Indigenous Women Challenge John Graham
to Take Lie-Detector

by Karen L. Testerman

A US-based Native women's advocacy group, the Indigenous Women for Justice (IWJ), have challenged the Canadian man indicted of murdering Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash to take a polygraph. The IWJ sent their invitation to John Graham through his attorney, Terry LaLiberte.

John Boy Graham, a Champagne Aishihik from the Yukon, is charged with first-degree murder in the execution style murder of Pictou-Aquash. He is awaiting his extradition hearing scheduled for March 1.

Arlo Looking Cloud, an Oglala Sioux Tribal member, the other man indicted in this case, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the execution of Pictou-Aquash. The jury came back with its verdict after approximately seven hours of deliberation on February 6.

Graham is quoted on his defense website as saying, In the months ahead of us, the U.S. will have to make their case for extradition against me. I, along with my legal team Terry LaLiberte and Lyn Crompton, will fight to stop this extradition, tooth and nail, to the highest court in the land, if that's what it'll take.

Indigenous Women for Justice are opposed to Graham and his attorney Terry LaLiberte, making what they describe as misleading statements to the press, which are then distributed through Graham's defense committee website.

In response, the Indigenous Women for Justice stepped forward to publish "The Lies of John Graham," in an effort to expose the facts and counter the claims made by Graham and his supporters.

Both Graham and his attorney have professed his innocence based on a lack of forensic evidence. After Graham's most recent bail hearing, LaLiberte was quoted as saying, "There's no evidence. There's no bullets. There's no gun. There's no DNA."

After making this statement, IWJ members strongly suggested LaLiberte should either retract or amend his factually inaccurate statement.

It is documented that Dr. Garry Peterson removed a .32 caliber slug from Pictou-Aquash's head, so there is clearly a bullet. Pictou-Aquash was fully clothed when her body was found and forensic pathology was able to establish that she had either had intercourse, or had been raped, shortly before she was killed. Eye-witness testimony alleges that Graham raped Pictou-Aquash.

The US had until the end of January to file its extradition documents against Graham, so it is unlikely that LaLiberte would have seen those documents. LaLiberte should explain that, under extradition treaty between the US and Canada, the US does not have to present all of the evidence against Graham, they only need to provide a summary.

"LaLiberte should know that murder cases do not stand or fall on forensic evidence alone, but on a body of evidence as a whole. If he is so confident of his client's innocence, he should have no objections to him taking a lie-detector test," said IWJ spokeswoman, Marley Shebala.

Marley Shebala is an award-winning journalist with the Navajo Times.

Several websites defend Graham's innocence and attempt to present him as the "second Leonard Peltier." Graham is presently fighting extradition to avoid facing trial for Pictou-Aquash's murder. However, the IWJ's "The Lies of John Graham," is compiled from on-the-record, recorded interviews with AIM leaders, members, and individuals connected to the Aquash murder case, along with written testimonials and transcripts, and it presents a very different picture to the one Graham's supporters have painted in the Canadian press.

Graham conducted one of the recorded interviews the IWJ has on record, and should Graham directly question the credibility of the statements attributed to him, or others, in "The Lies of John Graham," the IWJ will air those recorded statements.

Yet, Graham's supporters have already put out statements that Looking Cloud is another Myrtle Poor Bear and the FBI are using him. But by his own admission, Looking Cloud was an eye-witness to Aquash's murder. Myrtle Poor Bear didn't even know Leonard Peltier.

Several former AIM members have been called to the witness stand. Ka-Mook Nichols, the former common law wife of AIM co-founder Dennis Banks was one of them.

Anne Gilbert, an IWJ member from Manitoba, Canada said, "These guys are pretty predictable. I'm sure they'll come out with some story about Ka-Mook being an agent for thirty years or some garbage like that. They forget that Ka-Mook is a woman who went to jail and gave birth to one of her daughter's while in prison, rather than tell the feds where Dennis Banks or [Leonard] Peltier was back then. She' no snitch or sell-out. There are no snitches when it comes to finding justice for Annie Mae."

Ka-Mook Nichols' struggle for AIM and Banks included numerous days sitting in a jail cell in the name of AIM. Records show Nichols was five-months pregnant with her second child when she was arrested on the Wichita turnpike, Kansas, in September 1975 after a car in which she was traveling with Bob Robideau and other Jumping Bull compound residents exploded.

