Restless Spirit: The Murder of Eddie Peltier
A True Story
Cat West
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The Story of Eddie Peltier's Murder

Anyone may copy or reprint in part or in it's entirety any portion of this report. Permission is granted under one condition: My name as author is attached.


It is said that when an Indian is murdered, his spirit is “restless” buffaloand cannot continue his journey until the murderer or murders are brought to justice. If that is so, the Spirit of Eddie Peltier has been stirring for a long time.




He was murdered on August 29, 1983 in the small moments just before dawn. He went down fighting, one against all of them.  He got a piece of each one and now he won't let go.

Others, who stood around and watched, did nothing and said nothing, thought they would be in the clear.  But Eddie got a piece of them too. 

This story will tell you what happened and how it happened.  You will learn the dynamics of life on the Spirit Lake Reservation, "The Rez", and how those who perpetrated this evil, and those who helped them, are walking around, terrorizing their community, and living in fear and mistrust of one another.

It is a sordid, ugly tale.  And it is all true.  And while you are cringing at some of the details, know this one thing for true:  This is NOT the only place this is happening. You can place this evil and these cowards and the few good and courageous people who defy them, on just about any reservation in America.

And, if you think it doesn't affect you, think again.  This evil is not contained, but rather because it is so protected by a government that looks the other way and squelches anyone that dares to stand up, this evil emanates, contaminates us all.  If we are to save ourselves, we dare not continue to look away.  Further, we must act. 

The off duty cop, James Yankton, claims to have found the body as he and his friends, Jeannie Charboneau, his brother Roger Yankton, and another friend, Bruce McKay, were coming back from the Wedding party of Buddy Longie in nearby St. Michaels.

This and other versions of their stories have alibi problems: The Wedding Party was the previous Friday and the party had completely ended at noon, Saturday.

Another BIG problem is that Roger had been, until approximately 1:30 AM, locked up in the Tribal Jail on the Rez. Locked up for drunk and disorderly. It is a matter of record. It is a rule that once a drunk is jailed, they are NOT released until 8 AM the following day, so they can sober up.

James made a special trip, used the power of his badge to force the early release of his brother Roger. So, apparently, they were never near St. Michaels that early morning, nor the previous night.

Eddie was the first casualty of that morning, the Truth was next and continues to this day, to be hidden.

Witnesses who came forward at the time to say that they had seen Eddie Peltier with James Yankton, Jr. (aka Junior" or "JR") and with Quentin Yankton at the home of Celeste Herman, the sister of James Jr. and Quentin Yankton in those early morning hours were ignored. Some were threatened. Others were put on the "suspect list" which you will learn about later.

Several people claimed to have heard and one person came forward to state that she heard a woman screaming: “Stop hitting him James! You’ve already killed him!” coming from inside Celeste Hermann's residence in the early morning hours. The statements were never checked out. People were told to never speak of it again. But they did.

Despite his claim to being too drunk to drive, and being the only vehicle at the scene of a dead body on the highway, James Jr's vehicle was never inspected for evidence. It was never impounded. The tires were never looked at for comparison to the tread marks on Eddie Peltier's body.

In fact, James Jr. was easily able to take the lead in the investigation on the spot, and steer it completely away from himself and his family. He had the full assistance of the Devil's Lake Police Department, the BIA and the FBI, and the Justice Department.

How all this came into being will be revealed along the way.  There will be some high profile types with blood on their hands.  Some you have heard about, and others still under their rocks, squirming anytime one is turned over and the stink of their lives rises to a point not easily ignored. 

No one wants to touch it, it is that bad. No one wants to tell it because they are afraid of reprisals, and with good reason: Eddie was not the first, nor the last to be done away with so business as usual could continue in Indian Country.

Indian Country, where everyone goes by two or more names, families with control over the government funds that come and go from the rez without audit oversight; control the Tribal Council, control jobs, and control who gets what from money, to jobs to food to feed their family.  They control who gets arrested, goes to prison, and who gets away with murder. Those with the power can deal the drugs with impunity, molest their children without consequences, rape their neighbors and laugh at the tears.

