Monday, March 29, 2010

Illegal Imprisonment of Leonard Peltier

March 26, 2010
San Francisco, California


Lenny Foster (Dine’)
Navajo Nation Corrections Project

Board of Directors
International Indian Treaty Council

My name is Lenny Foster (Dine’) and I am the Program Supervisor for the Navajo Nation Corrections Project in Window Rock, Arizona and I have been a volunteer traditional Spiritual Advisor for American Indian adults and juveniles in the respective state and federal prisons for the past thirty years. The Navajo Nation Corrections Project is a counseling and advocacy program for Navajo and other Native American inmates incarcerated in state and federal prisons. I also work with families of incarcerated American Indian prisoners and our major activities include spiritual services such as the Sweat Lodge Ceremonies, Pipe Ceremonies, Talking Circles, Spiritual Gatherings, ecclesiastical visits to Death Row and probation and parole advocacy.

I have been a Board Member for the International Indian Treaty Council since spring 1992. The International Indian Treaty Council is an organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands working for the Sovereignty and Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Treaties, Traditional Culture and Sacred Lands.

My submission of this paper will serve to illustrate my support and respect for Leonard Peltier #89637-132, Ojibwa-Lakota from Turtle Mountain, North Dakota who is presently detained at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He has been incarcerated for the last thirty four years. His case illustrates the discrimination and racist attitudes and human rights violations within the United States criminal justice system. His recent denial of his petition to be released on parole shows the biased and skewed decisions based on lack of compliance for the due process of his release on parole by the U.S. Parole Commission. He satisfactorily met the criteria for release on parole after thirty years of incarceration and assured by the Parole Act of 2005.

I have known Leonard Peltier since November of 1970 when we first met in Denver, Colorado when he was 26 years old and I was 22 years old. We were young and idealistic about making changes throughout Indian Country. I participated in the American Indian Movement with him and we both participated in the ancient ceremonial practices of the Lakota Sun Dance; Sweat Lodge Ceremonies and Pipe Ceremonies. He was a role model and mentor to the younger Indians and he was older brother to many of the younger men and women in the movement.

Leonard along with others was implicated in a shootout with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 26, 1975 in Oglala, South Dakota. These turn of events began an illegal and unjust incarceration against Leonard Peltier by the U.S. Government. He fled to Canada and was arrested in Canada on February 6, 1976 and he was extradited from Canada in December based on an affidavit signed by a Myrtle Poor Bear, Native American woman who was known to have serious mental health problems and a woman Leonard did not know.

Ms. Poor Bear claimed to have been Leonard Peltier’s girlfriend was not true or factual and yet she claimed to have been present at the time of the shooting and was witnessed to the shootings. She later confessed she had given false statements after being pressured, threaten and terrorized by the FBI agents.
Ms. Poor Bear wanted to testify about her treatment by the FBI agents and provide a full detailed report of threats by the FBI agents; however, the Federal Judge barred her testimony on the grounds of mental incompetence. She provided false testimony to convict Mr. Peltier and that fact is now considered moot. This conviction on disputed evidence led to a decision that convicted Leonard Peltier to two consecutive life terms in federal prison. This conviction was based on fabricated evidence and it ruined the confidence for a free and unbiased trial.

Leonard has been in the United State Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois; Leavenworth, Kansas; and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and he has been an exemplary and model inmate with no incident reports. He has been a regular participant in the weekly Sweat Lodge ceremonies and Pipe Ceremonies which is a very positive spiritual experience for all those young Native prisoners who partake in the ancient cleansing and purification ceremony. I have been visiting him as his Spiritual Advisor since March 1985 at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas and I have been witness to his changes in his demeanor, spirituality and is a serene and a kind and very respectful person. He has become a very respected and revered elder. He is now sixty-six years old.

It is my opinion that Leonard Peltier is not a threat to the community nor would his release jeopardize the community much less “depreciate the seriousness of the law” or “promote disrespect for the law”. I have prayed and conducted the sweat lodge ceremony with him and he is a very genuine and exudes humanity. He has expressed remorse about the incident and prays for all who were there on that day on June 26, 1975 and I believed he has made amends and has made his prayers of forgiveness to the Creator. He has helped many and encouraged Indian prisoners to rehabilitate themselves by advocating a drug and alcohol free lifestyle while encouraging pride and learning about their culture and traditions. He is a father, grandfather, and a great grandfather. He is considered a wise elder among the younger Indian prisoners and I can attest to that fact because I have been visiting him for twenty five years and I have observed his maturity flourished. He has been experiencing severe health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, losing his eyesight due to diabetes and a jaw that needs immediate medical attention and I hope and pray this serious condition warrants immediate release from prison to serve out his remaining days with his great grandchildren and grandchildren on his home reservation in North Dakota.

While in prison, Leonard has advocated for peace and respect for the rights of others; he has numerous project he has initiated and spearheaded a pilot program with Dr. Steward Selkin on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation on health care deliver including health care delivery and hopefully implement similar programs on Indian Reservations throughout the United States; also he has worked with Professor Jeffery Timmons on a program to stimulate reservation based economics and investments in Native American business enterprises including component to teach business ownership and operation to the Native youth. Also, he helped established a scholarship at New York University for Native American students seeking a law degree. He has raised two of his grandchildren from prison and he has sponsored young children through various boards and programs. He has sponsored and organized emergency food drives and Toys for Tots on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

He has become a very accomplished and self taught painter and has donated many of his paintings to worthy causes, human rights and social welfare organizations and has worked to develop prisoner art programs whereby increasing prisoner’s self-confidence. Many of his paintings are in demand from many Art Galleries and from art collectors throughout the world. Some of the recipients have been American Civil Liberties Union, Trail of Hope, World Peace and Prayer Day, the First Nation Student Association; and the Buffalo Trust Fund along with many others including human rights activists and movie actors. His humanitarian and charitable works reaches far into the community and programs. Leonard has been widely recognized for his humanitarian works and has won several human rights award including the North Star Frederick Douglas Award; Federation of Labour in Ontario, Canada; Humanist of the Year Award; Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights Prize and the 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2009 Leonard Peltier was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the sixth consecutive year. He maintains his dignity and pride in spite of being incarcerated for thirty-four years.

I recommend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples seek compliance through the Declaration of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and demand a congressional investigation into the human rights violations of Leonard Peltier. Invitations will be made to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to visit Leonard Peltier at the United State Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. I request his petition for Executive Clemency is approved by the United States Justice Department and President Barack Obama.

Thank you.

