Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Leonard Peltier to the climate conference attendees (Bolivia)

Monday, April 19, 2010 lpdoc.blogspot.com

My warmest regards to our host, Bolivian President Evo Morales.

To Presidents Rafael Correa, Daniel Ortega, Hugo
Chavez, and other esteemed Heads of State;
national representatives; and all concerned
citizens in attendance at the People’s Conference
on Climate Change: I send warm greetings and thank
you for your participation.

Today, environmentalists are often portrayed as
marginal intellects and labeled “lunatic fringe,”
rather than progressive thinkers with the ability
to foresee the true cost of destructive corporate
practices. I applaud your intent to ignore your
detractors and admire your efforts to refine the
proposals from the Copenhagen meetings ­in
particular, towards the creation of a world
tribunal for climate issues and a global
referendum on environmental choices. I know the
calculus of this work is difficult to solve.
Listening to the voices of so many to create a
common solution is a unique and difficult
challenge, but also a special opportunity.
I offer prayers for your success.

My name is Leonard Peltier. I am a citizen of the
Dakota/Lakota and Anishinabe Nations of North
America. Like many of you, I am a tribal person.
As Aboriginal peoples, we have always struggled
to live in harmony with the Earth. We have
maintained our vigilance and bear witness to a
blatant disregard for our planet and sustainable
life ways. We’ve seen that the pursuit of
maximized profits through globalization,
privatization, and corporate personhood has
become a plague that destroys life. We know that
it is not only the land that suffers as a result
of these practices. The people most closely
associated with the Earth suffer first and most.

The enormous pressures of corporate profits have
intruded on our tribal lands, but also on our
ancient cultures ­even to the extent that many
Indigenous cultures have virtually disappeared.
Just as our relatives in the animal kingdom are
threatened, many more cultures are on the brink
of extinction.

In America, we are at ground zero of this war for
survival and most often have been left with no
mechanism to fight this globalization monster. On
those occasions when we are forced into a
defensive posture, we are disappeared, tortured,
killed, and imprisoned. I myself have served over
34 years in prison for resisting an invasion
intent on violating our treaties and stealing our
land for the precious resource of uranium. The
same desire for uranium has decimated and
poisoned the Diné Nation of Arizona and New
Mexico. The quest for land for dumping and hiding
the toxic waste from various nuclear processes
has caused a war to be waged on the Shoshone
people of Nevada, as well. These are just a few
examples of what “progress” has meant for our
peoples. As many can attest, the same struggle is
occurring throughout Central and South America.
While my defense of my tribal lands made me a
political prisoner, I know I’m not at all unique.
This struggle has created countless other
prisoners of conscience­ not to mention prisoners
of poor health and loss of life way, as well as
victims of guilt and rage.

To live as we were meant to live is our first
right. To live free of the fear of forced
removal, destroyed homelands, poisoned water, and
loss of habitat, food sources, and our overall
life way is our righteous demand. We, therefore,
continue our struggle to survive in the face of
those who deny climate change and refuse to curb
corporate powers.

It is time for all our voices to be heard.

It is time we all listen, too­ or else our
collective Mother will dramatically and forcefully
unstop our ears.

The Indigenous Peoples have been the keepers of
knowledge and wisdom­ long ago bringing forth
foods, medicines, and other products from which
the world population still benefits. The loss of
our lands and cultures, therefore, is a loss for
the entire human family. We are all citizens of
Earth and this planet is our only home. What
affects one, affects us all. We are all
interconnected and our fates are intertwined.

We can indefinitely survive here, but only if we
work together to adopt sustainable models for
living responsibly. We cannot continue to destroy
Creator’s work, or allow others to do so, in the
belief that there will be no consequences.

I pray for a new age­ a new understanding,
consciousness, and way of being­ a new path for all
the peoples of the world.

Aho! Mitakuye Oyasin!

(Thank you to all my relations. We are all related.)

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier 89637-132
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837

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