Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthday Message from Leonard Peltier

Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010

September 6, 2010

Sisters, brothers, friends and supporters,

I wish I could sit across the table from each of
you right now. We'd share a meal and reflect on
changes in this world over these 35 or so
years. Yes, I pay attention to things on the
outside (as much as possible). I know the world
is in turmoil and I ache for the Native people
who languish in utter poverty on reservations and
in inner cities across America.

As a young man, all I wanted to do was make a
positive difference in the People's lives. I'll
turn 66 years old next week and I still want
that. It's difficult to have an impact in my
current circumstances, though. That's a constant
source of frustration for me. On the outside,
given the chance to roll up my sleeves once
again, I suspect I'd still be somewhat
frustrated. All that must be done is more than
any one person can accomplish. I'd still like
the opportunity to do my part.

Thinking back to those days on Pine Ridge, what I
remember is the funerals. There were so many
funerals... So many families lost loved ones.

There was a powerful force at work on the
reservation back then, one with a single
purpose—to stamp out the last resistance of
the Lakota people.

We (the Oglala traditionals and members of the
American Indian Movement) stood up because we
were trying to defend our People. It was the
right thing to do. We had—have—the right to

The land was being stolen, too… used for mining
mostly. No thought was given to the disposal of
toxic waste. The rivers were full of poisons.
Not much has changed, I hear.

In those days, though, the reservation was torn
apart by a tribal dispute and the federal
government armed one group against another. The
result was a long line of tragedies for the
People of Pine Ridge… and for the People who
were there that day in June 1975.

I honestly understand the pain and anguish
suffered by all concerned and I have been part
of that suffering.

I have watched people lie on the witness stand
countless times and felt the doors closing on me.

I have heard judges admonish prosecutors for
allowing false evidence in and, in some cases,
for participating in the falsification itself.

The government hid evidence, too.

Or manufactured it. Literally.

The courts say none of this is even in dispute
anymore. So I wonder, if the American standard
of justice is still "beyond a reasonable doubt,"
why am I still here?

Some people have had their convictions overturned
because of one constitutional violation. The
number of constitutional violations in my case is
staggering. Yet, I continue to wait here for the
same justice to be applied for me.

I hope that someday someone can put it all on the
table and show the enormity of the railroading I
have been victimized by.

Last year, as you know, my parole was
denied. That was a disappointment, but I am not
defeated. My fight for freedom—for my People and
myself—is not over. I am a pipe carrier and a
Sundancer. Abandoning The Struggle is not—never
will be—a consideration.

I am an Indian man and proud of it. I love my
People and culture and spiritual beliefs. My
enemies like to suggest otherwise and seek to rob
me of all dignity. They won't succeed.

When I look back over all the years, I remember
all the good people who have stood up for me, for
a day or a decade. Of course, many have stayed
with me all along the way. I think of the
hundreds of thousands of people around the world
who have signed petitions for me, too... people
on the poorest of reservations to the highest of
political offices.

As we have learned over these many years, my
freedom won't come quickly or easily. To
succeed, the coming battle will have to be hard
fought. Please continue to help my Committee and
legal team as you have always done. Your support
is more important now than ever before. When
freedom comes, it will be due in no small part to
the actions you take on my behalf.

Again, thank you for remembering me. You can't
know the comfort you bring to an innocent man
locked away from the world for so very long.


Leonard Peltier
US Penitentiary
PO Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837


Launched into cyberspace by the
Leonard Peltier Defence Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701/235-2206
Fax: 701/235-5045


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