Become an Investor: "Wind Chases the Sun: The Leonard Peltier Story"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Navajo Human Rights 'Listening Session'

Navajo Human Rights 'Listening Session'
By Kathy Helms
Dine Bureau
Gallup Independent

WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation Council Delegate Rex Lee Jim – who is also a medicine man – did a house blessing the other day at a new home in Monument Valley. “The reason was because the other house was contaminated with uranium,” he told members of the U.S. Department of State during their visit Wednesday to the Navajo Nation capital.

The owner of the new home has health problems believed to be related to radiation exposure. “We're doing the best we can with what we have. We ask for your help,” Jim said as he welcomed federal representatives to the Navajo Nation.

Environmental issues, sacred sites, relocation, racism, and unsolved deaths were just a few of the topics discussed as the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission hosted a federal government “listening session” to discuss the federal government's record on human rights in preparation for the Universal Periodic Review in November.

The United States has not endorsed the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passed in September 2007 by the U.N. General Assembly. The commission is strongly advocating for ratification of the declaration to protect the Dine way of life.

Representatives of the Nation's three-branch government were on hand to express concerns, however, President Joe Shirley Jr. was unable to attend due to another obligation. However, he and First Lady Vicki Shirley did meet later with Jodi A. Gillette, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Shirley requested her assistance in arranging a meeting with President Obama.

Harrison Tsosie of Navajo Department of Justice appeared at the session on behalf of Shirley to raise the issue of the federal government's failure to acknowledge land ownership.

“It denies Navajo people economic opportunities, progress and other benefits as enjoyed by citizens who hold fee title to their own land,” he said. “I think it's time the United States address this issue.”

Council Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan said the Navajo people have been subjected to abuses for many years, with deaths and beatings being common acts of violence in border towns.

“These acts were mostly done by non-Native people,” he said, citing an example of two Navajos killed in Gallup in the 1970s. “They told the court that they thought they were jackrabbits – and the court bought that,” Morgan said.

Chief Justice Herb Yazzie said it was 142 years ago that the federal government entered into a treaty with the Navajo Nation. “We were at a concentration camp (Bosque Redondo), but a treaty was entered, promises were made, and today I want to impress upon you that that promise, that treaty, guaranteed self-determination.

“We are here to express several concerns about racism, about legal issues, about environmental concerns. I would submit to you that these concerns came to exist because the United States government has not lived up to that promise, this law that they entered into that is supposed to be the supreme law of the land,” he said.

Howard Shanker, an attorney from Flagstaff who has represented the Navajo Nation and other tribes in litigation to protect Dook'o'oosliid, or the sacred San Francisco Peaks, told the delegation there really is no law that substantively protects these sacred sites.

“For decades we have been fighting the U.S. government and we've been fighting the Justice Department,” he said, but the U.S. Supreme Court, in Lyng vs. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association, “essentially held that Native Americans have no First Amendment rights when it comes to government land use.”

Though sacred to 13 Arizona tribes, when it came to protecting the San Francisco Peaks from what the tribes perceived as desecration through the use of reclaimed sewer water to make artificial snow for the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort, the court ruled against them.

“President Shirley, on the stand, said this is like making me watch you rape my mother,” Shanker told them.

Arista La Russo, originally from Sand Springs, said her father resided in the Joint Use Area., but he and her family were relocated in the 1970s. “My parents were advised they had to move because it was the law and that if they did not, they would be forcibly removed by the military,” she said.

Thousands of Navajos and hundreds of Hopis were relocated, resulting in their children and grandchildren being disenfranchised.

There is no federal policy addressing the children of the relocatees who are displaced, she said. “The incompetent planning by the federal government was with no regard to the children of relocatees.” As a result, many turned to drugs, alcohol and violence. “Many children of relocatees do not have a home to come home to,” she said.

Marie Gladeau who lives on Hopi Partitioned Land, said the Accommodation Agreement of 1987 gives legal jurisdiction to the Hopi tribal government and responsibility for services to the Navajo Nation. In doing so, it greatly limits their freedom, she said.

“Things got fast-tracked to get the AA signed into law. The law has created conflict over who has exclusive rights to the home sites, cornfields, and livestock. ... The law is based on Colonial tactics with the outcome being to divide and conquer what was once a shared and equal right to land use,” she said.

Perry Charley, director of Dine Environmental Institute at Shiprock Dine College, said the Navajo Nation faces many challenges in the coming years due to climate changes, including depletion of non-renewable natural resources and water.

Though the federal government instituted the National Environmental Policy Act, CERCLA, or Superfund, and other laws designed to guarantee a safe living environment “oftentimes, these laws fail to recognize Native American cultures and traditions,” Charley said.

Federal policies and regulations also fail to recognize Native American sovereignty issues, as exemplified by the March 8 decision by the 10th Circuit Court which upheld the license for Hydro Resource Inc. to mine uranium in Churchrock, despite the Navajo Nation's ban on uranium mining and processing.

Wahleah Johns of Black Mesa Water Coalition told the delegation, “Water is life, and a basic human right. We don't look at it as a resource, but a sacred element that sustains all life. Without water, life cannot grow.”

Johns told them there is physical evidence of damage to the Navajo aquifer from Peabody Western Coal Co.'s use of it to mine coal. She asked the State Department to look into the “shifting of the water.”

Office of Intergovernmental Affairs' Gillette said the Obama Administration is committed to strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship.

“I know that a lot of you are coming to us with information that you said before in the past. It's been a long time that you've been saying these things and it feels like nobody's listening; but I'm here to tell you that we are listening, I'm listening with an open heart and an open mind. All of us are going to go back and do our best.”

Duane H. “Chili” Yazzie, chair of the Navajo Human Rights Commission, said they will look for a sign within 90 days that the United States has heard them.

“One signal that we will look for is some word from a very contemporary tragedy that continues -- the illegal imprisonment of my brother Leonard Peltier. Show us! Give us a signal that says, 'Yes, these United States of America will sign on to this declaration.'

“It's not something that we should have to ask for. It's not something that we should have to beg for. It's not something that we want to demand. It's something that we should expect from the greatest democracy on this face of the earth.”

Source URL:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lisa Hinchsliff is the Oglala Commemoration design winner

Congratulations, Lisa Hinchsliff! Lisa won the 2010 button design contest sponsored by the Oglala Commemoration Committee. We look forward to seeing the design displayed throughout the U.S. and the world this summer. Thank you, Lisa, for the donation received in your name.

The Oglala Commemoration Committee runs an online auction to raise funds for the annual event. Other activities in the works? A concert held in conjunction with the Commemoration and the annual drive for school supplies. Remember that the Commemoration Committee also awards the Peltier college scholarship annually. Learn more at
We understand the above buttons will be available very soon.

The Commemoration Committee also is taking pre-paid orders for event t-shirts.

