Two Harbors native John Iversen is being honored by American Indian Movement-West at a gathering to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation/siege in South Dakota. "Liberation Day" is Tuesday, Feb. 27, in San Francisco.
Iversen spent seven weeks inside Wounded Knee 1973. His role was to man the security office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Duties included fair distribution of bullets that were trekked in overnight by Oscar Bear Runner; typing the blue stencils for Wounded Knee News; running the printing press; and was in charge of the sign-in book with names, addresses and phone numbers for everyone there.
Iverson grew up in Two Harbors and received full scholarships to the University of Chicago, where he graduated in 1971, and to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Class of 1980. He's a retired member of Steelworkers, three SEIU locals and AFSCME. He ran the United Farm Workers boycotts in Madison in 1972-74 and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in Boston in 1976-77.
The University of Michigan has requested his memoirs due to his Black Panther Party Online Historial Annals Project.
Iverson was one of 58 people chosen out of more than 10,000 nominations to carry the Olympic torch in the 1996 relay, which finished in Atlanta with Muhammed Ali, for his community efforts to secure housing for poor people with AIDS.
Iverson has been HIV positive for 38 years and his prostate cancer is now in remission. He also co-founded the Berkeley and Oakland needle exchanges..
After he heard activist Winona LaDuke speak in Duluth, he was inspired to become active in efforts to stop Enbridge tar sands oil pipelines 3, 61 and 5. Following the footsteps of Two Harborites Walt Sve, Joe Zastera and his mother, Alice, Iverson co-founded the Facebook groups Our RevolutionLake Superior, Save OUR Great Lakes! Our Revolution, LPDOC Berkeley Chapter (for Peltier) and Occupy AIDS.
He is presently at work comparing the histories of the first two environmental victories of the last 50 years: Save Lake Superior Association, established in Two Harbors, and Save the Bay of San Francisco.