American Indian Mafia

An FBI Agent's True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM)

by Joseph H. Trimbach and John M. Trimbach

American Indian Mafia

American Indian Mafia

An FBI Agent's True Story about Wounded Knee, Leonard Peltier, and the American Indian Movement (AIM)

by Joseph H. Trimbach and John M. Trimbach

Published Dec 13, 2007
650 Pages
Genre: HISTORY / Modern / General


Book Details

The book the AIM leadership does not want you to read!

For the first time ever, a senior FBI Agent reveals the true history of the American Indian Movement (AIM). And for the first time, former Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Joseph H Trimbach spills the beans on what really happened during those turbulent years on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation. Trimbach's documented account exposes AIM's dirty little secrets unlike any other history book. In fact, American Indian Mafia exposes the history books! It is time to set the record straight for the benefit of educators, historians, and all Americans who care about the TRUTH.

The 1970s legacy of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota is haunted by the forgotten suffering of innocent victims and a falsified history found in almost every library in America. Sadly, what should have been a needed voice for Native America became a criminal enterprise on the reservation, where property was destroyed and lives were lost. A record founded in falsehoods and distortions completed the betrayal and denied the reality of lost opportunities, shattered lives, and a Movement hijacked by its leadership. Today, the perpetrators are known as "brave warriors" and "selfless activists," while many of their crimes against Indians are minimized, or not mentioned at all.

In this provocative, first-person narrative, Special Agent Trimbach (SAC-Minneapolis) chronicles the true legacy of the American Indian Movement leadership and how this small group of radicals tore a path of destruction through the Pine Ridge Reservation on their way to personal gain, fame, and fortune, and how:

• AIM leaders extorted funds from religious organizations, the federal government and unsuspecting supporters, and kept much of the money for themselves.

• Public officials, deluded into excusing criminal behavior by virtue of "indigenous immunity," actually encouraged violence against other Indians.

• Using Federal grant money, AIM leaders planned and executed the takeover of Wounded Knee village on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973, ending in its complete destruction.

• A Federal judge dismissed all charges against the instigators following a secret meeting with one of the defendants and an ex-parte meeting with the defendants' lawyers.

• AIM leaders, armed with a cache of weaponry and explosives, plotted the takeover of the reservation and the elimination of the elected Tribal leadership.

• AIM leaders conspired to murder their opponents, even their own members.

• The media was fooled into believing AIM conspiracy theories, and often missed the real story of AIM treachery and violence.

• AIM member Leonard Peltier, now serving life sentences for murdering two Federal Agents, attracted a worldwide following of supporters including Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, the Dali Lama, Amnesty International, the Hollywood Left and several politicians, all of whom have labeled Peltier a "political prisoner." His supporters have petitioned President Obama to grant Peltier executive clemency.

• How Leonard Peltier and his lawyers have bilked millions of people out of their time and money in support of his claim that he is an innocent man "railroaded" into prison.

• AIM supporters have profited from promoting bogus history, such as claims that the FBI used a COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) against AIM leaders and their lawyers, backed roving death squads on the reservation, and conspired in the (AIM-ordered) execution of AIM member Anna Mae Pictou Aquash.

• Authors, journalists, and historians unwittingly passed along falsified accounts, much of it designed to divert attention away from AIM criminal activity.

• In the wake of the AIM legacy and continued governmental failures, the Pine Ridge Reservation suffers from many social malignancies such as unemployment near 90%, life expectancy of approximately 56 years, rampant alcoholism, and widespread child sex abuse.

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Though the American Indian Movement may have begun with the best of intentions, its leadership soon became more concerned with helping themselves than with helping their people. In a matter of months, they stole the organization's potential for improving the quality of life in Indian Country and perverted the legacy of authentic Indian warriors such as Chief Crazy Horse. What's worse, the history books are complicit in the cover stories, where criminals are often given a pass while their Indian victims are consigned to anonymity. American Indian Mafia finally sets the historical record straight.

Part personal odyssey, part history, Trimbach's account tells the real story of AIM's armed assault on Wounded Knee village in 1973, where FBI and BIA Agents and U.S. Marshals showed incredible patience and restraint in the face of nightly gun attacks. Mafia explains how never-ending negotiations led to the village's complete destruction, and how secret murders behind the barriers and the failure to hold the AIM leadership accountable led to a reign of terror on the reservation. Mafia assigns much of the blame to federal judges who advanced a political agenda at the expense of true justice. AIM instigators, such as Russell Means, were thus handed carte blanche to terrorize Pine Ridge Indians for years to come.

AIM violence on the reservation culminated in the 1975 murder of Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, the only FBI Agents ever to have been executed in the line of duty. Mafia exposes AIM member Leonard Peltier as the clear perpetrator and as a false hero who has fooled millions into believing in his innocence. Authors, actors, politicians, world leaders, investigative journalists, members of the clergy, and many professors of Indian Studies have all fallen victim to the Peltier ruse. Citing numerous examples of doctored history, Mafia fingers former Professor Ward Churchill as being particularly guilty of creating and promoting falsified accounts of Pine Ridge, AIM, and the FBI.

