In the late 1960s, Native Americans fed up with what they saw as years of mistreatment by the federal government formed an organization known as the American Indian Movement.
Founded in Minnesota, the group followed in the footsteps of the civil rights movement and took up protests across the country. One of those protests took place in 1973, when some AIM members occupied the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee, located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Their protest followed the murder of an Oglala Lakota man and the failed impeachment of a tribal president that AIM members accused of corruption. The protests escalated into a violent standoff with federal authorities.
The 71-day siege was only the beginning of turmoil on Pine Ridge. Local residents, such as AIM member Milo Yellowhair, say the violence continued for years.
Yellowhair says the violence in the 1970s left behind a festering wound. Many on the Pine Ridge reservation think FBI officials backed the tribal police in carrying out assaults and murders against AIM supporters.
Today, widespread mistrust of the federal government continues, so much so that the Oglala Sioux Tribal Government recently asked U.S Attorney Brendan Johnson to look at 45 deaths that tribal officials believe have not seen justice. The cases include two unsolved execution-style murders in 1998. Johnson says he agreed to re-examine all 45 cases in question.