Power.  It is all about power.

Put enough money or good times in the pockets and hands of the big boys from the outside, give them free run of the resources, and you are guaranteed to keep that power, have and gain even more access to people in high places, especially in the FBI and the Justice Department. 

Everything is  a secret there.  Nothing gets out.  That is why there are so many "surprises" about who is spying within the organization and selling their souls and our secrets to the enemy regimes, for decades at a time.  No one, it seems, is allowed to ask questions. Obedience, first rule of power.

This is where our government turns its back on pure evil, my friends.  It is business as usual in Indian Country.

Things get complicated to the outsider who was not born or inbred into these families. Outsiders get lost just in following who is who, and don't go any further.  Outsiders can't relate to Indians.  Even other minorities who have gained ground, cannot relate to Indians. It is like they are pale shadows on the land.

Crimes go unpunished.  Good people suffer. First Nations People become invisible on the social radar.  Stereo-typed beyond any other race, they simply cease to exist on the social spectrum when good people everywhere think of themselves as Americans. Oh yeah, and the indians too. Third World tactics right under our noses, go unseen. Right here in America.  Democracy? Justice? Don't make me laugh.  Don't make me cry.

The few who do figure it out, well, the government has no use for them.  Revealing the whole truth will, without a doubt, tarnish some erstwhile stellar reputations in the hallowed halls of the Justice Department and beyond. Maybe send a few of them to prison.  History would have to be re-written.  Champagne toasts and awards rescinded.  Can't do that, now can we?  Keep it complicated.  Prying eyes stay away. Business as usual.

Government's main job, especially in Indian Country, is to make itself immune from consequences.  They have become adept at looking the other way, and of leaking information that will undo a proper investigation.  They can stop the truth with the stroke of a pen transferring any FBI Agent that investigates the case too well, to another anonymous detail, far, far away...

So, before you ask: "Why doesn't the government do something about this?" learn more and then write to your representatives and demand an investigation. Ultimately, it is YOUR vote that is key to them staying "in Power".  Therefore, it falls to us, ALL of us to open this up, clean it out and save ourselves. 

If you are waiting for someone to come along and do this for you, you condemn your children and their children to the consequences of your apathy. I am just a messenger.  I am not your maid and I do not clean up your messes.

No one is paying me and I cannot stop.  The Truth will not let me stop. I may never know Peace in my lifetime, but I will do my part so that I can find it when I go.

And before you sniff and blow this off as mere rantings, libelous or slanderous on my part, ask yourself as you read deeper and deeper into this untwisting tale, why those bad guys don't want anyone, ANYONE to take me to court. 

Simple answer:  Once in court, I can prove my case. They cannot stop me from proving what is said here.  Judge Benson, Lynn Crooks (USAG,ret), Dennis Fisher (USAG fired for shoplifting) and others, they all endure the slings and arrows because they want it not to get one foot into a courtroom.  They don't want documents they thought they destroyed to show up and be their undoing. They hate it, but they stay silent because they have to. Think about that.

Back to our story:

James Yankton: Ruthless and stupid, but well connected in all the right places.

Every logical bone in the body of common sense says that this man and his family were the prime suspects, yet he was handed everything he needed to cover his tracks, misdirect blame, and continue his abusive, corrupt behaviors. One would have to ask "why?" but few dare.

James Yankton and his brothers were easily able to overtake any investigation into this case. They had help:

  • Spencer Helleckson, a dedicated drunk Special Agent on permanent assignment to the Fort Totten Reservation. He and James Jr. share a special bond that involves, to this day, several daily contacts and secret meetings. (They no longer chat on the phone directly because they are concerned that they might be bugged! Instead, they have the dispatcher, Mary MacDonald at the police station relay the message to meet and when.)