The Oglala Commemoration will be held on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota on 26 June 2010. Please plan to join us there.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Robideau Memorial, Potluck and Giveaway

Aho Mitakye Oyasin,

We, the Robideau family extend an invitation to all family and friends of William "Bill" Robideau 1918 - 2008, father of Robert "Bob" Robideau 1946 - 2009 and Grandfather of Jay Robideau 1978 - 2009; three generations of Robideau men all of whom have passed in the previous 2 years.

Please join us as we celebrate the lives of these great men who have made an incredible impact upon the lives of many. These men are warriors and heroes and are greatly missed by all who knew and loved them.

Date: 29 May 2010; 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Where: Peace Lutheran Church, 2201 N. Rosa Park Way, Portland, Oregon 97217

For more information, contact Rayna Robideau at 503-935-4524 or Meridith Sargent at 503-810-8902.

Statement From Chief Leonard Crow Dog on Human Rights/Leonard Peltier

Statement From Chief Leonard Crow Dog on Human Rights/Leonard Peltier

Since the injustice that is happening is not only to our Native Tribes but to all human beings. With many of them, there is a reasonable doubt of the cases. The grand juries that indicted our relation, Leonard Peltier, not only Leonard but others on a political foundation. There is still a reasonable doubt as to the grounds of these cases. But did we have a chance to pick the grand juries or was it the Justice Department? Now this injustice has been over 34 years. Do we have a Human Rights understanding? Let us exercise the Human Rights and research. Let’s look at the conviction in this case that they call a case. Let’s look at it on an international level regarding the 6 million Jews that have been murdered and who was convicted. And let’s look at the 1890’s massacres of Indian Tribes, so called Native Americans.

So, as human beings looking at the case of Leonard Peltier there is still a reasonable doubt as to the case and the trial. So now it’s been over 34 years and we feel the case needs to be looked into in regards to our Human Rights. So we must have a grand jury assembly.

Peltier is Crazy Horse but Crazy Horse has been murdered but no one has ever been convicted or tried for this case. So let’s look at the 28 states for the human assembly research. This is not a “Rosenberg” case, for that purpose. This man, Leonard Peltier, is a First Nations relation that was protecting the unborn generations and the elders of the tribes in what we call America. Therefore, I believe that this case needs to be looked into again for the sake of all our Human Rights.

Hecetu Welo.

All My Relations-A Ho,

Chief Leonard Emanuel Crow Dog

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Speak up for Leonard Peltier on March 25-26, State Depart. to hold "listening" sessions in Berkeley & SF

March 23, 2010


Morning Star Gali, International Indian Treaty Council

(Berkeley Session)
Allison Davenport

State Department to hold listening sessions on US Compliance with International Human Rights Obligations in Berkeley and San Francisco March 25th and 26th.

UPR community training on Wednesday, March 24th 6-8 p.m, Mission Cultural Center 2868 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94110, 3rd floor Art Studio

San Francisco – As part of a process conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council to examine the United States’ compliance with its legally-binding human rights obligations, the U.S. Department of State will conduct two “listening sessions” or consultations with human rights and community groups from the San Francisco Bay Area.

The San Francisco and Berkeley consultations will focus on United States’ signed and ratified human rights treaties as well as the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A wide cross section of Bay Area rights organizations will testify on the fulfillment of human rights protections that address racial discrimination; criminal justice; economic justice and equity, including state accountability, health and education; LGBT rights; disability rights and environmental justice and sustainability.

This November will be the United States’ first review under this Human Rights Council process. The “Universal Periodic Review” or “UPR” assesses the human rights compliance of every UN member state every four years and is intended to improve all UN Member States’ human rights compliance.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies will be in attendance to inform their report to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Prior to the listening sessions, a training will be held to inform the local community of the UPR process.

“The U.S. government is the main abuser of immigrants’ rights,” states Arnoldo Garcia of the the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “Our communities will use the UPR to expose the U.S. and press for action to comply with the CERD by ending all forms of racial, ethnic, nationality and religious profiling.”

“This really is an historic event,” said Alberto Saldamando, General Counsel of the International Indian Treaty Council. “In the 36 years of work of the IITC at the international level, this is the first time the U.S. government has ever asked the victims for their opinion on how the US is doing to comply with its internationally legally binding human rights obligations.”

The meetings will be recorded, and a written report will be posted on the U.S. Department of State’s website. This summary may be used as part of the U.S. government’s submission to the Human Rights Council. Organizations are also welcome to submit a 5-page report directly to the UN before April 19th.

The government selected several cities in the US, including San Francisco and Berkeley, in which to conduct listening sessions or consultations. Consultations have been held in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., New York City, El Paso and Albuquerque, and others are planned for Detroit, Chicago and Birmingham.

The Berkeley consultation is on Thursday, March 25 at the Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA and will begin at 8:30 am and end at 12:30 pm. The San Francisco consultation will be held at the University of San Francisco on Friday, March 26, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Mclaren Conference Center, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco CA 94117. The UPR community training will be held on Wednesday, March 24th 6-8 p.m, Mission Cultural Center 2868 Mission Street, San Francisco CA 94110, 3rd floor Art Studio.

For more information and to register for the upcoming sessions, visit

Monday, March 22, 2010

Flawed justice: The case of Leonard Peltier

Flawed justice: The case of Leonard Peltier
By Peter Worthington
Toronto Sun

Leonard Peltier is now starting his 35th year in prison.

He is 65, and more than half his life has been spent as a prisoner.

Impassioned supporters who argued for justice and his freedom in the past, have grown silent.

Bored, frustrated, exhausted, they have died, or become involved in other causes.

Peltier has faded in memories.

These include Amnesty International, for whom Peltier is still a political prisoner of conscience.

His defenders include Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Tutu, the archbishop of Canterbury, members of the European Parliament, some 50 Canadian MPs, Hollywood mogul David Geffen, and various Leonard Peltier defence committees around the world.

Most have dropped by the wayside.

Robert Redford made a movie about him: Incident at Oglala. The Belgian and Italian parliaments espoused his freedom. They’ve joined the ranks of the silent — not because anything has changed, but because Washington wouldn’t listen.

Somewhat sheepishly, I admit, to having been sidetracked to other issues over the past 15 years.

Three times I visited Peltier when he was incarcerated at the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kansas. Since then he has been moved several times — to the federal prison at Terre Haute, Ind.; to Lewisburg, Pa.; to Canaan, Pa., and today back to Lewisburg.

At each, he was jumped, beaten, threatened with death by so-called native inmates when in general population. Provocateurs? Who knows?

Peltier insists his only enemies are the system and justice department.

