[Ppnews] Birthday Message from Leonard Peltier

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Sep 12 15:28:14 EDT 2010

X-Replyto: contact at whoisleonardpeltier.info
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010 10:00:04 -0700 (PDT)

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 survive.

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
E-mail: contact at whoisleonardpeltier.info

Visit www.whoisleonardpeltier.info.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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