FW: A letter from Leonard Peltier

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Wed Aug 11 11:21:50 MDT 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: William Beattie [mailto:rubato at bigfoot.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 6:10 AM
To: William
Subject: FW: A letter from Leonard Peltier

Please re-publish and if possible organise a support event which may be
Regards, William

-----Original Message-----
From: listserv at wwpublish.com [mailto:listserv at wwpublish.com] On Behalf
Of ww at wwpublish.com
Sent: Saturday, August 07, 1999 12:27 PM
To: Workers World News Service
Subject: A letter from Leonard Peltier

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Aug. 12, 1999
issue of Workers World newspaper


My Brothers and Sisters,

It is hard for me to believe that the year 2000 is so
quickly approaching us. As I sit in this cell and think
about my grandchildren who are growing up so fast, my
friends who have passed on, and the many years of my life
that have been stolen from me, I remind myself of the
attention my own suffering has brought to the realities
of Indigenous Peoples everywhere. I know that my own
persecution has become a symbol of the persecution all of
our people face everyday.

But I have not given up hope for freedom. Today I am
asking you to stand up and represent me and everything I
am so proud of: the dignity, spirituality, and pride of
the First Nations Peoples of the world.

My dream is to continue what the Trail of Broken
Treaties started: an event that will have a historic and
lasting effect in the minds and consciousness of the
public. We are hoping to carry out such an event this
November in Washington, DC. November will be a critical
time for my freedom campaign.

This December will be Clinton's last likely chance to
grant me Executive Clemency. My defense team will have
been steadily lobbying Congress to support clemency for
two months prior to the event. Therefore, November will
be an important time for a strong show of public support.

The irony is that at the same time, "Native American
Heritage Month" and the Thanksgiving holiday will be
occurring and will be bringing additional attention on
Native Americans into the public, making November an
important month to bring real issues of Indigenous
Peoples of the U.S. into the limelight of the media.

I believe that we can accomplish a successful campaign
to do this if we all pull our resources together. I can
visualize all the colors of our Native Nations' flags
flying high around a culturally brilliant and attention
attracting event in front of the White House this Fall.

The thought of different Indigenous Nations coming
together in unity to support sovereignty, human rights,
dignity, cultural preservation, and my freedom, warms my
heart. Please read the proposal attached to find out more
about our plans and how you can help. Thank you.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier


[Excerpts from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee's

We are writing to ask for your support, endorsement and
collaboration regarding our plans for a November 1999
Leonard Peltier Freedom Month in Washington, D.C. As you
know, Peltier is a Native American leader who has been
unjustly incarcerated for 23 years in the United States. FBI
documents released years after his trial, together with
other sources, have proved that critical ballistic evidence
establishing his innocence was withheld from the defense,
and that witnesses were terrorized into giving false
testimonies against him. Though long overdue for parole, and
in deteriorating health, Peltier remains in prison.

Amnesty International and numerous other human rights
organizations have recognized Leonard Peltier as a political
prisoner and demanded his immediate and unconditional
release. He is seen as a symbol of Indigenous Resistance and
his call for freedom is supported by numerous Indigenous
organizations worldwide.

It is clear that the judicial system in the United States
has utterly failed Peltier. We recognize that we must now
demand justice from the other two branches of govern ment,
the executive and legislative branches. President Clinton
has the power to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier at any
time, and the United States Congress is charged with
overseeing the correct conduct of affairs by such agencies
as the United States Parole Board and the FBI.

In order to obtain action and justice from these offices,
all sectors of society must make themselves heard. As we all
know, November is the month of Thanksgiving in the United
States. According to historical legend, the first
Thanksgiving was held by the pilgrims to give thanks to God
for their very survival in North America. They had been
saved from starvation by kindly Native Americans who taught
them about local crops and wildlife.

The pilgrims, in turn, thanked the Lord and exterminated
the tribes. Leonard Peltier is but one more of the most
recent victims.

November has also been declared Native American Heritage
month by President Clinton, and we plan to hold him to his
word. Traditionally, clemency petitions are granted by the
president at the end of each year. November will thus be a
critical month. Moreover, the parole board could reconsider
Leonard's parole situation in the early spring, making a
November action extremely timely.

The event will begin on Nov. 1, 1999, with Native American
ceremonial runners at the historic Liberty Bell in
Philadelphia. From there, they will run all the way to the
White House in Washington, where they will be met by local
supporters and important religious leaders such as Bishop
Desmond Tutu of South Africa. We plan to erect ceremonial
teepees behind the White House for the month and conduct a
Native American ceremony in front of the White House every

Meanwhile, 10 young Native Americans will carry out a
Freedom Fast for Peltier in front of the White House from
Nov. 1 through Thanksgiving day, underscoring the urgent
need to grant him justice at last. As people sit down to
their "Thanksgiving" feasts this year, we want them to think
about Leonard Peltier, alone in his prison cell, and about
the treatment of all Native Americans.

For those who cannot travel to Washington, D.C., a
coordinated and massive telephone campaign to the White House
will be organized.

Please give us your full support. Leonard Peltier is a
gifted Native American leader who still has much to give his
people. Over 23 years of his life have been taken away and
his health is beginning to fail. Please help him to obtain
justice and freedom so that he can continue to give his
gifts to us all.

If you are able to contribute in any way to these
activities, contact the committee as soon as possible at:
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, PO Box 583 Lawrence, KS
66044, Tel. (785) 842-5774.

                         - END -

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