In the past I (and others) argued that the case against Peltier was not only flawed, but grotesquely dishonest, unfair and unjust, replete with admittedly perjured testimony and fraudulent evidence by the FBI.

No longer should guilt be an issue — Peltier is not a conventional criminal or felon.

Even if one believes he was guilty, he has served enough time and deserves to be free. But no — that’s not the American way in his case.

Peltier was found guilty in the 1975 shooting deaths of two FBI agents — Ron Williams and Jack Coler — during a range war on the Lakota-Sioux reserve at Pine Ridge, S.D., near Wounded Knee where, in 1973, there was a highly publicized 71-day siege.

The Pine Ridge range war was between traditional, back-to-our-roots Indians, and “progressive” mixed-blood Indians who favoured the mining of uranium on Indian land.

The militant American Indian Movement (AIM) sided with the traditionalists, while the FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and authorities backed the progressives.

The FBI had labeled AIM a terrorist organization, trained and financed by Castro and the Soviet Union — phony charges, evolving from Cold War paranoia of the day. AIM was (is) an Indian advocacy group.

In a three-year period at Pine Ridge, over 60 murders occurred, not one of which was ever investigated, much less solved.

On the day Coler and Williams died — chasing a “red pickup truck” into the Jumping Bull community, allegedly driven by Jimmy Eagle who was believed to have stolen some cowboy boots — another young Indian, Joe Stutnz, was shot and killed. No investigation was ever held.

Shots were fired and returned. Some 125 bullet holes were found in the two FBI cars.

Peltier was one of four Indians charged with murder, but he fled to Alberta where eventually he was turned over to the RCMP.

The other three went on trial, where one had charges against him dismissed.

The other two, Bob Robideau (since deceased) and Dino Butler, were found not guilty, having fired in self-defence.

The prosecution’s circumstantial evidence against them was too thin to get a conviction.

At Peltier’s extradition hearing in Vancouver, the FBI produced affidavits by one Mabel Poor Bear, claiming she was Peltier’s girlfriend, and had witnessed him shooting the FBI agents at close range.

It subsequently turned out Poor Bear was a mental case, had never met Peltier, and was nowhere near the murder scene.

She later tried to recant, claiming she didn’t even know what Peltier looked like, and claimed the FBI threatened to take away her child if she didn’t sign the affidavit.

The trial court judge refused to hear her testimony.

But her fabricated affidavit got Peltier extradited. (Canada’s solicitor general at the time was Liberal MP Warren Allmand, who supported the extradition, but later became one of the strongest advocates on behalf of Peltier, urging the U.S. to review his case.)

At Peltier’s trial, the FBI claimed ballistic tests proved Peltier’s AR-15 rifle had fired the bullets that killed the agents.

This was later proved to be false — shell casings at the death scene did not come from Peltier’s rifle.

At his trial prosecutor Lynn Crooks said categorically that evidence proved Peltier “killed the agents in cold blood.” Later, in appeal, Crooks said he believed Peltier had killed the agents “but we didn’t prove it.”

At a parole hearing in 1995 Crooks said if there was a retrial “the government could not re-convict.”

Parole was rejected because Peltier was the only one they had, even though the court ruled that the FBI’s suppression of evidence “cast strong doubts” on the government’s case. The jury heard none of this.

Mishandled key evidence

Radical left-wing lawyer William Kunstler (now deceased) represented Peltier at his appeal — and mishandled key evidence which the 8th circuit appeal judge, Gerald Heaney (since deceased), later said would probably have gotten Peltier freed, or a new trial if he, the judge, had known the facts.

Kunstler apologized, and urged the judge not to penalize Peltier for his mistake.

I interviewed Judge Heaney who said he had urged then-president Bill Clinton through Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, to have Peltier granted clemency.

Clinton had indicated he’d grant executive clemency to Peltier, but changed his mind when some 500 FBI agents, retirees and families demonstrated outside the White House. Instead, Clinton pardoned Marc Rich who was indicted for illegal oil deals with Iran, and tax evasion.

In their book Game Change, authors John Heileman and Mark Halperin note that billionaire David Geffen had lobbied Clinton to pardon Peltier whom he felt was innocent. When Clinton pardoned Rich, Geffen saw this “as a sign of corrupted values,” and backed Obama for the presidency instead of Hillary Clinton.

In prison, Peltier has had a rough time. At Leavenworth his jaw was atrophying without medical attention — until publicity got him treatment.

He is going blind from diabetes, has kidney failure and is susceptible to strokes. He feels occasional beatings by inmates are stage-managed, but says what cannot be taken from him are “my dignity and self-respect ... even if I die here.”

The law, in 1976, was that inmates with a good record after 30 years should get mandatory release. When Peltier’s 30-year parole hearings came up, he says “five FBI and government witnesses hammered me for over five hours that I should not be released ... so the parole board gave me another 15-year sentence” (His next parole hearing is in 2024).

Peltier’s appeal of the parole board decision, has already been rejected , despite acknowledgement of his unblemished prison record.

Prior to rejection he wrote me: “I am waiting for them to destroy my appeal. I can’t see these same parole commissioners changing their minds, so I know what I’ll get.

“Next I will file in the federal courts, as we have some strong expert issues to file on. I have no doubt we can kick some butt in court, but even if I win, it will take five or 10 years before all the appeal processes take place, so you can consider the 15-year hit as a death (a slow-one) sentence.”

What stands out in Peltier’s case is the vindictiveness of the FBI and the justice system.

With the absence of clear proof who shot the agents in 1975, the FBI is determined that someone — anyone — must be held responsible.

Had Peltier not escaped to Canada, and had he gone on trial with Robideau and Butler, he, too, would have been acquitted.

Flaws in case

Flaws in the case include the FBI changing the “red pickup truck” to a “red and white van” — owned by Peltier, three prosecution witnesses recanted and claimed intimidation forced their compliance, the jury heard nothing of the FBI’s suppression of evidence or its being rebuked by the court, fraudulent ballistic evidence withheld from the jury and the FBI’s later admission that “we do not know who killed the agents.”

Author Peter Matthiessen’s book on Peltier’s case, In the spirit of Crazy Horse, was delayed seven years to 1992 because of FBI legal suits against its publication.

In it, Matthiessen interviews a “Mr. X” who alleges he was the one who fired the fatal shots into the FBI agents.

I became convinced that Mr. X was Bob Robideau, whom I phoned in Spain and questioned him. He equivocated.

When I phoned Judge Heaney, of the 8th circuit appeal court, he also implied Robideau might have been the shooter.

If so, “he had already been found not guilty of murder and could not be tried again,” Heaney said.

