Like the rest of his AIM brethren, Means has had an uphill task convincing the people of Indian Country that he knew nothing of the plot to kill Anna Mae or of the ensuing coverup. Time and again he has pleaded ignorance to the crime, despite admitting the murder victim was taken to his brother's house, where Clyde Bellecourt allegedly received Vernon's order to execute the prisoner. In fact, Bill Means' house was purportedly Anna Mae's last stop before she was driven to the cliff near Wanblee, South Dakota. Further compounding Russell's problem is that he and his brothers were reportedly on the reservation when Anna Mae was buried, yet boycotted her funeral. They were seen driving by the ceremony on their way to a basketball game. If Means wanted to dishonor Anna Mae's memory, he couldn't have chosen a more telling way. . . .
Another problem facing Means is justifying a 24-year wait before emerging as an Anna Mae advocate. To some observers it is simply an indication that he'd seen the writing on the U.S Attorney's wall. Like many aging AIMsters who do not want to spend their last years incarcerated, Means may be trying to hop a ride on the justice bandwagon. (p. 30)
Curiously absent from the courtroom proceedings [during the 2004 trial of Arlo Looking Cloud for Anna Mae's murder] was the man whose name came up more times than he would have preferred. Dennis Banks was nowhere to be found in Rapid City, and for good reason. he was persona non grata in the town and courthouse where his former wife, surrounded by FBI Agents, was slowly undoing his legacy. . . . Choking back the emotional burden of having to implicate their children's father in murder, Ka-Mook [Banks] stood her ground and steadfastly recounted the truth:Leonard Peltier:
[Prosecutor] McMahon: When did you find out she was dead?
Nichols [Ka-Mook Banks]: On February 24th. . . .
McMahon: How do you remember it was February 24th?
Nichols: Because Dennis called me. . . .
McMahon: How did you relate that call to February 24th?
Nichols: Because he was in San Francisco, I was in Portland, Oregon. . . . I looked at the calendar and it was my nephew's birthday, and I was remembering it was my nephew's birthday and I needed to call him, and Dennis told me they had found Anna Mae.
The question Ka-Mook's testimony left hanging in the air, the one federal prosecutors yearn to have answered to this day, was: how had Dennis Banks known the identity of the dessicated corpse in the canyon a full week befroe the FBI identified the body? (pp. 25-26)
Once Anna Mae's trustworthiness became an issue, Banks and Peltier forced her to collaborate in their bomb-making activities so that her fingerprints could be linked to incriminating evidence. Kamook watched as her husband and Peltier planted bombs at various locations around Pine Ridge. It was also Peltier, according to Ka-Mook and others, who placed a gun to Anna Mae's head during at least one of the interrogations, a charge that stands in stark contrast to author Peter Matthiesson's description of Peltier's easygoing manner when confronting the future murder victim. (p. 25)Scumbags then, scumbags now.