  • Lynn Crooks and Dennis Fisher, corrupt US Attorneys who use their Masonic Brotherhood affiliations to co-opt investigators, and Federal Judges alike. A cookie-cutter method that worked in other cases and worked in this one. The status of high office such as US Attorney or Assistant US Attorney, carries substantial sway in the Justice department and whatever rolls downhill from that office. (We know what rolls downhill!) Lynn Crooks is the equivalent of a Cult Leader within this secretive, powerful and far reaching group. They were able to suppress true eyewitness testimony, and even the existence of eyewitnesses! They were able to coerce fabricated statements from people that were beaten, threatened or even tortured into suborned perjured statements.

    After they had given the false testimony they were threatened that if they ever recanted, they could be tried for perjury and sent to prison for 14 years or more! And then they were, two years after the trial, delivered $500 in cash each as "payment" for their keeping their mouths shut. (Lynn Crooks insisted that the courier get a signed receipt! Smart move, dummy!)

  • Judge Paul Benson, who has been notorious for his bias against Indians and his fervent pride in being a direct descendant of Gen. Custer (who also built his career and reputation on massacring old men, women and children in the pre-dawn hours while they were sleeping and all the able bodied men were off hunting). He also illegally assisted the Prosecution in this case (and probably others) by holding ex-parte meetings in his office.

    On one of these occasions, he personally harassed and threatened one 15-year old woman, who had 3 children, that if she did not perjure herself and tell the story the Prosecution wanted her to tell, that he would see to it that she and her parents would be thrown in prison and that her children would be taken away and she would never see them again. For good measure, he had her parents there as well, under arrest.

    He personally signed her arrest warrant in her presence in the office. Signed and dated! Then, less than an hour later, signed the retraction of that warrant! Obviously, she was in his office, as she claimed when she later recanted her testimony, saying she was forced to lie. But the Prosecution holds that because she could not describe the differences in Judge Benson's Chambers from those of other Federal Judges (How could she? She was only in his chambers, not in the others!) that she was not to be believed! He added that the difference was obvious in that Paul Benson's chambers were painted a "lovely charcoal grey". I kid you not!

Culture Shock

Life on the Reserve is different than life in the rest of the USA. On the reserve, the Feds have jurisdiction over your life. There was one man who represented the Federal government at the highest level on the Reserve and that was Spencer Hellekson. A man without integrity, without self-control and without scruples. James Yankton's best friend, Spencer Hellekson.

Given Spencer's lost ways, one can only guess what other deviations he is into and that keep him beholdin' to Yanktons and their evil. Has anyone ever audited Hellekson's spending v. his income? Is he into child molesting like the Yanktons? He must be to some degree as he has moved heaven and earth to protect them from arrest or even from having charges filed when it is common knowledge that James raped his daughters and that one or more have given birth to their own brothers.

(Note: When she attempted to file a complaint of molest and assault against her father when she was 14, Dennis Fisher and Lynn Crooks used the power of their office to overpower the social worker and have her released immediately into her father's custody and halt any investigation. Her son is now old enough to know his sister is his mother/ his mother is is sister/mother. She could also be his aunt for all the inbreeding that goes on in the Yankton Cluster. 

Spencer is too close to NOT know. And given that he protects them from charges or investigation for rape, molest and embezzlement, I can only conclude that he gets his share of all of the above. Why else would he do it?

(NOTE: Spencer Hellekson reluctantly, was forced to retire (age) in 2001, but he maintains the same tight contact and support of the Yankton family, especially with James Yankton, Jr.)

People living on the Reservation can't just contact their congressman and register a complaint. They don't have a congressman. They have the BIA; an Administration headed by appointees, whose qualifications are never an issue. The BIA, which has never issued a current or even relatively current audit of their spending, controls billions of dollars per year, is never held accountable for how those funds are distributed, nor to whom.

Living on the reserve means that the steps you have to take to gain any kind of recourse, legal or judicial, must go through the *FBI, in this case, Spencer Hellekson, (and later it was, Mike Wilson his successor and sycophant and now, whomever becomes the "Poodle" lapdog FBI agent on the rez.) or the BIA.  James Yankton had only one person in the way of his taking over the BIA Chief of Police position at the time of the murder: Melvin Grey Bear.

