Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On the Passing of Carter Camp a great Warrior and Brother.

Statement from Leonard Peltier on the passing of Carter Camp.
USP Coleman Prison December 31, 2013

Greetings my Relatives, friends and supporters,

This is an open letter to Carter Camp’s family and loved ones.
I have just heard the news of my brother's passing. I want to send a condolence message. I want to begin with how sad this is for me to hear that another one of our elder warriors has passed on. I want people to know that I considered Carter to be one of our GREAT warriors; a man who when called upon would travel great distances to give assistance to native people who needed help.

Carter was known among us as someone who would stand up for what he believed in and put his life on the line if need be. He was an eloquent speaker and political strategist and also known for being quite blunt at times, which is refreshing considering today’s world of where people say one thing and do another. Carter lived his beliefs and honored his family. Carter was a leader, a spokesperson, a teacher, and an inspiration to others, especially when it came to taking a stand for what was right.

NOT once had I ever heard that Carter had RUN FROM A FIGHT.

He will never be forgotten as we will always remember him in our songs and when we sit around our fires while the rocks are heating for our inipi ceremonies.
We will always speak good things about him.

We will miss you Carter, but some of us will see you soon, so be waiting for us.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse
Leonard Peltier
Mitakuye Oyasin

Sunday, December 29, 2013

29 December 1890: Wounded Knee Massacre

On December 29, the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under Big Foot, a Lakota Sioux chief, near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it's unclear from which side. A brutal massacre followed, in which it's estimated 150 Indians were killed (some historians put this number at twice as high), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost 25 men.

The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but in reality it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it's unlikely that Big Foot's band would have intentionally started a fight. Some historians speculate that the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were deliberately taking revenge for the regiment's defeat at Little Bighorn in 1876. Whatever the motives, the massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the last major confrontation in America's deadly war against the Plains Indians.

Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded to many of the cavalrymen who fought at Wounded Knee. Despite the current view that the battle was a massacre of innocents, the Medals still stand. Some native American and other groups and individuals continue to lobby Congress to rescind these "Medals of dis-Honor."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

26 December 1862: Largest mass execution in American history

In peace and friendship the Dakota ceded 21 million acres, over half the territory of Minnesota, many waters in Dakota language; in the 1851 Traverse des Sioux Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Despite federal promises of protection and assistance, at the Minnesota River reservations, the Dakota Santee were badly mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and contractors. This non-fulfillment of treaty promises issue resulted in the Dakota Santee Sioux being found guilty by military court of joining in the so-called "Minnesota Uprising." This avoidable tragedy was actually part of the wider Indian conflicts that plagued the West during the second half of the nineteenth century. For nearly half a century, the US govt. had been selling land in the west to pay for past and current wars domestic and abroad. Anglo and German settlers invaded the Dakota Santee Sioux territory in the beautiful Minnesota Valley, and government pressure gradually forced the Dakota Indians to relocate to smaller reservations along the Minnesota River.

Abuses continued at the Minnesota River reservations during July 1862 with the agents pushing the Dakota Indians to the brink of starvation by refusing to distribute stores of food because they had not yet received their customary kickback payments. The contractor Andrew Myrick callously ignored the Santee's pleas for help. He said, “Let them eat grass.”

Outraged and at the limits of their endurance, the Dakota Santee finally struck back, killing Anglo settlers and taking women as hostages. The initial efforts of the U.S. Army to stop the Santee warriors failed, and in a battle at Birch Coulee, Dakota Santee Sioux killed 13 American soldiers and wounded another 47 soldiers. However, on September 23, a force under the leadership of General Henry H. Sibley finally defeated the main body of Dakota Santee warriors at Wood Lake, recovering many of the hostages and forcing most of the Indians to surrender. The subsequent five-minute trials of the prisoners gave little attention to the injustices the Indians had suffered on the reservations and largely catered to the popular desire for revenge. Injustice moved very rapidly through the trials of the accused. Here, in its entirety, is Case # 241: Pay-pay-sin

Prisoner states, “I was at Fort Ridgley and stood near the stable. I fired three shots.”

The Military Tribunal found him guilty and ordered he be hanged.