After 34 years in prison, and considering the political and social unrest at the time of the 1975 Pine Ridge Indian wars, Peltier’s guilt or innocence is irrelevant.

Simple justice and compassion dictate he should be freed.

Recently, a new generation of Peltier defenders have emerged — one of whom — Kathi Robinson in Manitoba — Peltier has encouraged.

Assistant co-ordinator of the Leonard Peltier defence offence committee is his niece, Kari Ann Boushee, website:

Peltier’s eventual release may hinge on clemency from President Barack Obama — presuming Obama has the courage to reject the FBI’s continuing thirst to punish a man they helped frame for murder.

Otherwise, Peltier will likely die in custody.

Attention supporters: Drop a letter of appreciation to the Toronto Sun for publishing this excellent article. Send an e-mail to

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reactivation of the NW Leonard Peltier Support Network

Greetings All,

The struggle to free Leonard Peltier has been a long hard struggle. We are coming up on another very important campaign in that struggle. The renewed Campaign for Exective Clemency for Leonard Peltier (for more information please go to: One very important part of this is active public support. In order to help build this active public support in our region the Tacoma LPSG is seeking to reactivate the Northwest Leonard Peltier Support Network (NWLPSN).

As in any human long term activity, there will be differences both political and personal. We are not saying that none of that is baseless. Rather we are saying here and now that differences should be put aside so that everyone who supports freedom for Leonard Peltier can aid this campaign. If everyone who supports freedom for Leonard helps out we have no doubt our effords will help free him.

Our campaign will include: education, petitions and letter writing, and when the time is right a Regional Leonard Peltier Clemency March and Rally in Tacoma.

We are looking for people who can help out. There will be many needs: getting out petitions, getting people to write letters, getting articles printed in papers, forwarding e-mail statements to friends, organizations and e-mail lists, handing out and/or posting fliers, fund raising and donations, caravans for justice (car pools), video taping the march and rally (that would be used to help support the campaign in other places), artwork, banner making and so on.

If you are willing to join with us please contact Tacoma LPSG at

Thank you.

In Solidarity,

Arthur J. Miller
Tacoma LPSG
P.O. Box 5464
Tacoma, WA 98415-0464

Those who wish to sign up on the NWPeltierSupport e-mail list can do so by sending an e-mail to


Leonard Peltier Defense/Offense Committee
PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106
Phone: 701/235-2206
Fax: 701/235-5045


Friends of Peltier

Tacoma LPSG
P.O. Box 5464, Tacoma, WA 98415-0464

Saturday, March 20, 2010

UPR Cluster Report on Political Prisoners: Leonard Peltier

United Nations Universal Periodic Review: Official Submission for the Cluster Report on “U.S. Political Prisoners and Domestic Repression”. 15 March 2010

The United States claims to be a government of law, promoting within its integral processes guarantees of fairness and justice. Through the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the structure of its judicial system, the United States asserts that all persons within its borders shall be protected against arbitrary arrest and ensured a fair trial by an independent and impartial tribunal. These guarantees have been recognized as fundamental—not only in the United States, but also by the signatory nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the United States, however, this basic protection has been and continues to be thwarted by security and intelligence agencies that use the judicial system as a tool of political repression against those who raise fundamental criticism against the domestic and foreign policies of the United States.

In 1981, Amnesty International (AI) issued a Proposal for a Commission of Inquiry into the Effect of Domestic Intelligence Activities on Criminal Trials in the United States of America (ISBN: 0 86210 038 0), citing the case of Leonard Peltier, a member and leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM), a civil rights organization which promoted the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations, as a graphic example of the growing menace to freedom and justice within the American judicial system. The AI proposal pointed to the use by the United States of coerced and now admittedly false eyewitness affidavits used to extradite Mr. Peltier from Canada to the United States for prosecution. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) terrified a young Indian woman named Myrtle Poor Bear into signing affidavits that she had seen Mr. Peltier kill two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during a firefight between AIM members and the FBI on June 26, 1975. Although the Court of Appeals referred to the use of the affidavits as a “clear abuse of the investigative process by the FBI,” the Court did nothing to correct this gross breach of international law and the extradition treaty between the United States and Canada.

Some four years after the 1977 conviction of Leonard Peltier by the United States, his attorneys determined under U.S. law (“Freedom of Information Act”) that some 18,000 pages of FBI files existed on the investigation of the firefight and prosecution of Leonard Peltier and his codefendants, rather than the 3,500 pages the government reported to the trial court. It is now known that the United States still suppresses over 140,000 pages (in their entirety or in part), largely claiming “national security” concerns as a reason therefore. Documents released, to date, have revealed that (contrary to published government accounts that the deceased agents were engaged in regular criminal investigations on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975) the FBI had planned a few weeks before the firefight to engage in a paramilitary operation against the men, women and children of AIM who lived in the very area where the firefight took place. One of the two agents killed in the firefight, trained in counterintelligence, was a Special Weapons and Tactics team member on special assignment to the reservation expressly for this purpose. The investigation of the deaths of the agents also was immediately transferred from the General Crimes Division of the FBI to the Intelligence Division—specifically under the direction of Richard Held, the then head of the Domestic Security Section of the FBI.

The FBI documents also revealed that the government targeted Peltier for criminal prosecution as being the man who actually killed the agents, although the evidence at most pointed to him as being one of 26 to 40 adult AIM members who engaged in the firefight with the FBI. According to one document, dated some two weeks after the firefight, the FBI decided to “lock Peltier into the case.” Later dated documents disclosed that the FBI not only fabricated the aforementioned affidavits, but also the only evidence the government claimed at trial linked Mr. Peltier to the killing of the agents. The documents revealed (counter to the trial testimony of a FBI “expert”) that the weapon attributed to Peltier could not have fired the bullets that killed the agents. Also, contrary to the government’s evidence at trial, the deceased agents did not chase a van containing Peltier onto the Jumping Bull property where the agents were later killed, but rather a red pickup with occupants unknown that is known to have left the scene within moments of the agents’ death.

The U.S. Court of Appeals, presented with this previously suppressed evidence, ruled in September 1986 that the government suppressed evidence and that the evidence tended to show the government’s chief witness lied about the most important evidence in the case, casting “a strong doubt on the government’s case”. However, had this evidence been available to the defense, the Court said, Leonard Peltier possibly (but not probably) would have been acquitted. The Court therefore affirmed the lower court’s denial of a motion for a new trial.

Since the 1980s, the U.S. Courts of Appeal have repeatedly acknowledged investigatory and prosecutorial misconduct in the Peltier case. As late as November 2003, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stated, "…Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed." The Courts have refused to take corrective action and the United States Supreme Court has refused to hear any appeal brought on Leonard Peltier’s behalf.

