Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12/17/11 Statement from Leonard Peltier: From Behind the Iron Door

Hau Kola

Greetings my friends, relatives, relations, supporters

I wrote a statement the other day sitting here in my cell and I know
that no one really cares to read something that is 6 pages long. So
this is my effort to shorten it a little bit.

The first subject I want to touch on is being in prison for 36 years
is hell. There are some folks who are planning to walk across
America starting in California going to Washington D.C. to bring
attention to the injustice that faces Indian people in the judicial
system of America and of which I am some of the evidence of
that. But first of all what I really want to say is I really
appreciate and love the people that do things like this for those of
us who are imprisoned. And if walking across America sounds like a
lot try standing in an 8 by 6 cell for 36 years. But I want you to
know as terrible and painful as this is in a strange way I am honored
that the most powerful government has considered me a challenge that
they would violate all their own laws to keep me imprisoned. In my
standing I have stood for what's right. I have stood for the right of
a people invaded by emissaries of the corporations they ultimately
represent; the right of a people to defend themselves in whatever way
necessary to defend their women and children and elders and life
itself when attacked with deadly force by this government.

For some of you who may recently come in contact with my case, my
case is one where an Indian community that had been continually
terrorized by FBI and a goon squad funded by them on the reservation,
had opposed the sale of 1/8th of the tribe's mineral resources and
land. On June the 26th 1975, they attacked the village of Oglala on
the Pine Ridge Reservation. It started with two FBI agents in
unmarked cars and unmarked clothing, firing into an enclave of
dwellings. The two agents numbers soon swelled to 250. In the
ensuing battle the two initial agents were killed and one young
Indian man, Joe Stuntz, was murdered by the FBI, shot between the
eyes. Ultimately some 30 of us escaped. Two men, Bob Robideau and
Dino Butler that were captured before I was, were put on trial and
all the evidence of that day was allowed to be presented in their
defense. And they were acquitted by reason of self-defense; the jury
said they had the right to defend themselves with deadly force. I
had escaped to Canada and was later apprehended there, the government
perjured testimony, and they got someone to lie to bring me back from
there. I was put on trial and all the evidence used to convict me
was later proven false in court, as well as the lie to extradite
me. And the same evidence used by the defense in the first trial was
not allowed. They ultimately got a conviction saying I was guilty of
murder which was later amended to aiding and abetting.

Then later an individual whom some called Mr. X, on tape admitted he
was the shooter. Bob Robideau one of the original two men acquitted
by reason of self-defense later told retired FBI Agent Ed Wood he was
Mr. X and that he had shot the agents. Bob feared for his life. Bob
didn't make his statement for many years. Bob did all that he could
do to help me over the years and later started living in Spain. And
then he made a statement to a few people that he was going to come
back and speak more about being the shooter and being acquitted of
the offense. And within about a month's time he was found dead in
his apartment in Spain. He supposedly fell out of bed and hit his
head and died. Having said that, my main point is that where all the
evidence was allowed to be presented Indian people were found not
guilty rightfully defended themselves by reason of self-defense.

There has not been a violation of human rights by America that wasn't
first practiced on Native Americans. America's first biological
warfare was against Indian people with small pox and measles infected
blankets, the first concentration camps were against Indian people
where they took their land and rounded them up. And Lincoln known for
being against slavery, had 38 Indian men hung in unison in Mankato
Minnesota for rebelling in the starving concentration camp they were
confined to and there were camps all across this nation for American
Indian people.

The first atomic bomb was dropped on Indian land polluting it and
destroying the water tables. To this day the result of their digging
for uranium still pollutes parts of the Navajo reservation. They
practiced sterilization of our women up until the late 1950s and even
into the 60's. Up in Alaska they experimented with various forms of
hepatitis on the native people there. The list goes on and on. Our
people to this day suffer generational trauma as a result of the
concentration camps and invasions and starvation and boarding schools
that tried to destroy our culture. The death rate in the boarding
schools was 50%.

To this day the unemployment rate for American Indians is 35%. What
America calls "depression" has become a way of life for
us. Bureaucrats scream and jump up and down about the Israelis right
to claim their homeland, yet at the same time America still takes our
land against our will, our homeland. The black hills of South Dakota
was leased for 99 years the lease has been up for some 20 something
years, but they will not return it. They have offered to pay some 3
billion dollars for the Black Hills. Why don't they take that money
and relocate the non-Indians from there? There have been people
complaining of a mosque in the proximity of the former World Trade
Towers yet our sacred hills have Abraham Lincoln's face carved in the
side of our sacred area, and George Washington who practiced a
scorched earth campaign against our people in the East is there along
with others.

I'm sorry if I'm getting carried away, I want America to be a great
nation, but I want it to be fair to all people. We don't ask for
anything that wasn't agreed to by this government,. There's three
hundred and seventy something treaties that cover most of our
concerns. I apologize if in reading this in some way it hurts your
celebration of the holidays. Its very difficult to not be negative
when you are unjustly imprisoned for this long and every day you look
through an iron door when the true enemies and terrorists are free to
terrorize the poor and the oppressed of America. When the resources
of America and the labor of its people is used to enhance the lavish
lifestyle of some 2 to 3 % of the population that owns 96% of
America's wealth or I should say owns and controls 96% of America's
wealth then people like you and the people occupying Wall Street and
walking across America are needed more than you would ever know.

I said I wouldn't make this too long and it seems I have gone back on
my work. However in closing I would like to thank the National
Congress of American Indians for passing a resolution supporting me
in my bid for freedom. And I would especially like to thank Lenny
Foster who has served as a spiritual leader in prisons throughout
America who presented the resolution to the National Congress of
American Indians. I would also like to thank all the others, too
numerous to mention, who has supported me for so many years. I guess
in some off handed way I have learned to live and exist by my contact
with them over the years. This struggle has been long and difficult
and I know at times I have offended people and hurt their feelings
and for that I am deeply regretful. But rest assured I appreciate
all of you in the deepest sense of the word. And I pray that this
Holiday season brings joy to you and your families. And there is no
greater gift that we can give our children and our children's
children than freedom and a healthy earth.

I will close for now but unless they shut me up like they did Bob,
you will hear from me again rest assured.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and all the others that have died for
their people,

Leonard Peltier

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