Forwarded on behalf of the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
June 26, 2010
I want to first say thank you--thank you for taking the time and
making the commitment to come to this place--but thank you mostly
for remembering. Sometimes I sit in this cage and I find myself
wondering if anyone really remembers. Many days, remembering is
all my mind allows me to do. So, again, thank you. Thank you for
bearing witness and being a part of a living memory.
But maybe the most important thing I'd like to say is don't
forget. Not ever.
You must be the historians who keep this lesson alive because
this story isn't about one day, one event, one person, or even one
lifetime. This is a story that goes all the way back to the day a
misguided fool, whose name I won't even mention, led his troops in
an attack on innocent people at the Greasy Grass, and in the process
got himself and over two hundred of his troopers killed. And while
the victors on that day had no choice but to defend themselves,
we have been the victims of a genocidal revenge that continues
until this very moment. So don't forget. Not ever.
It is vengeance that preoccupies the mind of the colonizer. It
is this fervor to show us who is boss that led to the massacre
at Wounded Knee, the theft of the Black Hills, the establishment
of boarding schools, and the criminalization of our languages
and traditional ways. It is vengeance that armed the GOON squads,
killed our leaders, and surrounded our people at Wounded Knee again
in 1973. Revenge is why they today prosecute Indian people for the
crimes they know the government committed during their murderous
campaigns of the last generation. Vengeance is what killed Joe
Stuntz, Anna Mae Aquash, Buddy Lamont and so many others. Getting
even is what keeps me in prison. So don't forget. Not ever.
All of these events are bound together, interrelated and
interdependent. And quite clearly the lesson they intend for us
to learn is don't defend yourselves. Don't stand up for what is
right. Don't think for yourselves. Don't choose to be who you
are. Don't remember your ancestors. Don't live in defense of the
Earth. Don't you do it! Don't even think about it. If you do,
this government--this mindset of control--will unleash an attack
so vast it will even seek to destroy our genetic memories. So don't
forget. Not ever.
In days past, some among our people were induced to become
"scouts". For whatever reasons, these individuals made possible
the treacherous campaigns that resulted in the deaths of countless
innocent people. These days--sadly--there are still these types
amongst us. The government preys on the weaknesses of these people,
inducing them to turn against the rest of us. The government
uses this treachery to cover up state sanctioned murder and
terrorism. They do this and then tell us that what we remember
didn't really happen at all, as though memory or truth is something
to be shaped and molded to fit a preconceived outcome. So don't
forget. Not ever.
We gather today after decades and generations of blood and trauma. We
gather in defiance.
And we remember.
We remember not just one day or one event, because remembering what
occurred on June 25 or June 26--or any particular date--is important,
but not as important as an understanding of the ongoing campaign
of colonization. This is a continuing human drama of slaughter
and uncontrollable bloodlust and we're still here, engaged in
our running defense; praying for balance, peace and justice; and
trying to make some sense of it all. Perhaps, in the face of such
a menace, the most important thing we can do is remember. So teach
your children. Pass this knowledge. Don't forget. Not ever.
Remembering is resisting and, if we remember, then we'll be free
one day. Free of their mindset. Free of their theft. Free of their
guns and their bombs. Free of their cages. Free to be who we are.
And free of their fear. That's the truest freedom of all and true
freedom is what this is really all about, not the illusion of
freedom they offer us.
So don't forget. Not ever.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,