Leonard Peltier : In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier. Photo from High Times.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this prison. And I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life in some prison of the mind, heart or attitude.

By Leonard Peltier

See ‘Free Leonard Peltier’ by Dan Skye, Leonard Peltier’s ‘Open letter to Barack Obama,’ and a Video from Chief Leonard Crow Dog, Below.

[Leonard Peltier, one of America’s longest-serving political prisoners, has spent 34 years of his life behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. He was an active member of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s and was charged with the murder of two FBI agents on the Lakota Sioux Pine Ridge reservation in June 1975.

On July 28, 2009, Peltier is scheduled to come before a parole hearing. Supporters are mobilizing a campaign of letter-writing and petitioning in an effort to free him. He wrote the following to his supporters on June 26.]

I am but a common man, I am not a speaker but I have spoken. I am not all that tall, but I have stood up. I am not a philosopher or poet or a singer or any of those things that particularly inspire people, but the one thing that I am is the evidence that this country lied when they said there was justice for all…

I am just a common man and I am evidence that the powers that put me here would like to sweep under the carpet. The same way they did all of our past leaders, warriors and people they massacred. Just as at Wounded Knee, the Fifth Cavalry sought its revenge for Custer’s loss and massacred some 300 Indian men women and children, then gave out 23 Medals of Honor and swept the evidence of their wrongdoing aside…

I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in this prison. And I don’t want you to spend the rest of your life in some prison of the mind, heart or attitude. I want you to enjoy your life.

If nothing else give somebody a hug for me and say, “This is from Leonard.”

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Source / Rebel Reports

Free Leonard Peltier!
Leonard Peltier parole hearing set July 28, 2009

by Dan Skye / July 1, 2009

With the rise of the American Indian Movement, intertribal strife broke out on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. AIM activists squared off against a corrupt tribal government and police force.

AIM was being closely monitored by the FBI. In June 1975, two FBI agents in an unmarked car sped onto Indian land near Oglala, SD. The Indians living there had no way of knowing whether they were federal agents or anti-AIM tribal police. In a desperate shootout, the agents and one Indian were killed. Though law enforcement swarmed the reservation, Leonard Peltier, a Chippewa Sioux, and more than two dozen others managed to escape.

Eventually, two Indian participants were apprehended. Both pleaded self-defense and, following a tumultuous trial, they were acquitted. But Peltier wasn’t captured until February 1976.

In 1977, he stood trial on double murder charges. Peltier’s conviction is one of the worst examples of government manipulation of the justice process in American history. The FBI submitted false affidavits as evidence and intimidated and coerced witnesses. The judge disallowed testimony describing the state of open warfare that existed on Pine Ridge, nor was Peltier allowed to claim self-defense. Later, an appeals judge called the conduct of the FBI “a clear violation of the investigative process.”

For over 30 years, Leonard Peltier has been denied parole or pardon. But while imprisoned, he has become a leading spokesperson for the causes of indigenous people. He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize six times. Countless organizations including Amnesty International, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Congress of American Indians, the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, as well as leaders and private citizens, have called for his immediate release.

Behind bars, Peltier has also become an outstanding painter. Prints of his work are for sale. All proceeds go to his defense fund.

Read Leonard Peltier’s full June 26 statement. Peltier is up for parole on July 28. His supporters and friends have launched a letter-writing campaign to support his release from prison after 34 years.

Source / High Times

An open letter to Barack Obama

I have watched with keen interest and renewed hope as your campaign has mobilized millions of Americans behind your message of changing a political system that serves a small economic elite at the expense of the peoples of the United States and the world. Your election as president of the United States, where slaves and Indians were long considered less than human under the law, will undoubtedly constitute a historic moment in race relations in the United States.

Yet symbolism alone will not bring about change. Our young people, black and Native alike, suffer from police brutality and racial profiling, underfunded schools, and discrimination in employment and housing. I sincerely hope your campaign will inspire some hope among our youth to struggle for a better future.
[….]
It is long past time for a congressional investigation to examine the degree of federal complicity in the violent counterinsurgency that followed the occupation of Wounded Knee. The tragic shootout that led to the deaths of two FBI agents and one Native man also led not only to my false conviction, but also the termination of the Church Committee, which was investigating abuses by federal intelligence and law enforcement agents, before it could hold hearings on FBI infiltration of AIM. Despite decades of attempts by my attorneys to obtain government documents related to my case, the FBI continues to withhold thousands of documents that might tend to exonerate me or reveal compromising evidence of judicial collusion with the prosecution.

