Dino Butler walks across the arbor, his dark skin gleaming with sweat, his long hair straggling down his back. He's wearing that funny lopsided grin that he has, and he's smiling because of something funny his three sisters just said to him. Dino is just an ordinary Indian guy, embarrassed by his irrepressible siblings. Dino was once almost a God to me. Now he's just a really cool guy who I admire a lot.
Darelle "Dino" Butler is best known for being one of the men accused of the murder of two FBI agents and one Indian man in 1975, along with Leonard Peltier and Bob Robideau. Dino and Bob were acquitted, while Peltier still sits in prison after over 25 years. The murder happened in Oglala, South Dakota when the FBI attacked a spiritual camp. Many questions remain about what really happened that day, and I'm sure Dino has some of the answers, but Dino has a lot of answers.
Dino grew up wild. His ancestors had been forced from their homelands near the Rogue River of Southern Oregon in the mid-1800s to a reservation on the central Oregon coast, the Siletz reservation. Dino's outlook on life, his values and morals, his identity as an Indian man in the white world was largely formed by that event. He got sent to a boys' school when he was 13 for curfew violations, and remained in and out of jails and prisons for the next two decades. The longest time he was free during that time was 6 months.
In 1974 Dino was introduced to AIM, the American Indian Movement, and a spiritual awakening began. He started attending traditional ceremonies. He got involved with the struggle for indigenous rights and Indian sovereignty. He began to lose some of his hatred, and it was replaced with pride. Dino is now working hard with his people to help them relinquish the legacy of hatred, to help them embrace respect for all life. Dino is awesome. I would like to enclose a story that Dino told in an interview with E.K. Caldwell in 1995.
"The way that I was taught was that in the beginning Grandfather/Grandmother, the Creator, made this universe and created Mother Earth. Four families were put upon the earth to live in harmony and respect to life. The Black people. The White People. The Red People. And the Yellow People. He put each of these People in a different part of the world and he gave them a way of life to live upon that land. He also gave them instructions about their way of life and the instruction was that no one People would force their way of life upon another People. No people should accept anything that is being forced upon them in that way. That if these ways weren't followed that the People would become confused and there would be a lot of pain among the People.
To me, if we tell this story right, all other things will become clear and people hearing what I say will understand."