[Ppnews] Concert calls for the release of the jailed Native American activist

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Dec 15 16:13:30 EST 2012


*Jackson Browne and Common Unite to Bring Leonard Peltier Home*

*Concert calls for the release of the jailed Native American activist
*

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/jackson-browne-and-common-unite-to-bring-leonard-peltier-home-20121215
**

By Patrick Flanary <http://www.rollingstone.com/contributor/patrick-flanary>

December 15, 2012 11:35 AM ET

During a phone call from a Florida prison minutes before Friday's 
concert for Leonard Peltier, the activist jailed for the last 37 years 
pushed organizers at New York's Beacon Theatre to refuse money pledged 
in his honor.

"I hope this evening is not about raising funds, but raising 
consciousness," Peltier told event co-host Harry Belafonte, who with 
actor Peter Coyote introduced a lineup of Oglala Sioux Nation tribal 
leaders, human rights activists and musicians calling on President Obama 
to free the ailing American Indian prisoner before Christmas.

Throughout the event, titled Bring Leonard Peltier Home in 2012, grainy 
clips of news footage showcased the sprawling years of Peltier's trial, 
conviction and doomed appeal. Jailed since 1976 on a conviction of 
murdering two FBI officers during an Indian Reservation shootout, 
Peltier, who is nearing 70, will serve time through 2040 unless the 
president commutes his sentence.

Robbie Robertson Helps Jailed Friend Peltier With Music 
<http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/robertson-helps-jailed-friend-peltier-with-music-19980423>

Folk tunes and Native American spirituals stretched over four hours, 
beginning with several never-performed verses of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" 
that 93-year-old Pete Seeger said he recently found in a batch of lyrics 
he'd written 60 years ago: "A time for dirt, a time for soap/A time for 
hurt, a time for hope," he gently wavered while strumming his acoustic.

Fresh off a flight, Mohican guitarist Bill Miller tuned his guitar 
onstage before attacking it with lightning-fast picking through Bob 
Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." Fellow First Nations musicians, 
including Jennifer Kreisberg and Geronimo and Buddy Powless, stripped 
things down and used only their voices to fill the venue with 
traditional and contemporary songs.

Bruce Cockburn and Jackson Browne later shared the stage for "Indian 
Wars," a song they recorded together in 1991. Browne followed with a 
tribute to his Native American friend, the late Floyd Westerman, with 
covers of "Boarding School Blues" and "Custer Died For Your Sins," and 
ended with Steven Van Zandt's singalong, "I Am A Patriot."

Halfway through the evening, Common, the only performer backed by a band 
and DJ, injected 20 minutes of throbbing hip-hop into the event's mostly 
acoustic setlist. Racing across the stage with his hand raised, he 
thundered through hits including "The People" and "The Light," and 
stunned the audience with an unannounced appearance from Yasiin Bey, 
formerly Mos Def, who emerged from the dark for "Umi Says." "If you want 
peace, work for justice," he said before departing as suddenly as he had 
arrived.

One man who dedicated his life to such justice was Rubin Carter, the 
former boxer whose story Bob Dylan memorialized in his song "The 
Hurricane." After serving almost 20 years in prison, Carter was 
eventually released after it was determined he had not committed murders 
at a New Jersey bar in 1966. "Our freedom account is being looted," he 
said during the event, holding a worn piece of paper -- a writ of habeas 
corpus --in his right hand. "I consider it to be absolutely sacred, and 
I never leave home without it."

Global figures like Nelson Mandela and the late Mother Teresa have long 
lauded Peltier as a humanitarian and called for his release, based on 
judicial misconduct and lack of evidence proving that he killed the 
federal agents. From his prison cell during the 2004 presidential 
election, Peltier ran as the Peace and Freedom candidate in states that 
allowed the party on the ballot. In California, more than 27,000 voters 
favored him over George W. Bush and John Kerry.

Six presidents have held office since Peltier's conviction.

"If not you, President Obama, who?" activist filmmaker Michael Moore 
asked as he addressed the crowd. "All the wrong people are in prison in 
this country. As an American, this is not how I want to be remembered. 
And so I think that we have a much larger job: We have to get Leonard 
out of prison immediately."

Seeger returned to the stage and was joined by the night's performers 
for the show closer, "Bring Him Home," which Seeger adapted from his 
Vietnam War protest song, "Bring 'Em Home."



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