— Leonard Peltier

Long, long time I come here — and during those trials. Now I’m 68 years old, can hardly walk, can hardly sing. Oh before I go, I want Leonard to be free. Chief Leonard Crow Dog.

To learn more about Leonard Peltier, go here and here.

Thanks to Harry Edwards / The Rag Blog

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6 Responses to Leonard Peltier : In the Spirit of Crazy Horse

  1. Thank you for the article and all the links.

    I keep a supply of cards that have the picture of Chief Seattle on the front; Chief Seattle’s speech on the back, and also a lithograph of Chief Seattle’s speech.

    I was glad I could reach for one of those cards, and get some words written to Leonard; it’s in the mail box now.

    Let us mark July 28 as a day for his release – I now have the web-site on rss feed, so I can get the updates.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m getting on.. but I think in the sixties the ideal was “La Raza Uno”
    or “the one race” of the “Americas”, from Chile to Baffin Island. What happened to that ideal?
    I realize in the sense of “Americas”
    that it is idealogy more than genetic strain… to be “Indian”
    yet is a mark of pride to be considered so.
    smp

  3. Steve Russell says:

    Major hogwash getting loose here.

    That would be “intratribal” rather than “intertribal” in describing the war between the AIMsters and Dickie Wilson’s Guardians of the Oglala Nation (GOONs, which is not an outsider insult–it’s what they called themselves).

    Robidoux and Butler were acquitted when the only evidence against them was that they were seen firing at the fibbies from a distance. A correct verdict, in my opinion, but a guilty verdict would also have been “correct” as there were contested issues properly within the province of the jury.

    The firefight began when the fibbies stopped a truck driven by AIMsters that was carrying explosives. The FBI story that they were looking for Jimmy Eagle, who was wanted for shoplifting some expensive boots, may sound flakey, but it’s indisputable that they were armed only with their service revolvers. They had rifles, but they were in the trunk.

    Did they approach as you approach a shoplifter or as you approach self-proclaimed violent revolutionaries transporting explosives?

    Who do you think shot first?

    Without regard to that, Peltier was convicted of executing the agents at point blank range. Bones from the palm of one agent wound up lodged in his brain.

    Go along with war horseshit–that killing would violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice if it literally happened on a battlefield.

    There is no way Peltier deserves parole when he admits to being an accessory after the fact but claims he was not the shooter but he knows who was but he ain’t telling. Any parole board member who would free a convicted cop killer in that posture should be removed from the parole board.

    That said, I favor executive clemency. The only reason Peltier didn’t get clemency from Clinton was insufficient contributions to the Clinton Library and massive unprecendented lobbying by the FBI.

    While the FBI did horrible misconduct in the Peltier case, the fact remains that Peltier is guilty by his own admission(s) (which have changed over the years) and I object to making a hero out this thug who is not a role model for kids in dire need of role models.

    The Robert Redford funded film, Incident at Oglala, makes the strongest case for a Peltier new trial based on government misconduct. There WAS plenty of government misconduct, enough to get a new trial before habeas got “reformed.”

    I enjoy showing my classes Incident at Oglala back to back with the Hollywood version of the aftermath, Thunderheart. Great critical thinking exercise.

    The unadulterated AIM version is horseshit. So is the unadulterated FBI version.

    It would be good to consistently refuse to traffick in horseshit.

    Steve

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tell me Steve is this “horseshit”?

    see http://www.bbc.co.uk/…/endofnativerev_print.shtml
    “November 1876
    The US Army drives the Cheyenne into the hills to survive the winter without any food.
    January 1877

    Chief Sitting Bull fled to Canada.
    October 1877
    Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé tribe tried to flee to Canada, but was intercepted.
    1879
    The first boarding school for Native American children.
    1879
    The Sioux were forced to become cattle-herders.
    1881 (-1887)
    Geronimo a vegetable farmer.
    1883
    banning of Native American religious customs
    1887
    The Dawes Act divided the Native American reservations
    1889
    The Oklahoma Land Run.
    1890
    Army, fearing a rebellion, tried to arrest Sitting Bull, he was killed during the attempt.

    A lot of horseshit indeed.
    smp

  5. Steve Russell says:

    Anonymous, you are a coward by your name.

    Leaving that aside, I could add to what you have posted until it threatened bandwith limitations but it would be irrelevant to homicide prosecutions in the Jumping Bull fight.

    There’s a big distinction between revenge and self-defense.

    No need to say anything more unless I’m talking to a person.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Steve,
    You might define what you mean by, “coward ” .
    Also think about “bully”;
    someone who possesses more social power and dominance than a target.
    mps

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