Not many people here in Denmark have heard of the American photographer Owen Luck. I’ve never met him in person but are proud to call him my friend. Without his support and trust I possibly would have giving up the Holdt-story. I felt that Jacob Holdt was lying about Wounded Knee. Owen Luck knew it.
Mr. Owen Luck is everything that Jacob Holdt is not. A veteran of the Vietnam War, serving two tours of duty as a medic. Home from the war and out of the army hitchhiking to Woodstock where he, to the tunes of Jimi Hendrix’ famous rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, found rest in the buxom bosom of a voluptuous hippie-blonde.
Mr. Owen Luck is also a veteran of Wounded Knee. Yesterday he wrote the following on Facebook:
I would like to introduce myself to the discussion about Jacob Holt, and his story of participation, or lack there of during the 1973 American Indian Movement Liberation of the Village of Wounded Knee on the Pine ridge Lakota reservation in South Dakota.
Mr. Martin Kasler contacted me during his investigation into the truthfulness of Holdt’s stories about Wounded Knee 1973. When we first spoke Mr. Kasler had already conducted in depth inquires into Holt’s story. Mr. Kasler’s phone interviews with me were professionally conducted and it was obvious he was sincere in his desire to get the record straight, and I was glad to assist in anyway possible, as I was in the unique position to verify or not, Holdt’s story. Martin Kasler had already read my story as a Witness to Wounded Knee 1973 that was published by Princeton Library Chronicle.
Along with Ron Rosen, I arrived on the 4th day of the siege. I was a photojournalist and volunteer medic. I did not ever see Holdt inside Wounded Knee. By chance Holdt made some photographs of me at the burial of Frank Clearwater at Crow Dog’s Paradise on the Rose Bud Lakota Reservation. I only recall a brief interview and that he made some photographs of me during the procession. I never witnessed any special attention paid Holdt by any of the Native people with whom I’d become friends. He never made a speech, he did not sleep in a special Tipi with the wife of Frank Clear Water.
Clearwater’s remains were held in a ceremonial Tipi at the home of Frank Fools Crow in Kyle South Dakota on the Pine ridge Reservation. From there I accompanied Clear Waters remains to the Rosebud. His burial was important to me because Clearwater had been killed by automatic weapon fire from the FBI during the Air Drop that I was leading.
You can find Mr Owen Luck’s eyewitness account of Wounded Knee in A Witness at Wounded Knee, 1973, Princeton University Library Chronicle, Volume LXVII 2005-2006. And his account of My Long and Winding Road to Woodstock in Fear and Loathing of Boca Raton, Steven Lewis 2008.
Owen Luck also took some beautiful pictures from Wounded Knee. You can see them at NPR’s The Picture Show. My personal favorite is this:
These are the conditions that Jacob Holdt for forty years has told the Danish public he endured. These are the men he’s been lying about. Lakota warriors. The blood of Red Cloud, Man-Afraid-of-His-Horses, Gall, Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse runs in their veins. Very few White men have earned their respect. My friend Owen Luck is one of them.