Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lenny Foster to UN and Obama: Release Peltier

March 29, 2010 censored-news.blogspot.com

March 26, 2010
San Francisco, California

Lenny Foster (Dine')
Navajo Nation Corrections Project
Board of Directors
International Indian Treaty Council

My name is Lenny Foster (Dine') and I am the Program Supervisor for
the Navajo Nation Corrections Project in Window Rock, Arizona and I
have been a volunteer traditional Spiritual Advisor for American
Indian adults and juveniles in the respective state and federal
prisons for the past thirty years. The Navajo Nation Corrections
Project is a counseling and advocacy program for Navajo and other
Native American inmates incarcerated in state and federal prisons. I
also work with families of incarcerated American Indian prisoners and
our major activities include spiritual services such as the Sweat
Lodge Ceremonies, Pipe Ceremonies, Talking Circles, Spiritual
Gatherings, ecclesiastical visits to Death Row and probation and
parole advocacy.

I have been a Board Member for the International Indian Treaty
Council since spring 1992. The International Indian Treaty Council is
an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central and South
Americas, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands working for the
Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and
recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties,
Traditional Culture and Sacred Lands.

My submission of this paper will serve to illustrate my support and
respect for Leonard Peltier #89637-132, Ojibwa-Lakota from Turtle
Mountain, North Dakota who is presently detained at the United States
Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He has been incarcerated for
the last thirty four years. His case illustrates the discrimination
and racist attitudes and human rights violations within the United
States criminal justice system. His recent denial of his petition to
be released on parole shows the biased and skewed decisions based on
lack of compliance for the due process of his release on parole by
the U.S. Parole Commission. He satisfactorily met the criteria for
release on parole after thirty years of incarceration and assured by
the Parole Act of 2005.

I have known Leonard Peltier since November of 1970 when we first met
in Denver, Colorado when he was 26 years old and I was 22 years old.
We were young and idealistic about making changes throughout Indian
Country. I participated in the American Indian Movement with him and
we both participated in the ancient ceremonial practices of the
Lakota Sun Dance; Sweat Lodge Ceremonies and Pipe Ceremonies. He was
a role model and mentor to the younger Indians and he was older
brother to many of the younger men and women in the movement.

Leonard along with others was implicated in a shootout with the
Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 26, 1975 in Oglala, South
Dakota. These turn of events began an illegal and unjust
incarceration against Leonard Peltier by the U.S. Government. He fled
to Canada and was arrested in Canada on February 6, 1976 and he was
extradited from Canada in December based on an affidavit signed by a
Myrtle Poor Bear, Native American woman who was known to have serious
mental health problems and a woman Leonard did not know.

Ms. Poor Bear claimed to have been Leonard Peltier's girlfriend was
not true or factual and yet she claimed to have been present at the
time of the shooting and was witnessed to the shootings. She later
confessed she had given false statements after being pressured,
threaten and terrorized by the FBI agents.

Ms. Poor Bear wanted to testify about her treatment by the FBI agents
and provide a full detailed report of threats by the FBI agents;
however, the Federal Judge barred her testimony on the grounds of
mental incompetence. She provided false testimony to convict Mr.
Peltier and that fact is now considered moot. This conviction on
disputed evidence led to a decision that convicted Leonard Peltier to
two consecutive life terms in federal prison. This conviction was
based on fabricated evidence and it ruined the confidence for a free
and unbiased trial.

Leonard has been in the United State Penitentiary in Marion,
Illinois; Leavenworth, Kansas; and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and he has
been an exemplary and model inmate with no incident reports. He has
been a regular participant in the weekly Sweat Lodge ceremonies and
Pipe Ceremonies which is a very positive spiritual experience for all
those young Native prisoners who partake in the ancient cleansing and
purification ceremony. I have been visiting him as his Spiritual
Advisor since March 1985 at the United States Penitentiary in
Leavenworth, Kansas and I have been witness to his changes in his
demeanor, spirituality and is a serene and a kind and very respectful
person. He has become a very respected and revered elder. He is now
sixty-six years old.

It is my opinion that Leonard Peltier is not a threat to the
community nor would his release jeopardize the community much less
"depreciate the seriousness of the law" or "promote disrespect for
the law". I have prayed and conducted the sweat lodge ceremony with
him and he is a very genuine and exudes humanity. He has expressed
remorse about the incident and prays for all who were there on that
day on June 26, 1975 and I believed he has made amends and has made
his prayers of forgiveness to the Creator. He has helped many and
encouraged Indian prisoners to rehabilitate themselves by advocating
a drug and alcohol free lifestyle while encouraging pride and
learning about their culture and traditions. He is a father,
grandfather, and a great grandfather. He is considered a wise elder
among the younger Indian prisoners and I can attest to that fact
because I have been visiting him for twenty five years and I have
observed his maturity flourished. He has been experiencing severe
health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, losing his
eyesight due to diabetes and a jaw that needs immediate medical
attention and I hope and pray this serious condition warrants
immediate release from prison to serve out his remaining days with
his great grandchildren and grandchildren on his home reservation in
North Dakota.

While in prison, Leonard has advocated for peace and respect for the
rights of others; he has numerous project he has initiated and
spearheaded a pilot program with Dr. Steward Selkin on the Rosebud
Sioux Indian Reservation on health care deliver including health care
delivery and hopefully implement similar programs on Indian
Reservations throughout the United States; also he has worked with
Professor Jeffery Timmons on a program to stimulate reservation based
economics and investments in Native American business enterprises
including component to teach business ownership and operation to the
Native youth. Also, he helped established a scholarship at New York
University for Native American students seeking a law degree. He has
raised two of his grandchildren from prison and he has sponsored
young children through various boards and programs. He has sponsored
and organized emergency food drives and Toys for Tots on the Pine
Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

He has become a very accomplished and self taught painter and has
donated many of his paintings to worthy causes, human rights and
social welfare organizations and has worked to develop prisoner art
programs whereby increasing prisoner's self-confidence. Many of his
paintings are in demand from many Art Galleries and from art
collectors throughout the world. Some of the recipients have been
American Civil Liberties Union, Trail of Hope, World Peace and Prayer
Day, the First Nation Student Association; and the Buffalo Trust Fund
along with many others including human rights activists and movie
actors. His humanitarian and charitable works reaches far into the
community and programs. Leonard has been widely recognized for his
humanitarian works and has won several human rights award including
the North Star Frederick Douglas Award; Federation of Labour in
Ontario, Canada; Humanist of the Year Award; Human Rights Commission
of Spain International Human Rights Prize and the 2004 Silver Arrow
Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2009 Leonard Peltier was nominated
for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth consecutive year. He
maintains his dignity and pride in spite of being incarcerated for
thirty-four years.

I recommend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples
seek compliance through the Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous
Peoples and demand a congressional investigation into the human
rights violations of Leonard Peltier. Invitations will be made to the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to visit Leonard
Peltier at the United State Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
I request his petition for Executive Clemency is approved by the
United States Justice Department and President Barack Obama. Thank you.
Posted by Brenda Norrell at
http://censored-news.blogspot.com/2010/03/lenny-foster-to-un-and-obama-release.html 4:20


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