During a 1975 interview with Annie Mae Pictou Aquash, a prime mover and shaker in the American Indian Movement (AIM), the outspoken activist said, "The whole country changed with only a handful of raggedy-ass Pilgrims that came over here in the 1500s. And it can take a handful of raggedy-ass Indians to do the same, and I intend to be one of those raggedy-ass Indians." A short time later, she was murdered, execution-style, and her body was found by the side of the road on the Pine Ridge reservation.
The Spirit of Annie Mae, a 2001 documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada, tells Aquash's story with a particular focus on the mystery surrounding her murder. Did trigger-happy federal agents carry out the hit, as Indian activists first claimed, or was she an FBI informant who was silenced by one of her fellow AIM members? Despite the murder conviction in 2004 of a homeless Lakota Sioux man named Arlo Looking Cloud, accusations continue to fly.