A model prisoner, Peltier was denied parole (early release under supervision of the criminal justice system) in 1994 and again in 2009, largely due to Peltier’s refusal to admit to a crime he did not commit. On 24 February 2010, parole authorities acknowledged Peltier’s advancing age, deteriorating health, significant release plan, and good prison record, but stated that these elements do not warrant his release. Peltier will not be considered for parole again until 2024. Further, in his final days as president, George W. Bush denied Peltier’s application for a grant of Executive Clemency. The application had been active since 1992.

AI has investigated this case for many years and called on the U.S. government to institute an executive review of the case (AI Index: AMR 51/160/1999, 15 July 1999). “Amnesty International considers Leonard Peltier to be a political prisoner... [and] believes that Leonard Peltier should be immediately and unconditionally released.” (AI representative Carlos Salinas, U.S. congressional briefing, 2000). Also, in briefings to the United Nations since 1992, AI has actively pursued Leonard Peltier's freedom, most recently submitting a briefing in February 2006 (updated in early July 2006). Following Peltier’s 2009 parole denial, senior deputy director of Amnesty International-USA, Curt Goering, responded: “Given that the case against Peltier unraveled years ago, his continued imprisonment is only protracting a grave miscarriage of justice... When you consider the concerns that plague the case... it is unconscionable that Leonard Peltier should continue to suffer behind bars.”

Despite the U.S. government’s admission in 1985 and again in 1992 that it does not know who killed the agents, “did not and can not prove” Peltier’s guilt, and does not know what part Peltier “may have played” in the deaths of the agents—also despite a recent admission by codefendant Robert Robideau (now deceased), who had been acquitted on grounds of self defense, that he alone shot the agents—Leonard Peltier continues to serve two consecutive life sentences in a maximum security prison. This case, which is not an isolated one, exemplifies how the U.S. government is willing to use its judicial system as an instrument of revenge, as well as to quash dissent in the United States. Even when a prisoner is able to prove this has occurred, he/she is provided with a limited forum for relief—and one lacking in substance.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update on Listening Sessions and the UN Universal Periodic Review

To date, the Obama Administration has conducted consultations in New Orleans, Washington, DC, New York City, El Paso, and Albuquerque. The next consultation will be held in Berkeley/San Francisco next week on March 25th and 26th. The invitation together with information on that consultation is available at:

The Bancroft Hotel
2680 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Thursday, March 25, 2010, from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Mclaren Conference Center, University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
Friday, March 26, 2010, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The last three community-based consultations will take place in April in Dearborn, MI (hosted by ADC-Michigan and NAACP); Chicago, IL (tentatively scheduled for April 13th and hosted at John Marshall Law School); and Birmingham, AL (hosted by ARISE). We will share additional information as soon as we have it.

Also, if you are interested in participating in any of the remaining consultations, please feel free to contact:

Sarah H. Paoletti:


Laura Baum:

Your information will be passed along to the individuals within the Administration coordinating the consultation, as well as the host organizations.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

City of Fargo Native American Commission Stands Up for Leonard Peltier

March 11, 2010

City of Fargo
Native American Commission
200 North 3rd Street
Fargo, ND 58102

Eric Holder, Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Re: U.S. v. L. Peltier, 585 F.2d 314 (8th Cir. 1978)

Dear Attorney General Holder:

The mission of the City of Fargo's Native American Commission is "to work together to strengthen the Native American community in order to promote understanding, recognition and respect for Native American cultures and enrich the whole community."

The City of Fargo, North Dakota's Native American Commission (NAC) has been requested to comment on a request for a review of the case of Leonard Peltier by a community organization. Peltier is a convicted felon, who is also a tribal member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, located on the reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. The case is titled U.S. v. Peltier, 585 F.2d 314 (8th Cir. 1978).

Upon review of the request and the history of the case, the Native American Commissioners in the City of Fargo would like to request that you review Mr. Peltier's case and suggest or request the case go under review by the appropriate federal authorities, whether it be the Federal Courts or the authorities, and suggest appropriate action to be taken on the case should it warrant a proper re-visiting.

The NAC is comprised of appointed individuals (appointed by the Fargo City Commission) who work or reside in the City of Fargo, North Dakota. Enclosed are the minutes from the January 14, 2010 meeting where the decision to move forward with this request was approved.

Thank you for your response to this request.


Sandra Berlin, Chairperson

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 25 & 26, UPR Listening Sessions to be held in SF and Berkeley -- Registration Info and Updated Information

To register for the upcoming session, visit

United States Government To Conduct Consultations or “Listening Sessions” on US International Human Rights Obligations
Mclaren Conference Center, University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
Friday, March 26, 2010, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM


Berkeley Consultation
Venue TBA, Thursday, March 25, 2010, 9:00 AM to 12:00PM

The United Nations Human Rights Council will examine the United States’ compliance with its legally-binding obligations under its signed and ratified Human Rights treaties as well as the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The process of this examination is called, “Universal Periodic Review” or “UPR”, in which the human rights compliance of every UN member state is reviewed every four years. This November will be the United States’ first review since the process’ creation.

As part of the UPR process, the U.S. government is required to conduct consultations with stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations, civil society and those facing rights violations, to provide input regarding human rights in the United States. The government selected several cities in the US, including San Francisco and Berkeley, in which to conduct listening sessions or consultations.

The Bay Area consultations will be held on March 25-26th, 2010.

On Friday, March 26, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, the Mclaren Conference Center at the University of San Francisco will host a discussion on the human rights challenges faced in San Francisco and surrounding communities. Representatives of the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies will be in attendance to inform their report to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Another half day consultation is scheduled for the Berkeley on the morning of Thursday, March 25, 2010, and will focus on Health, Education, and State Accountability followed by an open comment period.

The meetings will be recorded, and a written report of the meeting will be prepared and posted on the U.S. Department of State’s website. This summary may be used as part of the U.S. government’s submission to the Human Rights Council. Organizations are also welcome to submit a 5-page report directly to the UN before April 19th.


Your input is vital to this process. Accordingly, we have reserved time for public comment and participation on the agenda. To ensure there is time for input from the widest community, comments need to be a maximum of two minutes in length for each topic. Please reference the human rights obligation being violated and provide a recommendation for how the government can improve this situation. We welcome your contribution and encourage you to join us to ensure that the U.S. government representatives attending this meeting receive accurate information on the human rights challenges faced by our communities.

If you are interested in participating, please register on this site. If you know of others who would like to attend, please forward them this invitation and ask them to register as well.


The email you received with this link included a hotel listing for the University of San Francisco area and instructions on travel to the campus.

