RAPID CITY, S.D. — Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a young mother and American Indian activist, was shot in the head and left to die on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the winter of 1975. The trial of one of two men accused of killing her begins here on Tuesday. Between those moments, decades apart, lies a mystery, and a bitter struggle.
Law enforcement authorities and Indians across the country are watching closely, not just for what the trial will reveal about Ms. Pictou Aquash's death, but for what it threatens to expose about suspicion and violence inside the American Indian Movement, or AIM, the militant group whose clashes with federal authorities drew the eyes of the world to the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1970's.