Theda Nelson Clarke

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Theda Nelson Clarke
Born
Theda Rose Nelson[1]

1924
DiedOctober 8, 2011(2011-10-08) (aged 87)[2][3][4]
Resting placeCrawford Cemetery[3]
NationalityAmerican Indian
OccupationActivist
Years active1973–present
OrganizationAmerican Indian Movement
PIE Patrol[5]
Known forParticipant in the murder of AIM Activist Anna Mae Aquash
Spouse(s)Edward Lamar Clarke (ex-husband)[6]
Julian Pokrywka (ex-husband)[7][8][9][10]
ChildrenEdward "Chip" Samuel Clarke (son)[6]
Ida Rose Clarke (daughter)[6]
Michael Patrick Clarke (son)[6][11]
RelativesRussell Means (biological nephew)[12][13][14][15]
Troy Lynn Yellow Wood-Williams (biological niece)[8]

Theda Nelson Clarke, born Theda Rose Nelson, was a Native American activist. She is perhaps best known for her involvement in the Wounded Knee incident with the murder of fellow American Indian Movement activist Anna Mae Aquash.

Early life[edit]

Nelson Clarke was born Theda Rose Nelson in 1924.[3] According to Census records, Theda R. Nelson was born in the state of South Dakota.[16][17]

Nelson-Clark lived in Scottsbluff, Nebraska at the time, and was the matriarch of a large tiyospaye (family),[18] leading to her being designated 'aunt' and 'auntie' by many in the community, including Troy Lynn Yellow Wood[18] and future accomplice in the murder of Anna Mae Aquash, John Graham.[citation needed]

Theda Nelson Clarke was aunt (whether this familial affiliation was biological or adopted is unclear) to Darlene Nichols (whom Nichols grew up with),[19] a key material witness in the murder trials of Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham for their roles in the murder of AIM activist Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash.

In the early 1940s, Ms. Clarke graduated from the St. Francis Indian School in St. Francis, South Dakota.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Theda Rose Nelson eventually married Edward Lamar Clarke, and had three children with him: Edward "Chip" Samuel Clarke (born September 23, 1962), Ida Rose Clarke (born December 22, 1963) and Patrick Michael Clarke (born September 6, 1965).[6] Theda and Edward eventually divorced.[6]

Nelson Clarke also married a Julian Pokrywka, although it does not appear that they were married at the time of their death.[7][8][9][10]

Activism[edit]

Clark was a member of the Pie Patrol, a group of women active in AIM, consisting of Madonna Gilbert, Lorelei DeCora,[21] Thelma Rios-Conroy, and other women within the AIM movement.[22] and Lorelei DeCora Means.[21] Mary Crow Dog (née Moore), wife of civil rights activist Leonard Crow Dog, who was also present during the siege at Wounded Knee, referred to the Pie Patrol as "loud-mouth city women, media conscious and hugging the limelight," who loved the camera and took credit for what the women of AIM were doing behind the scenes.

Legal history[edit]

Murder of Anna Mae Aquash[edit]

Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash was a female activist within the ranks of the American Indian Movement.

On December 12, 1975, Aquash was then forcefully moved to the Rosebud Indian Reservation where AIM supporters refused to house her.[23] Looking Cloud later testified that Nelson-Clarke was given orders to have Anna Mae eliminated.[24] Looking Cloud, along with Theda Nelson Clarke and John 'John Boy Patton' Graham, forced Aquash into the back of a car and drove her to a remote part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Clarke drove from Denver, Colorado to the scene of the shooting on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in her red Pinto.[25][26] Aquash was shot execution style in the back of the head and left to die.[27] Her body was discovered on February 24, 1976[28] on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at the bottom of a ravine located in close proximity to an isolated highway.[29] Aquash was revealed to have been executed using a gun, as the autopsy showed that the muzzle of the gun had been pressed into the back of her neck.[30] The coroner's report indicated that in addition to the fatal gunshot wound, exposure contributed to the death of Aquash.[31] Aquash's body was found nearly 2 months later on February 24, 1976[28] on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation at the bottom of a ravine located in close proximity to an isolated highway.[29] Aquash was revealed to have been murdered with a firearm, as the autopsy showed that the muzzle of the gun had been pressed into the back of her neck.[30] The coroner's report indicated that in addition to the fatal gunshot wound, exposure caused the death of Aquash,[31] as her body was frozen by the time it was discovered.[32]

Death[edit]

Nelson Clarke died on October 8, 2011,[3] at the age of 87 in a nursing home in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.[18] Nelson-Clarke was predeceased by her ex-husband, Edward Lamar Clarke, and two of her children, Edward Lamar Clarke and Ida Rose Clarke.[11]

Legacy[edit]

Her only surviving child is Edward "Chip" Samuel Clarke.

