published Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Suit seeks FBI’s records on missing black civil rights activist at Wounded Knee, S.D.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An attorney looking for answers in the 40-year-old disappearance of a black civil rights activist at Wounded Knee, S.D., has filed a lawsuit seeking the FBI’s records.

Michael Kuzma’s Freedom of Information suit follows more than two years of efforts to obtain records relating to Ray Robinson of Selma, Ala., who disappeared in April 1973 and is presumed dead, according to the court filing.

The June 26 suit against the U.S. Justice Department was filed in federal court in Buffalo because Kuzma lives in the city.

Robinson, a follower of Martin Luther King Jr., had traveled to South Dakota in 1973 to stand alongside Native Americans who were protesting alleged corruption within the tribal government.

Kuzma said the family and the American people have a right to know what happened to Robinson during the 71-day standoff in which hundreds of American Indian Movement protesters occupied the town. Two Native Americans died and a federal agent was seriously wounded.

Little is known about what happened to Robinson after his arrival. He has been declared dead, but his body has never been found.

“This may sound silly after all these years, but we just want to bury him,” Tamara Kamara, one of his daughters who lives in Michigan, told The Buffalo News in Friday’s edition. “We just want to know he’s gone and have a place to take my children and grandchildren and say this is where he’s buried.”

FBI officials have said the Robinson case remains open.

The lawsuit seeking information about the FBI’s investigation includes a letter from the agency indicating some records have been destroyed.

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