole was so plain in the back of her neck. And in the front you could feel the lump. You could see the bullet from across the street.”

Dr. Peterson concluded that Anna Mae Aquash had died of a different kind of exposure-as it turned out, exposure to a 32. caliber, copper-jacketed bullet

To be continued….

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