BERNIE LAFFERTY ON THE RAY ROBINSON MEETING
Editors Note 2007: Bernie Lafferty is one of several witnesses who saw Perry Ray Robinson Jr., inside Wounded Knee in 1973. This narrative and discussion was confirmed and verified with KaMook Nichols in a News From Indian Country interview in 2002. Other people who have either confirmed the presence of Robinson inside Wounded Knee and/or details about his death and burial inside Wounded Knee are Allen (Crazy Al) Cooper, Carter Camp, Richard Two Elk, Dennis Banks, Stan Holder, Marlette Thunder Horse, Leonard Crow Dog, Harry David "Mr X Hill," Sandra Brim, Frank Black Horse, Keith Demaras, Madonna Gilbert-Thunderhawk, Lorelie Means, Johnny Flynn, Hank Adams, Associated Press reporter, Carson Walker, Catherine Martin, Jeanne Davies, the late Stanley Hollow Horn, the late Matthew King, the late Janie Waller, the late Barbara Deming, the late John Carmichael and the book author Steve Hendricks.
The following interview was not conducted by Paul DeMain of News From Indian Country, nor was it provided to federal authorities by him as falsely claimed (or as Hendricks wrote "probably") in Hendricks' book loaded with AIM alibi's: The Unquiet Grave.
According to Dennis Banks, Ray Robinson was buried at Wounded Knee by Cris Westerman, the brother of Floyd Westerman. The family, through the wife of Ray Robinson, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson has indicated to federal authorities that they do not prefer to pursue charges in the case, but would appreciate if the Pine Ridge Lakota would repatriate the remains of Ray Robinson back to their rightful owners. Federal authorities have generally ignored the death of Robinson both because of issues revolving around the inability to get truthful information from key AIM leaders, and/or what has been termed a non-premeditated death, meaning the statute of limitations on any potential prosecution has expired.
The real problem for AIM, is the repeated rumors that if anybody found Robinson's grave at Wounded Knee and dug it up, he wouldn't be the only one they would find buried there. News From Indian Country has reviewed the existence of both FBI and WKLDOC documents referring to additional victims buried at Wounded knee in 1973 and has interviewed additional sources involved with the Wounded Knee occupation, as occupiers in 1973 whose names do not appear here. Reports about missing persons were also produced by private investigators Lake Headley and Jeanne Davies, and provided to attorney Ken Tilsen, Luke McKissack and the late attorney Ramon Roubideaux.
Serle Chapman: So, I want to talk to you about the meeting where you heard the discussion about them; the death of Ray Robinson but you didnt know he was called Ray Robinson at that time. If you can tell me in as much detail as you possibly can, where you were when you heard this discussion?
Bernie Lafferty: Well, we was making coffee because we always made coffee when they had meetings; but we was in there making coffee and then I took the pot in there and I was giving them coffee and they were already talking about other things I cant remember but the reason I remember this so well is because emm; they were talking about, they said they killed this emm man and he was a black man. And emm . . .
Serle Chapman: Is that how they described him?
Bernie Lafferty: Yeah. They said they killed him and then one of them said he was a black man and, and I was just like trying; you know I just, I; well you know they trusted me, I was there so they knew I wasnt, you know. But emm, and they just talked and I remember them talking about, you know, shooting him and then they said, they said, Well we buried him up ; and if I remember right they said they buried him up like on the hill or something, on a hillside or something, and emm, they said, Well no one will ever find him, you know. No ones going to miss him. And they was just talking like that and I dont remember why they, you know, I; I dont know if there was like a fight or argument, or something you know that he wouldnt do, or something. And anyway, he wasnt co-operating with them so they said they just emm killed him and they buried him. And by, you know by then I was going back into the kitchen and I thought I kind of felt real funny, you know, like in my chest or something because I thought you know, they couldnt have really did that you know I was thinking, because you cant just do that to people, you know.
Serle Chapman: About what time of day was it do you remember?
Bernie Lafferty: It was, it was in the evening. If thats - as best as I can remember it was in the evening. You know, it was like already dark out.
Serle Chapman: Okay.
Bernie Lafferty: But then that could have been like even earlier because then, you know, it was like winter time; it gets dark early.
Serle Chapman: So who was in the room?
Bernie Lafferty: Emm, I think probably pretty much everybody you said; that we named before that usually went to the meetings. I dont know, Im not sure if Henry Wawasick was there then because he would like, he; for some reason he would leave and then like walk out and then come back with like more weapons or people and stuff like that. So I cant say definitely if he was there or not, but I remember Carter and Dennis, Russ, emm Stan Holder, Dave [Hill]; and I, you know, I cant really say who else but the usual people were there.
Serle Chapman: Was Clyde in there when you were serving this coffee and having this conversation about killing the black guy?
Bernie Lafferty: Emm. Im not real sure if he was or not.
Serle Chapman: But definitely - definitely in the room participating in the discussion about killing the black guy and burying him, was Dennis Banks, Carter Camp, Russ Means, Stan Holder and David Hill?
Bernie Lafferty: Uh huh (yes).
Serle Chapman: And what about Crow Dog, was he in there?
Bernie Lafferty: Yeah, Im pretty sure he was in there.