[Ppnews] Leonard Peltier - America's Unfinished Business

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 19 11:08:12 EDT 2008

September 18, 2008 - The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee 
(LP DOC) is campaigning to raise awareness and educate the public 
about Leonard Peltier for the purpose of mobilizing people to take 
actions to set him free.

September 12th marked the 64th birthday of Leonard Peltier, an 
American Indian male convicted to two life sentences based on 
fabricated testimony and circumstantial evidence.  Many of us see 
this as the typical injustice perpetuated against American Indians in 
the legal system that exists through today.  Mr. Peltier, a citizen 
of the Anishinabe and Lakota Nations, is a father, a grandfather, an 
artist, a writer, and an Indigenous rights activist. He has spent 
more than thirty-three years in prison for a crime he did not commit. 
Amnesty International considers him a "political prisoner" who should 
be "immediately and unconditionally released."

Leonard Peltier was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He came from a 
large family of 13 brothers and sisters. He grew up in poverty, and 
survived many traumatic experiences resulting from U.S. government 
policies aimed to assimilate Native Peoples. At the age of eight he 
was taken from his family and sent to a residential boarding school 
for Native people run by the US Government.

In the late 1960's and early 1970's Leonard Peltier began traveling 
to different Native communities. He spent a lot of time in Washington 
and Wisconsin and was working as a welder, carpenter, and community 
counselor for Native people. In the course of his work he became 
involved with the American Indian Movement (AIM) and eventually 
joined the Denver Colorado chapter. In Denver, he worked as a 
community counselor confronting unemployment, alcohol problems and 
poor housing. He became strongly involved in the spiritual and 
traditional programs of AIM.

Leonard Peltier's participation in the American Indian Movement led 
to his involvement in the 1972 Trail of broken Treaties which took 
him to Washington D.C., in the occupation of the Bureau of Indian 
Affairs building.  Eventually his AIM involvement would bring him to 
assist the Oglala Lakota People of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation 
in South Dakota in the mid 1970's. On Pine Ridge he participated in 
the planning of community activities, religious ceremonies, programs 
for self-sufficiency, and improved living conditions. He also helped 
to organize security for the traditional people who were being 
targeted for violence by the pro-assimilation tribal chairman and his 
vigilantes. It was here that the tragic shoot-out of June 26, 1975 
occurred, leading to his wrongful conviction.
The court record in this case clearly shows that government 
prosecutors have long held that they do not know who killed Mr. Coler 
and Mr. Williams nor what role Leonard Peltier "may have" played in 
the tragic shoot-out. Despite many such admissions, Mr. Leonard 
Peltier remains imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary in 
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  Other persons guilty of worse crimes have 
been released time and time again on parole or pardoned, yet Mr. 
Peltier remains imprisoned.

To the international community, the case of Leonard Peltier is a 
stain on America's Human Rights record. Nelson Mandela, Rigoberta 
Menchu, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, the Dalai Lama, 
the European Parliament, the Kennedy Memorial Center for Human 
Rights, and Rev. Jesse Jackson are only a few who have called for his 
freedom. To many Indigenous Peoples, Leonard Peltier is a symbol of 
the long history of abuse and repression they have endured. The 
National Congress of American Indians and the Assembly of First 
Nations, representing the majority of First Nations in the U.S. and 
Canada, have repeatedly called for Leonard Peltier's freedom.

Despite the harsh conditions of imprisonment, Leonard Peltier has 
continued to lead an active life.

 From behind bars, he has helped to establish scholarships for Native 
students and special programs for Indigenous youth. He has served on 
the advisory board of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, and has 
sponsored children in Central America. He has donated to battered 
women's shelters, organized the annual Christmas drive for the people 
of Pine Ridge Reservation, and promoted prisoner art programs.

Leonard Peltier is widely recognized for his good deeds and in turn 
has won several awards including the North Star Frederick Douglas 
Award; Federation of Labour (Ontario, Canada) Humanist of the Year 
Award; Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights 
Prize; and 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2004, 
2006 and again in 2007, Mr. Peltier also was nominated for the Nobel 
Peace Prize five times.