The Mclaren Center at the University of San Francisco is wheelchair accessible. If you require a disability accommodation such as a Sign Language interpreter or print materials in alternative formats, or have any questions about accommodations, please contact Katelyn Keil. Her telephone number is 510-644-2555 (v/TDD) and her email is Please contact Katie by March 12, 2010 if you require an accommodation.



8:30-9:00 - Registration
9:00-9:30 - Welcome, Introductions, and Overview of UPR Consultation Process
9:30-10:30 - Panel 1 - Race Discrimination
10:30-11:30 - Panel 2 – LGBT human rights issues
11:30-12:30 - Panel 3 - Criminal justice; Death Penalty; Prison Conditions
12:30-1:30 Lunch (on your own)
1:30-2:30 - Panel 4 - Disability Rights
2:30-3:30 - Panel 5 - Environmental Justice
3:30-4:30 - Open discussion on topics not covered above
4:30-5:00 - Closing remarks and Adjournment

Organizations participating in the planning and coordinating of the San Francisco Session include:
Asian Pacific Environmental Network:
Center for Law and Global and Justice:
Council for Global Equality:
Disability Rights Education Defense Fund:
Human Rights Advocates:
International Indian Treaty Council,
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute:
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights,
West County Toxics Coalition:
Women of Color Resource Center:
University of San Francisco Law School:
US Human Rights Network:


Thursday, March 25th, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM


Opening Remarks
Panel 1 - Health
Panel 2 - Education
Panel 3 - State Accountability
Open Comment Period
Closing Remarks

Organizations participating in the Berkeley Session

US Human Rights Network:
University of San Francisco School of Law:
Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) for Human Rights:


For more information on the Universal Periodic Review process itself, please visit the following websites:

United Nations UPR:
US Department of State UP:
US Human Rights Network UPR web site:
IITC Web Page: [click right column “Human Rights ‘Listening’ Sessions…” and, “New IITC Fact Sheet…”.
Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center “UPR toolkit”:

Participating organizations are also planning a training on the UPR process itself and related topics, tentatively scheduled for March 24, venue and times TBA.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Conference Call Tomorrow (Wed), Mar 10: RWG UPR Cluster Report on Racial Profiling

Conference Call Tomorrow (Wed), Mar 10: Rights Working Group UN Universal Periodic Review Cluster Report on Racial Profiling

Call-in details

Date/time: Wednesday, March 10th, NOON EST

Phone number: 712 432 011

Participant access code: 153355#

For those of you interested in collaborating with on this project, these are the proposed deadlines for organizational submissions, drafting, editing and sign-ons:

March 10th: Conference call to discuss outline
March 19th: Organizations submit sections for report (2 paragraphs each)
March 29th: RWG staff will circulate first draft
April 5th: Outside contributors will submit comments and edits
April 9th: RWG staff will circulate second draft
April 15th: Deadline for organizational sign-ons
April 20th: File report with UN OHCHR

If you are unable to join the Wednesday call but are interested in contributing to this report, contact

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Leonard Peltier with Steve Kroft ("60 Minutes," 1992)

Images from Trickster: Benefit for Haiti

06 Mar 2010: Statement of Leonard Peltier


I hope this finds you all well, and like the weather, looking towards warmer days and sunnier skies. I am excited about our upcoming art exhibit at the Trickster Art Gallery in Chicago on March 6. This event is called “Art for Haiti” and proceeds will benefit the victims of the recent earthquake there. I’ve been asked why we would do such a thing while Indian people remain in such a state of need. I need only direct you to history, where our people have always given to others, even when we had little.

There is a shrine in Ireland thanking the Choctaw people of Oklahoma who gave grain and money to those suffering from the potato famine in the late 1840’s. These Indians had just recently suffered all manner of brutality and suffering during their own removal on the Trail of Tears, and yet they still sought to help others in need around the world. No matter our own station, we should always keep open hearts and be willing to do what we can for others who suffer. It is part of what makes us who we are. And bear in mind our own campaigns to feed and clothe the needy in Indian communities have been in place for years, and they continue as well.

I want to take a moment and mention that one of our greatest warriors, Wilma Mankiller, of the Oklahoma Cherokee, is very ill. This magnificent woman has fought for Indian rights every since she took part in the takeover of Alcatraz in 1969. Please include her in your thoughts and prayers.

As always, I am thankful to all of you who continue to keep my case in the public eye, and campaign for my eventual freedom. Your efforts are not in vain I promise you. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to speaking with you all again.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Oglala Commemoration 2010

March 6, 2010



Oglala , SD. - The 11th annual Oglala Commemoration is being held on June 26, 2010, in Oglala.

This annual event is to honor and remember the lives lost during the 1970s Civil War on the Reservation and to also raise awareness toward the unjust imprisonment of AIM member Leonard Peltier whose incarceration resulted from a Shootout incident between AIM members and Federal police agents at Oglala 35 years ago.

It is also an event which promotes reconciliation and healing for the 1970s events with emphasis on alternatives or restorative justice.

Guest Speakers will include the LP-DOC, Tom Poor Bear, more to be announced.

We invite all friends, family and Leonard Peltier supporters to join us for this annual event.

(Note: No filming without prior permission. Absolutely no filming or pictures during ceremony. When on Lakota land, Respect Lakota traditions and culture. This is a free event. Absolutely no drugs, alcohol or violence. Not responsible for accidents or injuries.)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring Delegation to Bolivia

Be part of history! Celebrate Earth Day and attend the Peoples’ World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights in Cochabamba, Bolivia. World scientists, academics, lawyers, and representatives of governments that want to work with their citizens to save our planet will be in attendance. (Conference is scheduled for April 19-22, 2010).

Before and after the conference, celebrate indigenous resistance and explore food sovereignty issues in Bolivia, the first country in the hemisphere to be governed by an indigenous president. Learn about indigenous struggles for sovereignty over food, land, and water. Meet with farmers, community leaders, government leaders, union leaders and others. Experience the rich culture of the Andes and soak in the sights, sounds, people, and politics in this historic moment in Bolivia

When: April 16-26, 2010
Where: Start Cochabamba and end in La Paz; visits to El Chapare, Coroico (Yungas de La Paz), Oruro
Cost for Activities: $850. This will cover all lodging, all ground transportation, at least 2 meals per day, and translation. Additional expenses during the trip will be minimal.

**Airfare not included. Possible group rate available for those traveling from NYC.

**Anyone interested should email as soon as possible, as space for this trip is very limited. Please allow a day or two for responses. Sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of NY.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You're invited: Leonard Peltier arranges benefit for Haitian children

March 1, 2010
CONTACT: Kari Boushee, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106, Telephone: 701/235-2206,

Leonard Peltier arranges benefit for Haitian children

Moved by news reports about the earthquake in Haiti, renowned Native American activist and artist Leonard Peltier has organized an art auction to benefit the children most affected by the disaster.

