Beginning in the mid-1970s, Thorne was one of seventeen attorneys who represented members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) indicted following AIM’s 71-day occupation of the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973. Thorne worked directly with the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee (WKLD/OC) and spent time in South Dakota representing his clients. 

In 1975, AIM leader Dennis Banks was convicted of committing assault and rioting in Custer, South Dakota. Banks, fearing for his safety, fled to California. Beginning in 1976, Thorne represented Banks in his quest for political asylum, and successfully petitioned Governor Jerry Brown to block his extradition to South Dakota. Banks remained in California until 1980, when newly elected Governor George Deukmejian rescinded his asylum.

We Shall Remain, Episode 5 Wounded Knee Part 1

This clip, from the PBS documentary "We Shall Remain," describes the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, by Native American activists.