Mr. Camp spoke in 2006 to a group of American Indians and others protesting a proposed biker bar near Bear Butte (in background), near Sturgis, S.D.
Mr. Camp spoke in 2006 to a group of American Indians and others protesting a proposed biker bar near Bear Butte (in background), near Sturgis, S.D.
Doug Dreyer/Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Carter Camp, a longtime activist with the American Indian Movement who was a leader in the Wounded Knee occupation in South Dakota, has died in Oklahoma. He was 72.

Mr. Camp’s sister, Casey Camp-Horinek, said Thursday that he died Dec. 27 surrounded by family in White Eagle, Okla. Camp-Horinek said her brother had cancer for the past year. Services for Mr. Camp were held Tuesday.

A member of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, Mr. Camp was a longtime member of the American Indian Movement, organizing more than 30 chapters in his home state, Camp-Horinek said. The American Indian Movement was founded in the 1960s to protest the US government’s treatment of Native Americans and to demand that the government honor its treaties with Indian tribes.

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Mr. Camp had a leading role in the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972, in which a caravan of Native American activists drove across the country to Washington, D.C., to protest treaties between tribes and the US government. They took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs for several days.

The following year, Mr. Camp headed to South Dakota with other American Indian Movement leaders, including Russell Means and Dennis Banks. There they organized the Wounded Knee uprising, a 71-day siege that included several gun battles with federal officers. Means died in 2012 at age 72.

‘‘He was the only person in [a] leadership position in Wounded Knee who never left Wounded Knee, not to go out and do press junkets, not to go and sit in a hotel for a while. None of that. He was a war leader there. He stayed inside with his warriors,” Camp-Horinek said.

While several people in leadership roles went on trial for incidents that took place at Wounded Knee, Mr. Camp was the only one to ever serve time. He spent two years in prison in Leavenworth, Kan., for assaulting a postal inspector, a charge that Camp-Horinkek disputes.

In recent years, Mr. Camp’s focus turned to the Keystone XL pipeline, which he bitterly opposed.

Once completed, the contested pipeline would carry tar sands oil from Canada down the midsection of the country and into Texas.

Though Mr. Camp was notified nearly a year ago that he had only a few months to live due to the cancer that had metastasized into his lungs, kidney, and liver, Camp-Horinek said his strength of spirit allowed him to take part in a sun dance last summer.

Mr. Camp will be remembered as a warrior, a spiritual leader, and a kind family man, Camp-Horinkek, 65, said.