[Pnews] Statement by Leonard Peltier, International Tribunal of Conscience

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 28 10:33:02 EDT 2015

*Statement by Leonard Peltier, International Tribunal of Conscience, 26 
Sep 2015*

Greetings my friends and relatives,

As I look past my prison cell door, I contemplate the many doors and 
walls that are between myself and freedom. Despite having been twice 
recommended for transfer to a medium security facility since coming to 
USP Coleman I, I am currently warehoused in a maximum security facility 
in Florida. These maximum security prisons are each surrounded by a high 
wall. For us inside there is no horizon.

As I think about these physical obstacles to my own freedom, I wonder 
how many walls are between YOU and freedom. How many of these walls are 
invisible—like the imaginary borders created by colonizers, power 
brokers, and governments—that are nothing more than obstacles to the 
free migration of Indigenous Peoples?

I’m greatly honored to be an absentee participant in this International 
Tribunal of Conscience. I notice that the 43 disappeared students from 
the Rural Teacher´s College in Guerrero have long since faded from the 
news cycle. It is imperative that these young people, who were mostly 
from Mexico´s poorest Indigenous communities, are never forgotten. 
Perhaps the students involuntarily serve as a reminder that our 
collective struggles are far from over. Death squads are still 
prevalent, and it is always the poor and most vulnerable people who 
endure the most suffering and injustice. These death squads are the same 
around the world as they all serve the same master—greed—that spurs 
humans to torture, terrorize, and kill others, forgetting that we are 
truly all related.

One aspect of my case that is not widely known is that in the 1970’s 
there were these same death squads on the Indian reservations. Corrupt 
tribal police, were armed and propped up by federal forces. Prior to the 
firefight on the Pine Ridge Reservation on June 26, 1975,—an incident 
for which I have now served nearly 40 years in prison—some 60 people who 
were connected with the resurgence of our traditional spiritual 
practices and renewed struggle for sovereignty were murdered or 
disappeared. During the preceding 5-month period, more incidents of 
violence were reported on the reservation than in the rest of South 
Dakota combined. In the subsequent search for my codefendants and 
myself, the people of Pine Ridge were terrorized by these paramilitary 
groups led primarily by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Innocent 
people were intimidated, threatened, and brutalized. To date, none of 
these acts of terrorism have been fully investigated.

On behalf of myself and the International Leonard Peltier Defense 
Committee, I wish to thank the organizers of the International Tribunal 
of Conscience, the National Lawyers Guild, and our hosts at New York 
University. I encourage all defenders of human rights to continue to 
work together on our common issues in the struggle for our existence.

In the Spirit Of Crazy Horse…


Leonard Peltier

More on the International Tribunal of Conscience: 

contact at whoisleonardpeltier.info

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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