National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Frank and Betsy Goodyear
On March 10, 1973, leaders of the American Indian Movement (AIM) celebrated a short-lived victory when federal authorities who had encircled the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, agreed to pull back from their positions. Two weeks earlier, Dennis Banks, Russell Means, and nearly 200 armed followers had occupied this small town on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where in 1890 more than 350 Lakota men, women, and children had died during a conflict with the U.S. Army. Having founded AIM in 1968, Banks and Means had come to Wounded Knee in their ongoing campaign to publicize the plight of Native Americans and to spur an investigation into policies at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As at previous stand-offs, tensions ran high, and authorities feared open warfare. This photograph shows Banks (left) and Means smoking pipes during a prayer ceremony that followed news of the withdrawal.