Read more.

Call to Action for Leonard Peltier

Call to Action: UN Universal Periodic Review to assess U.S. compliance with human rights obligations

The United States is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) and will be reviewed for the first time this year by the HRC's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in November 2010. Under the UPR all 192 UN member States (countries) are reviewed every 4 years to assess compliance with their obligations to respect and implement human rights for all. The review is based on each country's national report as well as independent submissions from "civil society stakeholders," including Indigenous Peoples.

The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee is participating in the national report in a number of different ways, but we can't be in all places at one time. Therefore, we're asking supporters to attend the U.S. State Department's "listening sessions" around the country and speak up on Leonard's behalf. While five sessions have already occurred, there are still five locations where sessions will occur during the next several weeks. These are unique opportunities to bring attention to Leonard's case and the human rights violations to which he has been subjected by the U.S. government.

Session Schedule

-- El Paso, TX, on March 8-9; Location: Camino Real Hotel

-- Birmingham, AL, on March 11-12, Location: Miles College

-- New Mexico, on March 16 and 17; Locations: UNM Law School (16th); Window Rock, Navajo Nation (17th). The NM sessions have been planned specifically for Indigenous Peoples and Nations, to receive input for its national report. Focus themes for the Albuquerque session will include Sovereignty and Self Determination, Nation to Nation Relations, Lands, Territories and Natural Resources, Treaty Rights and Sacred Sites among others.

-- Chicago, IL, Date TBC, Location: TBC

-- San Francisco, CA, on March 25-26, Location TBC (USF Law School and/or Boalt Hall, UC Berkeley)

Although these cities have been confirmed, in some cases the meeting sites and/or local contact organizations are still being worked out with the onsite hosts and Coordinating Committees. The best contact at this time for specific information about the rest of these listening sessions and who you can contact for more information about participation is Sarah Paoletti, Senior Coordinator for the US Human Rights Network UPR Project. She can be reached You can also contact Laura Baum, USHRN Staff Coordinator at

A word from Leonard: He's pleased that supporters are stepping up to speak on his behalf this way. He thanks you and asks only that you do your homework. It's imperative that you relay complete and accurate information.

If you need assistance with preparing your statement for a session, contact us. We'll be happy to brainstorm with you. Otherwise, we recommend that you use "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse" by Peter Matthiessen as your source material.

Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
PO Box 7488 - Fargo, ND 58106
(701) 235-2206 (Phone); (701) 235-5045 (Fax)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Remembering Wounded Knee '73

Remembering Wounded Knee '73
by Carter Camp
Ponca Nation AIM

Ah-ho My Relations,

Each year with the changing of the season I post this remembrance of Wounded Knee 73. I wrote it a few years ago when some of our brave people had walked to Yellowstone to stop the slaughter of our Buffalo relations. When I did I was surprised at the response from people who were too young to remember WK'73 and I was pleased that some old WK vets wrote to me afterwards. So each year on this date I post the short story again and invite you-all to send it around or use as you will. As you do I ask you to remember that our reasons for going to Wounded Knee still exist and that means the need for struggle and resistance also still exist. Our land and sacred sites are threatened as never before even our sacred Mother herself is faced with unnatural warming caused by extreme greed.

In some areas of conflict between our people and those we signed treaties with, it is best to negotiate or "work within the system" but, because our struggle is one of survival, there are also times when a warrior must stand fast even at the risk of one's life. I believed that in 1973 when I was thirty and I believe it today in my sixties. But to me Wounded Knee 73 was really not about the fight, it was about the strong statement that our traditional way of living in this world is not about to disappear and our people are not a "vanishing race" as wasicu education would have you believe. As time has passed and I see so many of our young people taking part in a traditional way of living and believing I know our fight was worth it and those we lost for our movement died worthy deaths. Carter Camp 2010

"Remembering Wounded Knee 1973"
by Carter Camp

Ah-ho My Relations,

Today is heavy with prayer and reminisces for me. Not only are those who walk for the Yellowstone Buffalo reaching their destination, today is the anniversary of the night when, at the direction of the Oglala Chiefs, I went with a special squad of warriors to liberate Wounded Knee in advance of the main AIM caravan.

For security reasons the people had been told everyone was going to a meeting/wacipi in Porcupine, the road goes through Wounded Knee. When the People arrived at the Trading Post we had already set up a perimeter, taken eleven hostages, run the B.I.A. cops out of town, cut most phone lines, and began 73 days of the best, most free time of my life. The honor of being chosen to go first still lives strong in my heart.

That night we had no idea what fate awaited us. It was a cold night with not much moonlight and I clearly remember the nervous anticipation I felt as we drove the back-way from Oglala into Wounded Knee. The Chiefs had tasked me with a mission and we were sworn to succeed, of that I was sure, but I couldn't help wondering if we were prepared. The FBI, BIA and Marshalls had fortified Pine Ridge with machine gun bunkers and A.P.C.s with M-60's. They had unleashed the goon squad on the people and a reign of terror had begun, we knew we had to fight but we could not fight on wasicu terms. We were lightly armed and dependent on the weapons and ammo inside the Wounded Knee trading post, I worried that we would not get to them before the shooting started.

As we stared silently into the darkness driving into the hamlet I tried to foresee what opposition we would encounter and how to neutralize it... We were approaching a sacred place and each of us knew it. We could feel it deep inside. As a warrior leading warriors I humbly prayed to Wakonda for the lives of all and the wisdom to do things right. Never before or since have I offered my tobacco with such a plea nor put on my feathers with such purpose. It was the birth of the Independent Oglala Nation.

Things went well for us that night, we accomplished our task without loss of life. Then, in the cold darkness as we waited for Dennis and Russ to bring in the caravan (or for the fight to start), I stood on the bank of the shallow ravine where our people had been murdered by Custers' 7th Cavalry. There I prayed for the defenseless ones, torn apart by Hotchkiss cannon and trampled under hooves of steel by drunken wasicu. I could feel the touch of their spirits as I eased quietly into the gully and stood silently... waiting for my future, touching my past.

Finally, I bent over and picked a sprig of sage - whose ancestors in 1890 had been nourished by the blood of Red babies, ripped from their mothers dying grasp and bayoneted by the evil ones. As I washed myself with that sacred herb I became cold in my determination and cleansed of fear. I looked for Big Foot and YellowBird in the darkness and I said aloud ---

"We are back my relations, we are home."


Carter Camp- Ponca Nation AIM