Home > NewsRelease > News Alert: THEPHOENIX.COM Censors Debate on PBS’s “We Shall Remain” Native American History Series
News Alert: THEPHOENIX.COM Censors Debate on PBS’s “We Shall Remain” Native American History Series
Joseph and John Trimbach -- American Indian Movement Myth Busters Joseph and John Trimbach -- American Indian Movement Myth Busters
Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 23, 2009 - In a recent on-line review, thephoenix.com author Clif Garboden opined about the much heralded five-part series on Native American history entitled ?We Shall Remain? now appearing on PBS affiliates. The series was produced by Firelight Media, headquartered in Berkeley, California. (See http://thephoenix.com/Boston/RecRoom/79614-Lost-tribes-found.) Garboden led with the caption: ?NO BULL: The ?Wounded Knee? episode of We Shall Remain ranks among the best television documentaries ever made.?

Garboden concluded by stating that ??true glory lies in the honest history of people, not the manipulated histories of governments.? Wounded Knee veteran Richard Two Elk and American Indian Mafia author John Trimbach challenged Garboden?s assessment of the series with commentary, after which the web site?s administers shut down all discussion on the matter. Why would thephoenix.com, which prides itself on incisive reporting and spirited debate, cut off all comments on this topic? What was it about Two Elk?s and Trimbach?s response that led on-line editors to censor their remarks and all others? For possible answers, read what the challengers wrote:

Plenty Of Bull - Richard Two Elk and John Trimbach Sound Off on Episode V, Wounded Knee

The Wounded Knee segment of ?We Shall Remain? is arguably the most massaged documentary in history, and far from being one of the best ever made. I know this because I was there, at Wounded Knee. At the age of 19, I backpacked weapons and supplies into the village with my AIM brothers. I remember it was near Easter, because that?s when our leader, Dennis Banks, ordered us to ?take care? of a young white guy, suspected of being an informant. We knew what that meant. We strung him up on a cross in a mock crucifixion, and beat him. After we took him down, they led him away and I don?t think he was ever heard from again. This story is one of too many dirty little secrets that producer Stanley Nelson certainly was told about, but decided not to use in this sugar-coated tribute to AIM thugs. I am sorry to say I once followed AIM leadership. But now I spend a lot of time exposing them. Other stories you will not hear in this very one-sided production:

1.How AIM leaders and followers pillaged the town, looted the museum, stole family heirlooms, fire-bombed homes, set trip wire explosives in the ravines, slaughtered cattle in bedrooms, and drove the town?s few automobiles dry before setting them on fire. Most of the victims were of course Indians. Victoria Little Moon came home to find her plumbing ripped out, her fixtures smashed, and her furniture destroyed. Elmer Too Too found his trailer looted and wrecked beyond repair. Agnes Gildersleeve, owner of the trading post that was burned to the ground, lost her life savings. Agnes, by the way, was enrolled in the same tribe as Dennis Banks.

2.How Raymond Robinson, the only black man seen inside the village during the occupation, was shot during an argument by AIM leaders (a shooting I witnessed) and then carted off to our infirmary where he disappeared. He?s probably still there, near the village ruins, along with other secret murder victims.

3.How, in early March, AIM leaders donned war paint, loaded their rifles, and fanned out from the village in stolen cars. They converged on Roadblock no. 3, where they opened fire on a small group of FBI agents and U.S. Marshalls. Had it not been for a five-car team of lawmen who responded to distress calls, the brave warriors of AIM might have succeeded in gunning down the FBI?s first female agent.

I could tell you a lot more stories about what really happened at Wounded Knee, stories you won?t hear about in this latest excuse for terror and violence. What you will see in Stanley Nelson?s version is predictable and redundant, especially considering his use of the same old lies and distortions from AIM leaders who love to talk about themselves on camera, but have a lot to hide in person. I?m not saying don?t watch this film. Watch the perpetrators implicate themselves, but take the time to educate yourself on the whole story. Read American Indian Mafia, a book I strongly endorse. The producers of Episode V do not want you to read it, which is exactly why you should. Yes, true glory lies within honest history. But when the truth is buried at Wounded Knee, those who help keep it buried dishonor true Native tradition and history.

Richard Two Elk


Like a recurring nightmare, the real victims of Wounded Knee have been swept aside and the real story of what happened has once again been papered over, in this case to protect AIM criminals and preserve the ?theme? of Firelight Media?s version of history and politics. Too bad. Part V could have concluded an otherwise useful study in American Indian heritage, and brought us to a crossroads of understanding mutually beneficial to both Indians and non-Indians. Instead, we are fed the same old line of bull, in what has become a stinking corpse of destruction and murder cover-up. How telling is it that, even after the producers were made aware of Wounded Knee?s ugly secrets, they chose to ignore them. I guess the truth didn?t fit the script. In fact, the producers engaged in some cover-up of their own. Rather than acknowledge the dark underbelly of behind-the-barriers violence and murder in the village, they took the unprecedented step of omitting American Indian Mafia from their web site?s bibliography. Could it be because Mafia exposes the sham history books featured in the same list, books such as the highly falsified, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse?

Shame on Stanley Nelson for reneging on his agreement to interview Two Elk for this film and for promoting false history at the expense of Native Americans everywhere. Episode V makes it more difficult for Cheryl Robinson to seek justice for her husband, Raymond, a civil rights activist under Martin Luther King. Furthermore, this final installment of ?We Shall Remain? makes a mockery of genuine Indian sacrifice and heroism. It cheapens the true history revealed in previous episodes, as if their purpose was merely to set up a long line of false premises in the final hour. Firelight Media and PBS should be held accountable for the damage they have done to the true legacy of Wounded Knee and for the justice denied the true victims. Americans of all colors deserve better from our publicly funded media outlets.

John Trimbach


News Media Interview Contact
Name: John M. Trimbach
Group: Trimbach & Associates, Inc.
Dateline: Atlanta, United States
Direct Phone: 770-883-5086
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