[Ppnews] Leonard Peltier on the 30th Anniversary of Jumping Bull Shootout

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 27 08:22:13 EDT 2005


Hau Kola,

I know this is a dictated speech that is going to be read to you,
however, I want to speak to you as if I were there, or should I say.here
with you.  Every year someone or some people at Oglala remember the
sacrifices of the people who were there trying to make a difference for
our people.  And every year I remember the ones who aren't with us, the
ones who can no longer be with us, and the sacrifices that they made.
Sometimes I'm at a loss for words for the heartfelt appreciation I have
- that you would remember all of those that gave their lives - as Joe
Stuntz did; and, all of those who continue to strive in so many
different ways to serve the people.

I deeply regret that I can't be there with you.  But yet in a way, I
have to count my blessings.  I have lived to see changes take place for
our people.  Though they are not as good as I would wish, there have
been changes brought about by Joe Stuntz and others who have sacrificed
in some way for our people.  As I said, I have to be grateful because,
although in a limited way, I have had the chance to get to know my
children, some of my grandchildren, and they in turn have gotten to know
me; something that my brother Joe and so many others who lost their
lives fighting for the people, did not have an opportunity to do.

When I first came here, I was considered a young warrior and now within
my circle, I am looked upon as an Elder- Something that hopefully all of
you will come to be a part of in your lifetime.  I had a friend once, an
Elder who has since gone on, who once said to me that every person that
he had consulted with on their death bed had spoken of the Creator and
their family. That became the highest priority in their life and what
was left of it.  And he spoke to me of many because he had been an
emergency room technician at one time.  In thinking and remembering
this, it always reminds me of the Sundance and the Sweat lodge and how
the extremes of pain and sacrifice always seem to bring those same
concerns to mind.  Each of us - from the day we are born, to the time
that we pass on, should remember to talk to the Creator and pray for our
relatives.

Forgive me if I sound a little sentimental or dramatic, but I've
experienced thirty years of dying, thirty years of hearing that some of
my relatives have gone on, thirty years of praying for our people, and I
am so grateful that the Creator has allowed me to talk to you in some
way and let you know that you are my family.  You are my relatives.  You
are my young warriors and my Elders.  And, if I am remembered for
anything at all, I want it to be that I never gave up - for you.  I want
you to know that I have faith in you, that one day your efforts will
bring about a stronger nation; a nation where alcoholism, diabetes,
suicide, and poverty do not control the lives of our people.

  I know lately there has been a lot of concern and rumors about various
individuals who have collaborated in some way with the government
against their own people, people who are giving away some of our
sovereignty; giving away our right to determine our own destiny and to
handle our own affairs.   With this in mind, I want to encourage you to
remember always who we are and I want to ask you to remind yourselves
that this is our land, given to us by the Creator, and our freedom was
given to us by the Creator.  The forest, the trees, the animals, the
prairie - were all given to us by the Creator.  No man of any nation or
color or origin has the right to take that away.  We have the right,
given to us by the Creator, to resist; to protect our own; to stand firm
on the principles and the teachings the Creator has given our people for
thousands of years.

We are a beautiful people; we have a beautiful culture, and we should
seek to join with all our brothers and sisters and relatives of other
Indigenous nations who are faced with the same dangers of loss.  There
is an old Cheyenne saying I once heard that a Nation is never defeated
until the hearts of it's women are on the ground.  The hearts of our
women may be low, but they are not on the ground and I damn sure ain't
gonna let it happen on my shift.  I love you to the nth degree.   I
always will.  You will always be in my prayers.  Do what you can, where
you can, from where you stand and - to quote Sitting Bull - let's see
what kind of nation we can make for our children.  I don't say I love
you easily but I want you to know that I love you - my heart is with you
and never, never, never .give up !

Before I finish, I want to say thank you, though I was told by an Elder
that it was better to show your thanks with your deeds and your gifts,
rather than just speaking it with your mouth.  I apologize that I have
nothing to give but I want you to know that you have my prayers, my
thoughts, and what is left of my life.  I will always be with you.

Your relative!

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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