In another startling revelation, Mafia points to AIM leaders as likely suspects in the Wounded Knee murder of Ray Robinson, the only black male seen in the village during that period of the occupation. Robinson, a civil rights activist under Martin Luther King, was shot in the leg during an argument and carted off to the makeshift infirmary. He was never heard from again. Mafia is the only book that faithfully explains why Robinson's death remains a closely guarded secret. Trimbach's account also exposes AIM leader Dennis Banks as a prime suspect in the ordered execution of Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, a loyal member falsely accused of being an FBI informant. The alleged triggerman, John Graham, extradited from Vancouver, Canada, to Rapid City, South Dakota will soon stand trial for murder. No other book explains why the upcoming trial of Graham and his accomplice could lead to indictments of the AIM leadership.

☼ ☼ ☼

Mafia is the long-awaited book that fills the void in an often misunderstood chapter of American history. Judge William H. Webster, former Director of the FBI and the CIA, says Trimbach's hard-hitting exposé is " important contribution to our understanding of what actually happened." America's original Anti-Terrorism Coordinator, Lt Col Oliver North, describes author Trimbach as a "myth-buster" whose "carefully compiled chronology" should be read by all Americans who "seek truth behind the headlines."

Indian Country will find Trimbach's book a welcome addition to the historical record. Native publisher Paul DeMain (Oneida-Ojibwe), editor of News from Indian Country, says Mafia is a "must-read" for understanding those turbulent years. Award-winning Native journalist, Tim Giago (Oglala Lakota), declares that Trimbach not only challenges popular beliefs, he "takes apart Peter Matthiessen's In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, movies like Thunderheart, Lakota Woman, and A Tattoo on My Heart - The Warriors of Wounded Knee 1973, and exposes them for the frauds that they are. It is refreshing to finally hear the other side of the story." With common sense and wit, Trimbach likewise explores the historical deficiencies of Ken Stern's Loud Hawk, John Sayer's Ghost Dancing the Law, the Wounded Knee Trials, and Steve Hendricks's The Unquiet Grave.

Professor Alan Dershowitz wrote that AIM's calamitous rule left "... thousands of poverty-stricken Indians, first driven by years of neglect to accept false prophets of violence and then shorn even of that ineffective leadership." Pine Ridge Indians have waited for over thirty years for the truth to come out and for the healing to begin. With the addition of American Indian Mafia to the nation's libraries and universities, the true Pine Ridge saga will finally have a home. With over a thousand endnotes, dozens of photographs, two appendices, and never-before-published primary source material, Trimbach's account documents the sad history of a victimized people sorely in need of a spiritual and economic revival. Mafia concludes with prescriptive solutions for fighting a host of social ills that plague Pine Ridge. Trimbach devotes the Epilogue to exposing the horrendous problem of rampant child sex abuse on the reservation, and what must be done to fight this evil.

American Indian Mafia promotes genuine Pine Ridge healing and will leave readers with a new sense of hope and a vision for a brighter future for the Lakota Sioux Indians of South Dakota. Considered required reading at Michigan State University, and soon to be made into a feature film, American Indian Mafia breaks the mold on what a history book can do to correct the historical record for the benefit of all.

For more information, commentary, and links to current events, see and For information on public appearances, book signings, and speeches, see (keyword: Trimbach)


Book Excerpt

Book excerpt, on the former professor of Indian Studies, Ward Churchill, following several never-before-published examples of falsified research:

The problem with political loons like the professor from Boulder is that they never seem to get around to actually addressing the problems of their claimed constituents, in this case, Native Americans. If this Indian wannabe was genuinely interested in the plight of Pine Ridge residents, one would think he would be out in front on the issues of the day, putting his taxpayer-subsidized wampum where his mouth is. Instead, we get substandard academics laced with self-indulgent fantasy under the guise of constitutionally protected speech and “academic freedom”... When it comes to addressing the most malignant problems plaguing the reservation, AIM remnants are characteristically AWOL, and in protected sanctuaries of mock scholarship, “historians” like Churchill are clueless.


About the Author

Joseph H. Trimbach and John M. Trimbach

Joseph H. Trimbach graduated from Canisius College in New York and received an MBA degree from the University of Buffalo. He served three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of captain, before becoming an FBI Special Agent in 1956. His investigative work included kidnappings, bank robberies, and the famed undercover operation that exposed police corruption in Jacksonville, Florida, in the 1960s. This case won him accolades from both FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Special Agent Trimbach served overseas on the Bureau’s inspection staff before being appointed SAC - Minneapolis in 1973. Throughout a career that led him to six Field Offices, he earned numerous cash awards and letters of commendation from three Directors, as well as personal letters of thanks from the Secretary of the Interior and the President of the United States.

After retiring out of the Memphis Field Office in 1979, Joe joined Guardsmark, Inc., an international security services firm, as a senior Vice-president. He later worked for the U.S. State Department. Joe and his wife of 56 years, the former Kathleen Rahill, live in Florida, and they enjoy traveling to visit their seven children and 20 grandchildren.

John M. Trimbach graduated from the University of Notre Dame where he earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering. He earned a Masters Degree from the University of Tennessee in 1981. John served in the Air Force for eight years as a fighter pilot before joining a major airline in 1989. John lives in Georgia with his wife and four children. Both John and Joe worked as Backround Investigators for the U.S. State Department. American Indian Mafia is their first published book.