Nichols' arm was lacerated and a prominent scar remains. She was hospitalized over night and then escorted to a jail cell where she stayed for three weeks until being released. She returned to South Dakota in October 1975 for a memorial dinner her grandmother had put on for uncle, Buddy Lamont, where she met up with Banks and others.

In November, Ka-Mook and other AIM members including Pictou-Aquash, were traveling in a motor-home belonging to Marlon Brando when they were arrested in Oregon. Nichols refused to give her name but an officer entered the room, lifted her right arm and identified her from the wound from the turnpike accident.

Within a few days she was returned to Kansas where she remained in jail until January 1976, and from there she was transported to Portland, Oregon, where she was incarcerated until February 1976. During her stay in the county jail in Kansas, she gave birth to her second daughter, Tiopa, on December 30, 1975. Nichols prenatal care was done by a doctor who arrived by ambulance to a secure area. She was escorted to the ambulance for her prenatal care. Her daughter was delivered by C-section at a hospital where US Marshals stood constant guard.

According to the IWJ, Nichols and many other former AIM people are in support of justice for Pictou-Aquash.

Prominent Native musician and actress Arigon Starr, an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, said she had taken a look at the Indigenous Women for Justice's website.

"I wondered -- If this had been a prominent male member of the American Indian Movement that had been murdered -- would this case have gone unsolved for so long?" she said. "I applaud the Indigenous Women for Justice for demanding justice for Anna Mae's family. They deserve closure."

Actor Floyd Red Crow Westerman was to host a fundraising drive for Graham, headlining a concert in San Francisco, but this concert was immediately cancelled after attempts to interview Westerman were made.

Westerman would not comment on reports that Graham publicly disavowed AIM and the AIM leadership on Wednesday, January 28. Neither would he comment on accusations that he is only supporting Graham for fear that if he is extradited, Westerman's close friends Dennis Banks and Clyde and Vernon Bellecourt may be the next ones indicted in connection to Anna Mae's murder.

Graham said in a recent report that he feared for his life, but IWJ members said there's no reason for him to be afraid. It's others who aren't protected.

"Look what happened to Kelly White. She turned Graham in, her daughter got beaten-up, and now she's gone underground," said Gilbert. "The IWJ want Kelly to know we support her and we will help her. She can contact us in confidence."

Graham's explanation concerning White is that she turned him in to the Canadian authorities because she was a woman scorned, as he would not reignite a previous romance with her.

White was a sister-in-law to Dino Butler, who has known Graham since the Jumping Bull days in Oglala. In 1981, Butler and his brother Gary Butler were fighting charges in Canada.

"I remember when I was in jail in Canada, and John Boy was there in Vancouver. Kelly (White) said that she went to talk to John Boy to ask him if he would do some speaking engagements to help our defense committee and that he just really started cussing and putting down prayers and pipe ceremonies. He said, 'What do you want to do all that shit for? That shit never works no more.' That really surprised me because up to that point, as far as I knew, John Boy was always willing to go to ceremony or help out, then all of a sudden he was just really putting it down and cussing it out. It didn't make no sense to me until years later I found out that he was the one that pulled the trigger on Annie Mae, and then it made sense to me," said Butler.

"I wish the IWJ every success in bringing the cleansing and healing that not only Anna Mae and her daughters and family need but that we all need, for as long as truth is corrupted so shall our communities be," said Gila Kasla of British Columbia, from where Graham is fighting extradition. "Only when those responsible for Anna Mae's brutal death are brought kicking and screaming or voluntarily to accountability can the demystification and purification of Anna Mae begin. Her killers have weaved a fabric of lies that will unfold and everyone of them must be exposed, everyone of them that conspired, participated directly or indirectly must face the consequences of the evil that they perpetrated and continue to perpetuate."

Neither LaLiberate nor Graham's defense committee have responded to the challenge that has been isssued.

[Revised publication printed in The Lakota Journal by Karen L. Testerman]

Note: Karen L. Testerman is a correspondent writer for the Lakota Journal Newspaper, a Rapid City, South Dakota based publication.

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