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American Indian activist, painter

February 21, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Robert Robideau, 61, an American Indian activist who was acquitted of killing two FBI agents in a 1975 shootout in South Dakota, died Tuesday in Barcelona, Spain, where he had been living. Authorities there said his death may have been related to seizures caused by shrapnel left in his head from an accidental explosion.

Robideau, a native of Portland, Ore., was a member of the American Indian Movement who occupied the reservation town of Wounded Knee, S.D., for 71 days in 1973.

In June 1975, two FBI agents followed a man wanted in the theft of a pair of cowboy boots onto the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The agents soon came under heavy rifle fire and were killed.

The FBI identified Robideau's cousin Leonard Peltier as a suspect in the shooting and placed him on its most wanted list.

Months later, Robideau was driving Peltier's station wagon through Kansas with other AIM members when ammunition in the car accidentally exploded.

Robideau, who was seriously injured, was arrested and tried for the FBI agent killings, but he was acquitted. Peltier was convicted.

Robideau later became a painter, concentrating on tribal themes. He served as director of the American Indian Movement Museum in Barcelona, which displayed some of his paintings.

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