[Pnews] Leonard Peltier’s 2019 Thanksgiving Message: “Walking on Stolen Land”

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 25 10:53:36 EST 2019


  Leonard Peltier’s 2019 Thanksgiving Message: “Walking on Stolen Land”

by Levi Rickert
/Published November 23, 2019/

*COLEMAN, FLORIDA* – Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa 
Indians, who is incarcerated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, 
Florida, for his 1977 conviction in connection with a shootout with U.S. 
government forces, where two FBI agents and one young American Indian 
lost their lives.

Peltier, who is considered a political prisoner of war by many, released 
this statement on Thanksgiving through the Leonard Peltier Defense 

/The year of 2019 is coming to a close and with it, comes the day most 
Americans set aside as a day for Thanksgiving. As I let my mind wander 
beyond the steel bars and concrete walls, I try to imagine what the 
people who live outside the prison gates are doing, and what they are 
thinking. Do they ever think of the Indigenous people who were forced 
from their homelands? Do they understand that with every step they take, 
no matter the direction, that they are walking on stolen land? Can they 
imagine, even for one minute, what it was like to watch the suffering of 
the women, the children and babies and yes, the sick and elderly, as 
they were made to keep pushing west in freezing temperatures, with 
little or no food? These were my people and this was our land. There was 
a time when we enjoyed freedom and were able to hunt buffalo and gather 
the foods and sacred medicines. We were able to fish and we enjoyed the 
clean clear water! My people were generous, we shared everything we had, 
including the knowledge of how to survive the long harsh winters or the 
hot humid summers. We were appreciative of the gifts from our Creator 
and remembered to give thanks on a daily basis. We had ceremonies and 
special dances that were a celebration of life./

/With the coming of foreigners to our shores, life as we knew it would 
change drastically. Individual ownership was foreign to my people. 
Fences?? Unheard of, back then. We were a communal people and we took 
care of each other. Our grandparents weren’t isolated from us! They were 
the wisdom keepers and story tellers and were an important link in our 
families. The babies? They were and are our future! Look at the 
brilliant young people who put themselves at risk, fighting to keep our 
water and environment clean and safe for the generations yet to come. 
They are willing to confront the giant, multi-national corporations by 
educating the general public of the devastation being caused. I smile 
with hope when I think of them. They are fearless and ready to speak the 
truth to all who are willing to listen. We also remember our brothers 
and sisters of Bolivia, who are rioting, in support of the first 
Indigenous President, Evo Morales. His commitment to the people, the 
land, their resources and protection against corruption is commendable. 
We recognize and identify with that struggle so well./

/So today, I thank all of the people who are willing to have an open 
mind, those who are willing to accept the responsibility of planning for 
seven generations ahead, those who remember the sacrifices made by our 
ancestors so we can continue to speak our own language, practice our own 
way of thankfulness in our own skin, and that we always acknowledge and 
respect the Indigenous linage that we carry./

/For those of you who are thankful that you have enough food to feed 
your families, please give to those who aren’t as fortunate. If you are 
warm and have a comfortable shelter to live in, please give to those who 
are cold and homeless, if you see someone hurting and in need of a kind 
word or two, be that person who steps forward and lends a hand. And 
especially, when you see injustice anywhere, please be brave enough to 
speak up to confront it./

/I want to thank all who are kind enough to remember me and my family in 
your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for continuing to support and 
believe in me. There isn’t a minute in any day that passes without me 
hoping that this will be the day I will be granted freedom. I long for 
the day when I can smell clean fresh air, when I can feel a gentle 
breeze in my hair, witness the clouds as their movement hides the sun 
and when the moon shines the light on the path to the sacred Inipi. That 
would truly be a day I could call a day of Thanksgiving./

/Thank you for listening to whomever is voicing my words. My Spirit is 
there with you./

/In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,/
/Leonard Peltier/

Editor <https://nativenewsonline.net/author/editor/>

Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is 
the publisher and editor of Native News Online. Previously, he served as 
editor of the Native News Network. He is a resident of Grand Rapids, 

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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