Return to Uninvestigated AIM Casualties and Unresolved Deaths
Man Missing at Wounded Knee, 1973
by Stephen Hendricks
A man who went to Wounded Knee when it was occupied by activists 30
years ago disappeared there and was never seen again, his family
Media reports during and after the 1973 occupation aired
allegations that several people were killed at or near Wounded Knee
and secretly buried. These alleged deaths were in addition to the
known deaths of Buddy Lamont and Frank Clearwater.
After the occupation ended, the BIA and U.S. Justice Department
reportedly searched for graves, but no remains were found. Nor were
names ever given to the alleged missing, until now.
Ray Robinson, a black civil rights worker, traveled to Pine Ridge
in April 1973, according to his wife, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson. She
said Robinson was at a conference in New Mexico for Vietnam
Veterans Against the War when people from Wounded Knee urged
supporters to come to the occupied village.
Robinson responded, apparently arriving on Pine Ridge in late
April. Sources who were inside Wounded Knee at the time differ on
whether Robinson made it inside the village. None of the sources
wished to speak on the record.
Buswell-Robinson said she has been told conflicting stories about
her husband's alleged death. Under one story, her husband was
killed by federally backed vigilantes as Robinson tried to enter or
exit Wounded Knee. Under another story, her husband was killed
inside Wounded Knee after he was accused of being a federal
informant. None of the stories has been verified.
"As close as I could figure out," Buswell-Robinson said, "Ray was
killed somewhere between April 20 and 23. His friend Janie Waller
went into Wounded Knee right after him and was processed out during
Buswell-Robinson said Waller, now deceased, didn't see Robinson
inside Wounded Knee. Waller and Robinson apparently traveled to
Pine Ridge with two other friends, Emily Gordon and Gordon's
boyfriend: "a light-skinned African-American," she said, "who
dressed in black and had gold chains and a black hat like Aussies
wear." Neither Gordon nor her then-boyfriend has been located.
Mark Vukelich, an FBI agent with responsibility for major crimes on
Pine Ridge, refused to confirm or deny whether the FBI was
investigating or even aware of Robinson's disappearance.
Buswell-Robinson said she filed a missing-persons report with the
FBI soon after Robinson disappeared. She heard nothing from the FBI
for a quarter-century.
Then, two years ago, an FBI agent visited her Detroit home.
Buswell-Robinson said she agreed to speak with the agent but
requested her lawyer be present, at which point the agent ended the
interview. She has not heard from the FBI or any other law
enforcement agency about her husband since.
Robinson's full name is reportedly Perry Ray Robinson, Jr. Prior to
his disappearance, he was living with his wife and children in
Selma, Ala., where he worked on black-equality and anti-poverty
Independent reporter Steve Hendricks is investigating Robinson's
disappearance. To contact him with information about Robinson, call
406-449-0446 (collect calls okay); write 717 Fifth Avenue, Helena
MT 59601; or e-mail StephenBicknell at rocketmail.com.
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