The revered Anglo- Saxon principle of law that a person is considered innocent until proven guilty was reversed in the case of the Indians. Authorities in Minnesota asked President Lincoln to order the immediate execution of all 303 Indian males found guilty. President Lincoln was under heavy political pressure to acknowledge states rights but he objected to what he viewed as wholesale slaughter. Lincoln was concerned with how this would play with the Europeans, whom he was afraid were about to enter the war on the side of the South. He wired the commanding officer to stay the executions and forward the "full and complete record of each conviction." He also ordered that any material that would discriminate the guilty from the questionable be included with the trial transcripts. Lincoln and Justice Department officials reviewed every case. Episcopalian Bishop Whipple pleaded for clemency but Military leaders and the Minnesota state politicians warned Lincoln that anything less than large-scale hangings would result in widespread white outrage and more violence against the Indians. After review, the president pardoned 265 of the 303 condemned Indians, approving a total of 38 executions. He offered the following compromise to the politicians of Minnesota: If they would pare the list of those to be hung down to 39. In return, Lincoln promised to kill or remove every Indian from the state and provide Minnesota with 2 million dollars in federal funds. This eagerness to buy cooperation from the state in spite of the fact that the Federal government still owed the Sioux 1.4 million for the land is both tragic and ironic.

So, on December 26, 1862, the Great Emancipator ordered the largest mass execution in American History, where the guilt of those to be executed was entirely in doubt. After 38 of the condemned men were hanged on the 26 of December, the day after Christmas, in 1862 in what remains the largest mass hanging in United States history, the other prisoners continued to suffer in the concentration camps through the winter of 1862-63.

1. Ta-he-do-ne-cha, (One who forbids his house.)
2. Plan-doo-ta, (Red Otter.)
3. Wy-a-tah-ta-wa, (His People.)
4. Hin-hau-shoon-ko-yag-ma-ne, (One who walks clothed in an Owl's Tail.)
5. Ma-za-bom-doo, (Iron Blower.)
6. Wak-pa-doo-ta, (Red Leaf.)
7. Wa-he-hua, _____.
8. Sua-ma-ne, (Tinkling Walker.)
9. Ta-tay-me-ma, (Round Wind) -- respited.
10. Rda-in-yan-ka, (Rattling Runner.)
11. Doo-wau-sa, (The Singer.)
12. Ha-pau, (Second child of a son.)
13. Shoon-ka-ska, (White Dog.)
14. Toon-kau-e-cha-tag-ma-ne, (One who walks by his Grandfather.)
15. E-tay-doo-tay, (Red Face.)
16. Am-da-cha, (Broken to Pieces.)
17. Hay-pe-pau, (Third child of a son.)
18. Mah-pe-o-ke-na-jui, (Who stands on the Clouds.)
19. Harry Milord, (Half Breed.)
20. Chas-kay-dau, (First born of a son.)
21. Baptiste Campbell, _____.
22. Ta-ta-ka-gay, (Wind Maker.)
23. Hay-pin-kpa, (The Tips of the Horn.)
24. Hypolite Auge, (Half-breed.)
25. Ka-pay-shue, (One who does not Flee.)
26. Wa-kau-tau-ka, (Great Spirit.)
27. Toon-kau-ko-yag-e-na-jui, (One who stands clothed with his Grandfather.)
28. Wa-ka-ta-e-na-jui, (One who stands on the earth.)
29. Pa-za-koo-tay-ma-ne, (One who walks prepared to shoot.)
30. Ta-tay-hde-dau, (Wind comes home.)
31. Wa-she-choon, (Frenchman.)
32. A-c-cha-ga, (To grow upon.)
33. Ho-tan-in-koo, (Voice that appears coming.)
34. Khay-tan-hoon-ka, (The Parent Hawk.)
35. Chau-ka-hda, (Near the Wood.)
36 Hda-hin-hday, (To make a rattling voice.)
37. O-ya-tay-a-kee, (The Coming People.)
38. Ma-hoo-way-ma, (He comes for me.)
39. Wa-kin-yan-wa, (Little Thunder.)

In late April of 1863 the remaining condemned men, along with the survivors of the Fort Snelling concentration camp, were forcibly removed from their beloved homeland in May of 1863. They were placed on boats, which transported the men from Mankato to Davenport, Iowa where they were imprisoned for an additional three years. Those from Fort Snelling were shipped down the Mississippi River to St. Louis and then up the Missouri River to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Seasons Greetings!

Greetings my relatives, friends, and supporters:

In this season of giving, receiving and acknowledgement of blessings, I want to acknowledge all of the people who have helped me all of these years and I want the supporters outside the U.S. to know I appreciate them also.   Sometimes I am at a loss for words.

