Dick Wilson (tribal Chairman)
Richard A. "Dick" Wilson (April 29, 1934 - January 31, 1990) was elected chairman (also called president) of the Oglala Lakota Sioux of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, where he served from 1972–1976, following re-election in 1974. Following complaints about his favoring friends and family in award of jobs and suppressing political opponents with his private militia, Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs), members of the tribal council brought impeachment charges against him in February 1973. The prosecution was unprepared when Wilson said he was ready to go to trial, and the hearing closed without trial. No impeachment proceedings were renewed.
Several hundred Lakota people marched in protest, demanding the removal of Wilson from office. US Marshals were assigned to protect Wilson and his family. AIM leaders and Lakota supporters occupied the town of Wounded Knee, and a 71-day armed siege resulted, known as the Wounded Knee Incident. Two Native Americans were shot and killed and a US Marshal severely wounded during this period. Wilson remained in office and, following the occupation, violence increased on the reservation, with residents reporting attacks by his GOONs. More than 50 of Wilson's opponents died violently in the next three years.
The 1974 tribal chairman election was disputed, and a US Civil Rights Commission investigation showed electoral abuses amid fear and violence, and reported the election as invalid. A federal court upheld the results of the election and Wilson won. Political violence continued on the reservation. After being strongly defeated in the 1976 election for tribal chairman, Wilson moved with his family off the reservation. By 1990 Wilson had returned to Pine Ridge; he was campaigning for a seat on the tribal council at the time of his death.
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