Information and words from Leonard Peltier
June 26 marks 40 years since the “Incident at Oglala” that led to the imprisonment of Leonard Peltier.
The Native American activist was wrongfully convicted in the deaths of two FBI agents that day in 1975 during a state of siege by the agency on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. One Native American man also died in the gunfight. Not by coincidence, on that very day corrupt tribal leaders were secretly signing away traditional mineral rights, including to uranium under reservation lands in the Black Hills.
Recently, Leonard Peltier was again denied a transfer to a medium security facility. No reason was given.
This winter, the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee suffered a loss of data while also moving operations to Oregon (ILPDC, P.O. Box 24, Hillsboro, OR 97123). While much data was recovered, supporters are encouraged to visit whoisleonardpeltier.info and sign up for email updates as well as information about joining or hosting a commemorative event on June 26, and how to contribute financially and otherwise to ongoing efforts.
Now under the direction of his eldest son, Chauncy Peltier, the committee asks support for its work in four directions:
1.) An award of Executive Clemency;
2.) A congressional investigation into the FBI’s misconduct in Indian Country, against the American Indian Movement and in the case of Leonard Peltier;
3.) An Executive review by the Attorney General;
4.) The release of tens of thousands of related case documents through FOIA requests.
A new legal team is quietly working on Peltiers behalf, and to represent his needs and best interests.
In February, Leonard Peltier wrote,
Greetings My Friends, Relatives and Supporters,
I know that many of you have concerns about the status of my situation and have been wanting an update about what is going on…
We are coming up on 40 years of my being in prison. Sometimes, I honestly cannot believe it, sometimes I just don’t want to believe it. You have been here with me through many dark times. It is not possible for me to respond to each of you personally, I sure wish I could.
The reality is that I am not getting any younger, I feel my body every day. My hip hurts, I cannot see very well, my body aches and my diabetes makes me feel uneasy a lot of the time. I do not say these things so you’ll feel sorry for me, I just want to share because I would like for you to understand where I am at in my life. When I put the losses of my friends and family together in my mind with the way my body feels, I feel a hunger to go home like I have never felt in all these long years.
I want you to continue to support what you know is right. Be active, take an active role in our world and support the things you know need to be supported. Stand up for those that need to be stood up for, teach and take care of our children and our Mother Earth. Help one another to be strong and honorable, keep and carry on the traditions, languages and culture of our people. Be kind and caring to each other. I will continue to need your support, prayers, your love, and your understanding as I walk on this final path toward my friend.
Leonard Peltier on the 40th anniversary of the Incident at Oglala
Greetings to you, my relatives and friends.
This is the first time that my dear sister Roselyn will not be there for me, but I know she is there in spirit as she has gone on her journey. I have seen pictures of the gathering over the years and can still see her sitting there under the trees with our relatives… I will always miss her and be grateful to her for all she did for me and for our people.
This year I am most concerned with our children and the taking of their own lives. This is very sad to me, as it is to you, and I know there are many reasons for them to feel such despair and hopelessness. But I can only ask and encourage all of us to double our efforts to show them love and support, and let them know that we will always look after them and protect them. That includes asking big brothers and sisters to look after the younger ones. They are our future and have to be protected and to learn to be the protectors. This is not something we can live with, we need to all work to change this.
And this year it is even more urgent that we come together to protect our sovereignty. There are so many issues to face and fight. We continue to fight for our Black Hills and to stop the XL pipeline from poisoning our water and our land, and I stand with the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations, and all people of like mind in this fight.
The destruction of our Mother Earth by the heavy and toxic Tar Sands oil, fracking, gas and oil drilling and uranium mining is unacceptable to me and to us. We are supposed to be protecting these things even as others try to push us aside. I honor all of our relatives who are on the front lines of this fight.
And after all that I have seen in these 40 years behind bars, I was still shocked to see what they are trying to do to the Apache people at Oak Flats. This cannot be tolerated. It is not only a blatant money grab at the expense of a tribe’s Sacred site, but it is an effort to push us back in the direction of termination by ignoring our rights as sovereign nations. This we will not tolerate. Nothing is sacred to these people and they will continue to try to bulldoze us out of the way without even a single thought to our coming generations if we do not continue to stand up and oppose them. We must be ready for anything or we will lose all that we have gained in the last 40 years.
The continued use of racist mascots is something that we can never accept as Indigenous peoples and we need to all continue to push to end that racist practice.
As for me, time is something I have learned a lot about in these years in prison. And now I can see that time is slipping away from me and I know that if I do not get out under this President I will almost certainly die here in prison.
I have been able to survive with the hope you have given to me and your prayers and I am grateful for that support from all of you.
I continue to pray for the family of my brother Joe Stuntz and for all those who paid such a dear price in those bitter times 40 years ago. And I pray for the families of all our people who have suffered so much and continue to suffer now.
I thank all of you for coming today and I know how hot it can be there. And especially to all the runners and walkers I offer my gratitude.
I send my Love to the people of the Lakota Nations and to all Native Nations,
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse…
letters of support can be sent to:
USP Coleman I
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman, FL 33521