Some of you probably have experienced moments like that when you are overwhelmed with thoughts and remembrances of loved ones that for some reason you cannot see or who have gone on.  
I know a lot of you are concerned about the children and getting them gifts for Christmas; I was listening to a program recently that was talking about just such things and how everyone was so concerned at this time of year.  I want to just touch on that for a moment.  I would like to say there are so many of our children around the world that need our help ALL the rest of the year, and that their disappointments do not just come on Christmas or some other holiday- they come EVERYDAY when they do not have enough to eat or they do not have someone to care for them.   I want to encourage you all to think of these things and also about our elders, and the people suffering in hospitals, and of course in prisons, where just receiving a letter in the mail is like a holiday to them, or an elder who sees a familiar face and it is like a holiday to them, or a child who gets to eat all he wants ... that’s a holiday. 

Among our people there was always a celebration of the Solstice which usually falls around the 21st or somewhere about there. There were always prayers at these times and often ceremonies; but gift-giving was a year-round thing that our people did.  Maybe I am being a bit over sensitive or sentimental at this time of year, as are a lot of people, but again I want to thank you for ALL the support you have given to me,  and for the gifts you have given the children on the reservations and the letters you write to me and to other men and women in prisons.   I know there are groups that get together, like the one in Portland Oregon,  that regularly writes letters to prisoners.  These things are greatly appreciated and I have no doubt that you will be blessed by these good things you do. I know some of you in your giving sometimes might be extending your resources, but I recall one time in a fasting ceremony that I was doing; I was told, those who give of their extra are appreciated and blessed but those who give what they cannot afford-- that  is sacred. 

I pray in a sacred way, that each of you will be blessed this coming year.  Find a sacred way you can help heal the Earth, heal our troubled children and make a better place on this planet for ALL to dwell.  Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha,  Gandhi,  Black Elk, Chief Seattle, all of the well known spiritual leaders in the past had one thing in common: they were willing to think and act outside the box. In a world filled with materialism, those of you that have been helping protect the Earth, the children, the elders and victims of injustice are of that same caliber.  

I pray that you enjoy your holidays, that you feel the blessings of your actions, and that the Creator speaks to you in a kind and gentle way.  Give someone a hug for me, and tell them, “This is from Leonard Peltier.”

Your friend always,
In the spirit of Crazy Horse
Leonard Peltier
Mitakuye Oyasin

Thursday, December 5, 2013

On the Passing of Nelson Mandela From Leonard Peltier December 5, 2013 6:30 PM

Greeting my relatives, friends, and supporters:

It saddens me to hear that a great man like Nelson Mandela has departed from this lifetime.  He was a man who was truly inspirational and showed us the possibilities of how a continued struggle by indigenous people could manifest itself in levels of freedom that have been marred by centuries of oppression.

Our Native people suffered the same types of oppression many times.  It is not as overt and as easily distinguished as in some places; however, if you are dead because a policeman shot you, or dead because you could not stand the racial and cultural genocide, so you committed suicide-- you are just as dead either away.   Nelson Mandela is known for leading the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.  America talked about ending apartheid and put sanctions on South Africa.  Not being all that adept at the English language, it is my understanding that (apartheid) means to keep someone apart from something; my people have been kept apart purposely from the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. There was, and still are, measures that keep us apart from our true history, perpetrated by an education system that limits the truth of our being.  Right now, here in America, right now in Canada,  right now in South America, there is apartheid that seeks to separate us from our sacred places,  our lands, and our resources.  Right now in Canada Native people are struggling to protect their aboriginal lands from fracking which destroys the water tables and disturbs the natural balance of the Earth.   Right now with an apartheid mentality, they seek to build pipelines across Native lands that have the potential of great ecological destruction.  Right now there is an apartheid that seeks to separate us from the protection of the constitution of the United States which says treaty law is the supreme law of the land; which also says you have a right to an unbiased fair trial; which also says you have a right to a jury of your peers. Right now our young Native people are tried as adults THREE times more than other groups and kept apartheid from their families and kept apartheid from competent legal representation.

I could go on and on, but you can see where I am heading with this. The struggle from apartheid, I am sure, is not over in South Africa, nor is the struggle against apartheid and slavery over in America. We must all consider Nelson Mandela an inspiration, but I am also inspired by the least of our people who stand up for what is right, like  the young man or young woman who peacefully mans a roadblock against developers or fracking companies or some factory that hurts our air.  While I am at it,  in all this chaos, I also want to remember a brother by the name of Wanbli Tate who tirelessly championed the rights of indigenous people through radio programs, writings, and the internet, to bring attention to the wrongdoers represented in government and corporations. 
We have lost a lot of our people in their last years, and again I remember my brother Russell Means who was also tireless in his efforts in trying to bring about an end to this American version of apartheid that faces Native people.
In the spirit of all those who have gone before us in this struggle, I would like to say stay strong and NEVER, NEVER give up.

Your friend always,
In the spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier
Mitakuye Oyasin