January 9, 1976
of the Advisory Board
New York 10027
the Pulitzer judges:
have the privilege of nominating Kevin B. McKiernan
for a Pulitzer prize in Spot News Photography.
was on assignment for National Public Radio covering
the Dennis Banks trial in Custer, South Dakota. He
had met Banks on several occasions.
a short trial recess on June 26, Banks motioned
for McKiernan to accompany him into a hallway at
the Custer courthouse. "They're shooting
it out on the reservation," said Banks.
did not wait to hear more. He drove the 100
miles to the Pine Ridge Reservation, talking his
way past FBI and Bureau of Indian Affairs roadblocks
on route. At the last BIA roadblock, interrogators
put a gun to his head but he was able to establish
his identity and make his way forward because of
an acquaintance at the roadblock.
after leaving the final roadblock he heard shooting. He
thought that one round had hit his truck so he
stopped and made his way on foot toward the house
from which the shooting seemed to be coming.
men were running from the area. He spotted
the body on the ground and shot one picture as
a BIA policeman hurried toward it. He shot
once more as the policeman stood over the body. Then
the policeman ordered him to quit shooting and
to hand over his camera. While pretending
to put the camera in its case, McKiernan slipped
out the live cartridge and put in another cartridge
of unexposed film. He palmed the live cartridge
and handed the camera to the policeman.
accompanying picture, published in the Minneapolis
Tribune on June 28, was the last frame on the
roll he kept.
Tribune commends the entry to the attention of
the jurors and the Pulitzer advisory board.