In December, Clarke was ruled competent to testify in John Graham's trial. But she exercised her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself in the presence of a jury and deferred the option of testifying under immunity.[20][33][34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Patrick Clarke Obituary". Legacy. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  2. ^ "Interview of Fritz Arlo Looking Cloud". JFAMR. March 27, 2003. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Theda Nelson Clarke". Find a Grave. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Theda Clarke, Suspect in 1975 AIM Killing, Dies". Indian Country News. October 12, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  5. ^ "Annie Mae Timeline I - Wounded Knee". Indian Country News. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Chapter X". Geneaology. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Annie Mae Timeline III - Fugitives at Port Madison, Washington". Indian Country Today Media Network. April 6, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Testimony of Troy Lynn Yellow Wood in the Trial of Arlo Looking Cloud February, 2004". JFAMR. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  9. ^ a b "PAGES 236 to 250". Graham Defense Committee. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  10. ^ a b "United States District Court District of South Dakota Western Division" (PDF). Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Patrick Michael Clarke". Rapid City Journal. November 16, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  12. ^ "Wanna see an FBI Informant?". Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "John Trimbach: Even more distortions of Wounded Knee '73". May 27, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  14. ^ "Interest In Further American Indian Movement Hiarchy & Members Indictments For Murder Voiced". May 27, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  15. ^ "Interest In Further American Indian Movement Hiarchy & Members Indictments For Murder Voiced". May 19, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  16. ^ "1940 United States Federal Census". Search Ancestry. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  17. ^ "Theda R. Nelson in the 1940 Census". Archives. May 23, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  18. ^ a b c Chasing Hawk, Ernestine (April 15, 2016). "Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Jealousy played role in Anna Mae's death". Indianz. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  19. ^ Chasing Hawk, Ernestine (May 23, 2016). "Ernestine Chasing Hawk: A vendetta in the death of Anna Mae". Indianz. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Lammers, Dirk (October 12, 2011). "Theda Clarke, suspected in killing of fellow activist". Associated Press. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  21. ^ a b "An Evening with Madonna Thunderhawk A Fundraising Event for the Lakota People's Law Project". Brecht Forum. April 21, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  22. ^ O'Driscoll, Patrick (January 1997). "Annie Mae Pictou Aquash Time Line An Investigation by News From Indian Country". Dick Shovel. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  23. ^ "Friday, December 12, 1975". JFAMR. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  24. ^ "Open Letter to John Boy Patton". Dick Shovel. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  25. ^ Konigsberg, Eric (July 28, 2008). "Why Killed Anna Mae?". New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  26. ^ "Knowledge, Honesty & Courage vs. AIM & Greg Matson". Oneida Eye. October 4, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  27. ^ "Why Was Anna Mae Aquash Really Murdered?". Legend of Pine Ridge. July 28, 2008. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  28. ^ a b "What is the Truth About the Murder of Anna Mae?". The Huffington Post. August 27, 2007. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  29. ^ a b "What is the Truth About the Murder of Anna Mae?". First Nation's Drums. December 26, 2000. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  30. ^ a b "NATIVE_NEWS: ANNA MAE: A Badlands trail of secrets and murder". Mail Archives. August 7, 1999. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  31. ^ a b Sparrow, CJ (June 22, 2013). "Who killed Anna Mae Aquash and who cares anyway?". Occupirate. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  32. ^ Donnelly, Michael (January 17, 2006). "Killing Anna Mae Aquash, Smearing John Trudell". Mail Archives. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  33. ^ "U.S. woman suspected in Pictou-Aquash murder dies". Occupirate. October 11, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  34. ^ Lammers, Dirk (October 11, 2011). "Former AIM activist Theda Clarke dies". Occupirate. Retrieved August 18, 2016.