Melvin Grey Bear was an idealistic Chief of police. He was also helping to revive the traditional ways of Native Spiritual Teachings: Sweat Lodge Ceremonies, respect for elders, honesty and fair play. This murder of Eddie Peltier would not pass as a "highway hit and run" to Melvin Grey Bear. 

Other highly questionable  "accidents" had blown past his radar before, but this one would not.  Melvin had begun connectiong with the Native Spiritual Path and would not condone, overlook, nor abide this murder.  His designating Eddie's death as a "homicide" triggered a chaotic chain reaction which ultimately destroyed the lives of the innocent and allowed the guilty to seize power and control of the rez.

Although the murder took place at a time when Melvin Grey Bear and his wife were visiting relatives in Montana, and some say it was "planned" to take place in his absence, Melvin Grey Bear refused to sign off on the Death Certificate as "Hit and Run". Instead, he entered "Homicide".

That made Melvin Grey Bear an obstacle that needed to be removed.  It was clear from all who knew him, that he could not be corrupted. He could, in this case, ruin everything James Yankton and his cronies had planned.

James Yankton, with the help of his friends, Spencer Hellekson, FBI and corrupt individuals such as O.J. Semans (also a B.I.A. cop) and U.S. Attorneys, Lynn Crooks and Dennis Fisher, an alternate scenario was created and 11 innocent young men were framed for the murder and stood trial.

Their No. 1 suspect to frame was Loren Grey Bear, Melvin Grey Bear's son. This enabled Hellekson and the BIA to request that Melvin Grey Bear be removed from having any access to the case. In fact, he was transferred out of state, to Idaho, while the case against his son was being manufactured in the crudest of fashions.

NOTE: During this time, the Yanktons threatened and harassed the Grey Bear family, attempting to run Melvin's wife, Lorraine Grey Bear off the road in a daylight game of "chicken".  But she refused to be intimidated. Even with her husband transferred two states away, they could not intimidate her into leaving.  The Yanktons fear anyone who stands up to them, even if it is a mother with young children in the car.  They are known as the biggest cowards on the rez.  Typical of bullies, they fear everything and everyone.

However, Loren Grey Bear had the ideal alibi: He was throwing a party at his parents' house in their absence. There were at least 17 people in attendance, among them, the son of a judge, all who could swear to Loren Grey Bear's whereabouts before, during and after the murder.

To deal with this obstacle, Yankton and Hellekson, with the help of the US Attorney's office and other corrupt agents, took the list of names that were offered in Loren Grey Bear's alibi, and named them all as suspects! Most of these names were kids in their mid-to-late teens. As each one told the truth about the party, they were arrested for murder.

Key to making this cluster of witnesses into suspects, was to move the location of the party to within less than a mile of where the body was found. The party was then declared to have occurred at the home of Bernice Juarez, the home closest to the scene where the body was left.

Note: Bernice Juarez, a devout Christian, was out of town at the time. Her house was the first house the investigators went to to see if anyone had heard or seen anything. They remarked at the time that the yard was neat, well kept and the house was orderly. This was within an hour of the body being "found" on the highway nearby. Hardly the scene of a violent drunken party hosting nearly 50 people the night before, none-the-less, through the magic of threats, lies, beatings and torture, Lynn Crooks, Dennis Fisher and the rest of them managed to create this as the "scene of the crime".

This began the longest stage of the "investigation": Threatening and terrorizing these young individuals while in custody, to persuade them to tell another story, one concocted by James Yankton. They were beaten, their families threatened, and in some cases, outright terrorism at the hands of oversized FBI agents bullying little girls as young as 9 years old, one teen age girl being snatched from her shower and held at gunpoint for hours. The door to her home being kicked in by two FBI agents who had observed the house for hours waiting for both parents to leave before entering.

Continued on Next Page

(*NOTE:  Posting to the rez, any rez, is considered as being sent to Siberia in the FBI.   These are not the best and brightest nor do they have the stellar integrity the FBI would like to be assumed by us all.  These are one step from washing out, agents.)



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