He has also established himself as a talented artist, using oils to 
paint portraits of his people, portraying their cultures and 
histories. He has written poetry and prose from prison, and completed 
a moving biography titled Prison Writings: My Life Is My Sun Dance 
(St. Martin's Press, NY, 1999).

Leonard Peltier credits his ability to endure his circumstances to 
his spiritual practices and the love and support from his family and 

Leonard Peltier is America's unfinished business and a symbol of the 
injustice perpetrated against all American Indians.  It is time to 
stop the 34 years of injustice and is 34 years too long to have 
imprisoned an innocent man.  Freedom for Leonard Peltier is way overdue!

Leonard Peltier's first full parole hearing was held in 1993, at 
which time his case was continued for a 15-year reconsideration. 
He'll be eligible for another full parole hearing in December 2008. 
An application for parole will be filed at Mr. Peltier's discretion. 
The earliest that hearing is likely to occur is in January 2009 
(according to the Parole Commission's schedule for in-person parole 
reviews to be held at USP-Lewisburg, where Peltier is currently imprisoned).

Anyone and everyone can help Leonard Peltier get justice and freedom.

First sign the online petition that can be found at 
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/parole2008/, they can also 
download sample letters of support from 
http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/parole.htm.  Each tribal member 
can urge their Tribal Nation to pass a formal Resolution also found 
at http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info for submission to the US Parole Board.

To support Mr. Peltier by contributing directly to his commissary 
account, can send funds through the mail to the following address: 
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Leonard Peltier #89637-132, Post Office Box 474701, Des Moines, Iowa 

The deposit must be in the form of a money order made out 
to:  Leonard Peltier 89637-132. The Bureau of Prisons will return 
funds that do not have valid inmate information to the sender 
provided the envelope has an adequate return address. Personal checks 
and cash can not be accepted for deposit.  The sender's name and 
return address must appear on the upper left hand corner of the 
envelope to ensure that the funds can be returned to the sender in 
the event that they can not be posted to the inmate's account. The 
deposit envelope must not contain any items intended for delivery to 
the inmate. The Bureau of Prisons shall dispose of all items included 
with the funds.
In the event funds have been mailed but have not been received in the 
inmate's account and adequate time has passed for mail service to Des 
Moines, Iowa, the sender must initiate a tracer with the entity who 
sold them the money order to resolve any issues.
Western Union Quick Collect Program

People can also send funds to Leonard through Western Union's Quick 
Collect Program. All funds sent via Western Union's Quick Collect 
will be posted to Leonard's account within two to four hours, when 
those funds are sent between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST (seven days 
per week, including holidays). Funds received after 9:00 pm EST will 
be posted by 7:00 am EST the following morning. Funds sent through 
the Quick Collect Program may be sent via one of the following ways:

1)      At an agent location with cash: You must complete a Quick 
Collect Form.  To find the nearest agent, they may call 
1-800-325-6000 or go to www.westernunion.com.
2)      By phone using a credit/debit card: Simply call 
1-800-634-3422 and press option 2.
3)      Via the Internet using a credit/debit card: Go to 
www.westernunion.com and select "Quick Collect".

For each Western Union Quick Collect transaction, the following 
information must be provided:
Valid Inmate Eight Digit Register Number (89637-132)
Committed Inmate Name (Leonard Peltier)
Code City: FBOP
State code: DC

It is very uplifting to Mr. Peltier to receive letters and 
cards.  Write to him at:
Leonard Peltier - # 89637-132, USP Lewisburg, US Penitentiary, P.O. Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837-1000.

At the very least if everyone that reads this would write the US 
Parole Board at United States Parole Commission, 5550 Friendship 
Boulevard, Suite 420, Chevy Chase, MD  20815-7286 to offer your whole 
hearted support for the release of Leonard Peltier.   And please 
write, write, write, to Congressmen, the President, Human Rights 
Organizations, and Tribal Leaders in support of freedom for Leonard 
Peltier now!

The Leonard Peltier Offense Defense Committee can be found on the web 
at:  www.whoisleonardpeltier.info. Contact person for the LP DOC is 
Betty Ann Peltier-Solano at (701) 235-2206.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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